Why Snoozing Your Alarm Could Be Good for You
If you’ve ever hit the snooze button to get a few more minutes of extra sleep in the morning, you aren’t alone. And while it might seem to be a detriment to wake up later in a panic because you overslept, it turns out that getting those extra winks of sleep might be beneficial to your health.
New research published in the Journal of Sleep Research outlines the effects of repeated snoozing, also called intermittent alarms. One experiment found that nearly 70 percent of the more than 1,700 people surveyed set multiple alarms to wake up or sometimes use the snooze function to prolong getting out of bed. On average, they spent 22 minutes snoozing their alarms and often fell back asleep in those precious few minutes between the next alarm. Unsurprisingly, feeling too tired was the number one reason people snoozed their alarms.
In another experiment, the team monitored 31 participants as they spent three nights in a lab sleeping, waking up, and snoozing the alarms to wake them. The goal with this was to observe how snoozing affected their memory, processing speed, and executive function; to test this, the subjects were given math problems to solve and lists of words to memorize.
In the end, the scientists found that getting a few extra minutes of sleep to properly ease into the awake state has a positive impact on how people’s brains work. “When snoozing, as opposed to when having to wake up right away, I would say that they came to alertness quicker, even though there was no difference in how sleepy or alert they felt subjectively,” study’s lead author Dr. Tina Sundelin told NBC News.
Sundelin explained in a press release that snoozing shouldn’t be frowned upon or something that people should try to avoid, especially given its apparent effects on your health. “The findings indicate that there is no reason to stop snoozing in the morning if you enjoy it, at least not for snooze times around 30 minutes,” she said. “In fact, it may even help those with morning drowsiness to be slightly more awake once they get up.”
Next time you’re not ready to get out of bed, don’t feel guilty about hitting that snooze button.