Why The Snooze Button Simply Doesn't Work


Delaying the inevitable only makes it tougher to wake up (Image: Thinkstock)

When your alarm blares in the morning, the snooze button can feel like your savior. Only it’s not. In fact, pressing that button might be a horrible idea.

Repeatedly delaying the moment when you finally roll out of bed can seriously mess with the quality of your sleep and set you up for an especially groggy day, says W. Christopher Winter, M.D., president of Charlottesville Neurology and Sleep Medicine.

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Let’s say you set your alarm for 6 a.m., but you don’t truly plan on getting up until at least 6:30. Pressing snooze three times breaks what could be another 30 minutes of solid shuteye into three chunks of fragmented, poor-quality sleep, says Dr. Winter.

Think of it like this: You’ve been in deep sleep all night. When you hit snooze for the first time, it’s like you only wake up halfway until the next alarm goes off. So you don’t have to totally emerge from a deep sleep when it’s time to wake up for good.

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But if you keep swiping snooze instead of rising from that halfway point, you just fall deeper and deeper down into sleep—making it that much tougher to wake up when you actually have to get out of bed, says Dr. Winter.

To make matters worse, drifting back to sleep for short increments of time can impair your memory and make it tougher to get going in the morning, according to a 2012 study from Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

Related: 7 Sleep Doctors Reveal Their Favorite Tricks For Falling Asleep Fast

Forget a magic button. Decide when you want to rise, and set your alarm for then. But be really honest with yourself: After all, many of us lie to ourselves at night, and rationalize with ourselves in the morning. But deep down, we all know the time we have to get up. Stick to it.

Though it’ll take some discipline, the payoff will be worth effort: If you stick to that wakeup time every day, your body will get used to the schedule and naturally be its own alarm clock, making your mornings easier to manage, Dr. Winter says.

By Jada Green

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