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Hitting the snooze button too often is bad for sleep



Marzena Devoud - published on 02/21/24

Scientists agree: using the snooze button when you wake up to extend your night by a few minutes has the exact opposite effect to that intended by sleepers.

As much as 85% of people set an alarm clock every morning to get up. While some don’t waste a second in getting about their business, others find it harder to jump out of bed. Whether it’s on their good old-fashioned alarm clock or their cell phone, these people know perfectly well how to find the “snooze” button, which allows them to postpone their daily alarm by a few minutes.

This is a totally counter-productive reflex, according to Till Roenneberg, Professor of Human Chronobiology at the Institute of Medical Psychology, University of Munich, and author of the book Internal Time. According to him, this bonus of a few extra minutes’ sleep doesn’t give your body any extra rest. Worse still, it makes waking up more difficult.

The fact is, sleep is made up of several phases, of varying depths. Going back to sleep after the first morning wake-up call, thanks to the snooze button, would plunge you back into a new sleep cycle, starting with the first phase — the deep phase — which you subsequently interrupt by waking up a short time later.


“Sleep inertia” and how to avoid it

Maria Konnikova, a writer and psychologist at Harvard University, in an article published in The New Yorker, explains that this leads to “sleep inertia.” “Sleep inertia refers to that period between waking and being fully awake, when you feel groggy. The more abruptly you are awakened, the more severe the sleep inertia.”

The ideal, she goes on to explain, is to try to synchronize our sleep time with our natural biological clock, which is regulated primarily by exposure to natural light. The result is that we sleep better and wake up spontaneously and with much less sleep inertia.

Nevertheless, according to some scientists, if the snooze button is used without abuse and, above all, without falling asleep (!), it can help you wake up gently and get out of bed on the right foot.

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