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Does Hitting Snooze on Your Alarm Make You More Tired in the Morning? What the Studies Say

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The battle between your alarm clock and your desire for a few more precious moments of sleep is a daily struggle for many. In this tug-of-war, the snooze button often emerges as the temporary victor. But does hitting snooze on your alarm make you more tired in the morning? Let’s delve into what scientific studies have to say about this common morning ritual.

Understanding the Snooze Button:

The snooze button is a feature present on most alarm clocks and smartphones, allowing you to delay the sounding of your alarm for a set period (typically around 5-10 minutes). It’s a tempting option for those who find it challenging to jump out of bed immediately after the alarm goes off.

The Sleep Cycle and Quality:

To determine whether hitting snooze impacts your morning alertness, it’s essential to consider the science of sleep. Our sleep cycle consists of various stages, including light sleep, deep sleep, and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. These stages are repeated throughout the night, and each cycle takes about 90 minutes.

When the alarm first goes off in the morning, it often interrupts a sleep cycle. Hitting snooze and going back to sleep briefly may allow you to enter a new sleep cycle, only to be interrupted again when the alarm sounds for the second time. This can result in sleep inertia, a state of grogginess and disorientation, as your body struggles to transition from deep sleep back into wakefulness.

The Impact of Hitting Snooze:

Several studies have examined the effects of hitting snooze on your alarm. The findings suggest that while the extra minutes of sleep may provide a temporary sense of relief, they are unlikely to improve your overall sleep quality or leave you feeling more refreshed.

One study published in the journal “Sleep and Biological Rhythms” found that participants who hit the snooze button reported feeling groggier and more fatigued in the morning compared to those who woke up immediately when the alarm sounded. The study attributed this grogginess to the disrupted sleep cycle caused by multiple awakenings.

Sleep Inertia and Cognitive Performance:

Sleep inertia, the grogginess experienced after awakening, is a well-documented consequence of hitting snooze. It can affect your cognitive performance, making tasks like decision-making, problem-solving, and memory recall more challenging in the morning.

Research published in the journal “Sleep” found that sleep inertia can persist for up to 30 minutes after waking, and its severity can vary from person to person. Hitting snooze may prolong the duration and intensity of sleep inertia, making it even more challenging to shake off that morning fog.

Alternatives to Hitting Snooze:

If you’re looking to improve your morning routine and avoid the grogginess associated with hitting snooze, consider these alternatives:

  1. Set a Consistent Wake Time: Try to wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. This helps regulate your body’s internal clock and makes waking up easier.
  2. Create a Relaxing Morning Routine: Allow yourself some quiet, calming moments in the morning to ease the transition from sleep to wakefulness. This can include stretching, deep breathing, or sipping a warm beverage.
  3. Prioritize Quality Sleep: Ensure you’re getting enough quality sleep at night. Maintain a comfortable sleep environment, limit screen time before bed, and practice good sleep hygiene.

In conclusion, while hitting snooze on your alarm may offer a brief reprieve from waking up, it can result in sleep inertia and grogginess that may persist throughout the morning. Scientific studies suggest that breaking the snooze habit and establishing a consistent wake time can help improve your overall sleep quality and leave you feeling more alert and refreshed in the morning.

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