We've all done it. The alarm goes off. It’s time to get up. We just don't want to. Snooze! We hit that snooze alarm for just nine more minutes of precious sleep. No harm, right? Wrong.
The snooze alarm actually makes you more tired, and here's why: It is a well-known belief that hitting the snooze button allows the body to get a short stretch of extra sleep, just a little more rest. However, this sleep fragmentation does just the opposite.
Director of Sleep Disorders Research at Cleveland Clinic, Reena Mehra, M.D., M.S., states, “Much of the latter part of our sleep cycle is comprised of REM sleep, which is a restorative sleep state. And so, if you’re hitting the snooze button, then you’re disrupting that REM sleep.”
Waking every 9 minutes to hit the snooze can actually lead to daytime, sleep-deprived impairment. Did you know that sleep deprivation can lead to memory impairment, slowed reaction time, and comprehension & attention issues?
Think of it this way: you are getting a higher quality of sleep between bedtime and your first alarm, then you are from alarm and snooze alarm, or between snooze alarm one snooze alarm two. You actually would be ahead of the game, quality sleep-wise, by setting your alarm for when you actually have to get up, rather than snoozing until that time.
If you absolutely have to get a little extra sleep after waking yourself with an alarm, then reset your alarm for 20 minutes in the future. Sleep fragmentation experts suggest that the optimal nap length is around 20 minutes; anything less than that, like a 9-minute snooze alarm, does very little for you. Anything longer, and you are going to slip into a deeper level of sleep. Then if your alarm goes off, you're going to wake up even groggy and tired than if you only snoozed for 20 minutes.
To avoid the temptation of hitting the snooze button when the alarm goes off, the folks over at Amerisleep recommend putting your alarm on the other side of the room. This way, you are forced to get up and cross the room to stop the noise. And hey, since you're up anyway, you might as well stay up and start your day.
For higher-quality Z's, try going to bed earlier and get a solid night's sleep: 7 and 9 hours. And for goodness sake, stop using the snooze alarm.
I guess that old adage is true “if you snooze, you lose.”
The next lesson is entitled, “Bye-bye Fido, You're Killing My Sleep.” In it, we’ll discuss how allowing your pets into your bed is hurting your sleep. Until then, happy Z's...