It would be difficult to find someone who has never hit the snooze button. One-third of adults press snooze three times before actually getting out of bed in the morning. Over half of adults in their 20s and 30s say they hit the snooze button every morning. Doing this once in a while isn’t that terrible. However, making the snooze button a habit will make you more tired throughout the day and sleep worse at night. Continue reading to find out why hitting the snooze button is unhealthy.
How the Snooze Button Alters Your Sleeping Cycle
To comprehend why the snooze button can be detrimental, you need to understand the way the sleep cycle works.
In an ideal world, you’re already tired when your head hits the pillow, and you start to nod off. This is the first stage of the sleep cycle called light sleep when your heart rate slows down and your body temperature drops.
The next stage is deep sleep, the part of sleep where your body regrows tissue, builds bones, and strengthens your immune system.
After deep sleep comes REM or Rapid Eye Movement, this is when your brain is highly active, and you may experience intense dreams. REM sleep is immensely restorative. Getting enough REM sleep allows you to feel sharp and focused the following day. Your first REM cycle usually happens about 90 minutes into your sleep. You then cycle through several times throughout the night.
This is where the problem comes in. When your alarm goes off in the morning, you’re typically nearing the end of your final REM cycle. If you wake up and get out of bed, you’re out of the REM cycle. However, when you hit the snooze button, you put yourself right back into REM sleep. The next time your alarm goes off, you wake up in the middle of REM rather than at the end. This is what makes you feel drowsy and disoriented.
Long Term Consequences of the Snooze Button
If you go to bed at a decent time the night before, your body will be prepared to wake up when your alarm goes off. However, when you hit the snooze button and go back to sleep, you confuse your body. This messes with your body’s internal clock, so it doesn’t know when to wake up and when it should sleep.
When your body doesn’t know when to sleep, you’ll spend a lot of time tossing and turning. This will cause you to miss out on the quality sleep that you need. One week of poor sleep and hundreds of genes in your body can get messed up. This can lead to heightened stress, lowered immunity, and increased inflammation.
Before long, the effects of the lack of sleep will add up. When you’re stressed, you have a more challenging time focusing and are much more likely to be snappy or irritable. When your immune system isn’t working at capacity, you’re more likely to get sick. In addition to all this, experiencing chronically high levels of inflammation could increase your risk for serious health problems like heart disease, cancer, stroke, and cognitive decline.
Why Are You Hitting the Snooze Button?
To reduce your reliance on the snooze button, you need to find out why you’re trying to get a few extra minutes of sleep in the first place. Consider the following questions:
- Are you going to bed early enough? If you’re staying up too late, that’s probably why you’re trying to get those few extra minutes of sleep. Experts agree that most of us need at least seven to eight hours of sleep every night.
- Are you getting enough exercise? Active people typically sleep better than those who aren’t. Try to get at least half an hour of exercise a day to help tire your body out to sleep better.
- Are you too hyped before bed? Try to stay away from caffeine before dinnertime and stay off Instagram while you try to nod off. Instead, try doing something mellow, such as taking a bath or reading a book.
- Is your bedroom comfortable? You’ll have a hard time falling asleep if your sleeping environment isn’t comfortable. Try to get the best mattress that works for you while keeping your room as quiet, cool, and dark as possible.
- Do you have any chronic sleep problems? If you have issues such as restless leg syndrome or obstructive sleep apnea, you’re much more likely to experience poor, fragmented sleep. If you notice that physical symptoms affect your sleep patterns and leave you tired in the morning, talk with your doctor about possible treatment options.
What You Should Do Instead of Hitting Snooze
The answer is quite simple. Get out of bed. When your alarm goes off, don’t hit snooze. It might feel unpleasant at first, but the groggy feeling will go away after a few minutes.
Getting exercise during the day is also a great way to prepare yourself for sleep at night. Find a gym near you and sign up for some training sessions or work out on your own time. When choosing a gym, just be sure it’s somewhere you feel comfortable. Working out shouldn’t seem like a burden. At West Coast Strength, we’re more than your average fitness center, we’re a community. Sign up for a free 7-day trial gym membership today.