Chronic snooze button use means you need more sleep, according to experts
Jan 9, 2024, 1:00 PM
SALT LAKE CITY — A study performed at Stockholm University found that hitting the snooze button had no negative impacts on cognitive function throughout the day.
However, a University of Utah professor said that chronically hitting the snooze button is a sign that you need more rest.
Kelly Baron, the director of the University of Utah’s Behavioral Sleep Medicine program, said that “having to hit the snooze button multiple times is really a sign that your brain is not ready to wake up, you know that you need more sleep.”
During the Stockholm University study, participants used the snooze button sparingly, for only 30 minutes. When they were fully awake, they were given cognitive evaluations.
Researchers found that participants experienced less sleep inertia following the use of the snooze button.
According to Baron, sleep inertia is also referred to as sleep drunkenness. It occurs when one experiences grogginess and cognitive slowness.
“[Experiencing] a little bit of that is normal, actually … in the first 30 minutes of waking up, most people do feel a little bit groggy,” said Baron. “The brain does need some boot-up time.”
Most likely to use the snooze button
Baron said that adolescents are likely to hit the snooze button because they aren’t getting enough rest.
“[Adolescents] biologically want to stay up later,” said Baron. However, early morning school start times and packed schedules can prevent them from getting the recommended nine hours.
Older people are also likely to hit the snooze button. Baron said that they usually experience more health issues that impact their quality of sleep.
“In that case, the snooze button may be just trying to compensate for having disrupted sleep at night,” Baron said. “Having broken sleep actually could feel worse than having shorter but more consolidated sleep,” she added.
Getting enough sleep
It’s also important to get enough sleep. Inadequate sleep can lead to many health problems such as dementia and heart disease, according to the National Institute of Health.
Baron said that maintaining a consistent sleep schedule is important in getting enough rest. Hold yourself accountable for going to sleep and waking up at the same time.
“Catching up might feel good in the short term, but then it can make it harder to get back on track on Monday morning,” said Baron.
Additionally, sleep should be a priority. Build wind-down time into your schedule.
Baron advised avoiding bright light and binge-watching before bedtime. The light interferes with melatonin production. Melatonin is the hormone related to the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
As little as 20 or 30 minutes of additional sleep per night can improve somebody’s health, according to Baron.
“If you’re having extreme sleepiness in the morning or difficulty staying awake or sleepiness driving, that could be a sign that you have a sleep disorder or that you’re just not getting enough sleep,” said Baron.
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