8 Surprising Ways The Snooze Button Can Damage You
If there's one lazy habit I can't seem to quit, it's hitting the snooze button every morning. To my groggy brain, nothing is more appealing than postponing the process of waking up. But for the most part, hitting the snooze button is actually damaging in a number of ways. Basically, those five more minutes in bed can set the stage for a pretty crappy day overall.
As it turns out, the body starts preparing to wake up long before the actual alarm goes off. About an hour before your regular alarm time, the body starts the process of waking up by releasing the hormones cortisol and adrenaline, increasing body temperature, and entering a lighter phase of sleep, according to Health. When you slap the snooze button and try to pick up where you left off in that wild dream, then the body's whole wake-up process stalls out. The results of this interruption can affect your body, brain, and even mood in some serious ways for the rest of the day.
That said, I completely understand the appeal of that snooze button. There's something decadent and indulgent about delaying the start of your day by a few minutes to stay in the warm and cozy bed. After researching this piece, however, I now understand that this habit tends to do more harm than good, because screwing with your sleep schedule can throw off your whole body. Although choosing the snooze button feels pretty great at the moment, it can kind of ruin the rest of your day. Here's a few reasons why using the snooze button can backfire and make your morning even worse.
1. Promotes Sleep Inertia
Although an object (or person) at rest wants to stay at rest, this isn't the best way to kick off your morning. When that second alarm sounds, your body is confused about whether to stay in sleep mode or actually wake up, as sleep specialist Rafael Pelayo, MD, explained in HuffPost. The groggy feeling that results, known as sleep inertia, can linger for hours. In this way, trying to get five or ten more minutes of shut-eye can actually make you more tired for the rest of the day.
2. Disrupts Sleep Schedule
Yes, even trying to squeeze in a few more minutes of sleep can throw off your sleep schedule in a real way. "Sleeping later takes you off your sleep schedule," says licensed professional counselor supervisor Bill Prasad. "A consistent sleep schedule is one of the ways to get quality sleep. Our bodies and brains like routine." Hitting snooze disrupts this routine and messes with your entire sleep schedule.
3. Sets Up Unhealthy Eating Habits
Sometimes there can be a connection between sleeping late and experiencing a serious snack attack mid-morning. "Sleeping in later can mean you are running out the door without breakfast," says Prasad. "This leads to hunger mid-morning and reaching for the first thing a vending machine or local eatery will hand you. The food can be filled with sugar and carbs (donuts, pastry, scones, croissants)." Although these treats are fine on occasion, for the most part it can be healthier (and cheaper) to eat breakfast at home.
4. Makes You More Tired
Although it may sound counter-intuitive, using the snooze button can simply make you more tired overall. "It is likely that you will feel more drowsy, groggy and tired than you would if you simply just set one alarm," says sleep expert Christopher Lindholst. "It is better for your health to time your sleep to get up at a time that is best for you from the start." Although it's tough in that moment, getting out of bed with the initial alarm will likely make you feel better and even more alert for the rest of the day.
5. Wastes Time
Even if it's just a few seconds, deciding whether to get up or stay in bed ultimately wastes some of your time. "Ordinarily, the routine of getting up in the morning is effortless precisely because it is routine," wrote Fredric Neuman M.D. in Psychology Today. "When an intellectual process is required to figure out whether it is really time to get up, the whole process becomes annoying and tiring." Ultimately, it's easier to simply get up.
6. Causes Anxiety
Honestly, hitting the snooze button has never actually made my morning any better. It just becomes more rushed and stressful. And as it turns out, hitting the snooze button may be linked to more anxiety and stress during the day, according to Women's Running. It just sets the stage for a rough and hectic morning.
7. Worsens Insomnia
If you already struggle with insomnia, then the snooze button is not your friend. "It's also worth emphasizing that if you are living with chronic insomnia, it’s important to be out of bed by the same time every day in order to give your internal body clock a strong morning anchor," says Martin Reed, certified clinical sleep health expert and the founder of Insomnia Coach. "If you get out of bed at a different time every day, it makes it harder for your body to predict (and prepare) for sleep at night, and this can make sleep more difficult." Insomnia is troublesome enough on its own, so there's no need to make it worse.
8. Compromises Immune System
Over time, screwing up your sleep patterns with the snooze button can have a negative impact on your health. Poor sleep hygiene can even compromise the immune system, leaving you more vulnerable to sickness, as licensed psychologist and neurotherapist, Dr. Catherine Jackson, BCN, BCC, BC-TMH explains. To protect your sleep and health overall, it's best to avoid using the snooze button, however tempting it may be.