Don't Hit Snooze! The Practice That's Destroying Your Body

It’s 8:30 AM when your alarm goes off, but you’re still not quite ready to start your day. So you hit snooze to squeeze in a few more minutes of sleep. 8:40 AM you alarm goes off again, but this time you feel worse than you did before so you snooze again, until it’s 9:10 AM, class starts at 9:30 and you’re running late.

Sound familiar? Once referred to as “drockling” the practice of dipping in and out of sleep is setting you up for a habit of disaster. Here’s why:

The science:

You’re tricking your body by continuously starting a sleep cycle that you won’t be able to finish. When you go to bed, you enter a cycle that consists of sleep, deep sleep and awake. When your body is preparing to wake, you enter lighter sleep, your body temperature rises and chemicals like dopamine are released. Setting an alarm interrupts this cycle and depending where you are in the cycle leaves you feeling tired and groggy. When you hit snooze and go back to sleep, you allow your body to start this cycle again, usually deeper than before only to interrupt it minutes later.

The effects:

You will be less alert and be less productive. You’re messing with your brain’s hormones and as a result slowing down your decision making abilities and impairing your memory. Most college students will try to compensate for this with coffee and energy drinks, adding unneeded calories and sugars and messing with the body’s natural processes yet again. In the long run, lack of proper sleep can lead to chronic sleep deprivation throwing off your entire “circadian cycle” or internal clock. This impairs your ability to feel awake in the morning and sleepy at night. Chronic sleep deprivation can also lead to a higher body mass index and an increased risk for diabetes.

The verdict:

No one hits the snooze button 5 times and wakes up thinking “wow, those extra minutes were really worth it“. Instead be more realistic about when you will actually wake up when you set your alarm the night before. If you know you won’t actually get up till 9, then why are you setting your alarm for 8:30? Use those extra 30 minutes to rest until you’re ready instead of breaking them up into 10 minute fragments. Studies also show that the most successful people don’t hit snooze. Get in the habit now of making a decision, and sticking with it. As they say: You snooze? You lose.

Source: CNN: Is the snooze button bad for you?

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