How many alarms do you have set up for the morning? Most of us have several different alarms to help us get out of bed – you set an alarm for the actual time you want to get up, and then you set times for different alarms that will allow you to have an extra snooze.
You might feel like you’ve found a cheat code but you could actually be making yourself feel more tired.
New York Times bestseller Mel Robbins, who is known for her TEDx talk ‘How to Stop Screwing Yourself Over’, shares why you might be doing yourself a disservice when you snooze your alarm.
Have you noticed how groggy you feel after you snooze your alarm? Well, that’s not a coincidence, it’s due to something called sleep inertia.
“When you hit the snooze button, you’re awake. And as the alarm turns off your brain then drifts back into sleep,” Robbins says.
“And here’s the thing that researchers have figured out: when you drift back to sleep after you’ve woken up, your brain starts a sleep cycle, and sleep cycles take 75 to 90 minutes to complete,” she adds.
So, when your alarm goes off within the next couple of minutes you’re more likely to jerk out of your sleep.
“That’s because you’re only nine minutes into a 75-minute sleep cycle,” Robbins explains.
Dr.Kat Lederle, a sleep therapist and circadian rhythm specialist at Somnia, previously told HuffPost UK that “that feeling of grogginess can persist and colour our daytime experience in a negative way.”
“When we hit the snooze button, it will start to confuse your body clock because in one way or another that body clock may anticipate that usually the alarm goes off at 6:30,” Lederle says.
She continues: “For example, it will get the body somewhat ready for 6:30, but when you then decide to have a snooze, the clock and the body are a bit confused because they’ve got everything ready such as cortisol to be released into the bloodstream.
“And that can again lead to or contribute to the grogginess that we feel when we finally do get up.”
What if you’re a regular snoozer and you perpetually factor in an extra 20 minutes or so of snoozing time? What kind of impact does that have?
“This will reduce the quality of that sleep,” adds Lederle, “because you’re not getting back into proper sleep, so you will remain in a lighter sleep stage. So if you do intend to snooze then, rather than actually hitting the snooze button and making the body work hard to fall back asleep, I’d say just have that extra half an hour.”
So the next time you want to give your alarm a snooze, try your hardest to wake up when your alarm goes off – or just set your alarm a little later. Your body will thank you for it.