Imagine this scenario. You have an important event that you need to get up early for. Your alarm goes off, but you hit the snooze button over and over. By the time you finally get up, you're almost half an hour late, you feel rushed and you're having problems remembering where you put your keys. You're irritable and you can't focus. In short, it seems like everything is going wrong and it's happening on a very important day.
It's Tempting to Hit the Snooze Button
It can be hard not to hit the snooze button, especially when late nights start butting heads with early mornings. However, there is more than enough research out there to prove that hitting your snooze button can wreak havoc on both your physical and mental health. Even more frightening, it only takes a few days for things to take a turn for the worse.
After reading this information, you’ll want to never hit snooze again.
It Could Ruin Your Whole Day
The more times you hit the snooze button, the worse you feel. You're likely to go through the day feeling sluggish and foggy. You might also notice that it influences your mood and makes you cranky and difficult to be around.
In short, hitting snooze can ruin your entire day. It leaves you feeling mentally and physically drained, unable to do the things you want to do or be there for the people that need you.
The Mental Fog Caused by Your Snooze Button
One of the things that happen when you repeatedly hit snooze is a very disruptive mental fog.
It tends to last throughout the entire day, and it can be frustrating, to say the least. Imagine having to work on a big project or trying to get an almost endless to-do list done, all while in the throes of a mental fog that makes it hard to focus on anything for more than a few seconds at a time.
If you feel like you just can't get it together after hitting the snooze button, you're not imagining things. Your brain is responding to the fact that it has been thrown off course by your snooze button. It all ties into the Circadian rhythm and how your brain and body work together in order to tell you when it's time to sleep and wake.
Hitting the snooze button throws all of this off track and when it does, you end up paying for it by not being able to concentrate on anything.
When You Hit Snooze, You Actually Get Less Sleep
You might think that hitting the snooze button gives you a chance to get just a few more minutes of precious sleep. You probably think that you're doing yourself a favor by hitting snooze, allowing your body to have just a few more moments to get the rest it so desperately needs.
When you get in bed later than you should or you feel especially exhausted in the morning, it's easy to reach over and stop the noise.
The problem is, you're actually getting less restorative sleep. You may be getting a few more minutes of sleep but it's not the quality sleep you need to be rested, healthy, and functional. You’re making things worse.
Your Sleep Cycle Explained
When you go to sleep, it takes a while for you to reach those stages of sleep that are actually beneficial to the mind and body. In fact, you may only be sleeping lightly for about the first hour and a half.
After that, you fall into what's known as Rapid Eye Movement, or REM sleep. This is the sleep that allows you to have dreams and it's crucial for both physical and mental well-being. It's a cycle that will repeat itself several times throughout the night.
A cycle referred to as deep sleep occurs after REM sleep. This level of sleep is important because it is during deep sleep that your body essentially repairs itself.
If you have overdone it with your workout the previous day or you've been especially exhausted, this is the phase of sleep where your body works to repair the damage so that you can wake up restored and ready to go the next morning. It's also the phase of sleep that strengthens your immune system and helps you stay healthy. Without it, it's easy to get sick and it's harder to get well after the fact.
Hitting the snooze button messes up your sleep cycle. It confuses your brain so much so that your body no longer knows when it should be awake or asleep. This means that your body doesn't necessarily know what cycle of sleep you should be in, either. On top of that, you may have just come out of REM sleep when your alarm goes off. If you hit the snooze button, you go right back into this phase of sleep.
Once your alarm goes off, again and again, you end up feeling exhausted because you're not allowed the opportunity to come out of REM sleep naturally before waking. The end result is exhaustion, irritability, muscle pain, and an increased risk of getting sick.
Physical Signs You're Not Getting Enough Sleep
You shouldn’t be feeling tired throughout the day. This isn’t normal for a healthy adult. Once you rule out any medical causes, it's likely because you're not getting enough sleep at night. The same is true if you have problems focusing, you're exceptionally irritable or you feel an increase in pain that can't be explained.
People that don't get enough sleep typically feel a great deal of body soreness. In addition, you may have heightened levels of pain in both your muscles and joints.
When you're not getting enough sleep, the body isn’t getting the chance it needs to repair itself. Before long, you start to experience both the physical and mental effects associated with a lack of restorative sleep.
The Dangers of a Chronic Lack of Sleep
Everybody has nights where they don't get enough sleep for one reason or another. However, just a few days in a row of not getting enough sleep can cause big problems.
When you continue to skimp on sleep night after night, you put yourself in danger of developing some very real conditions that can be life-threatening.
If you don’t get enough sleep, you are putting a great deal of stress on your body and not giving it an opportunity to repair itself properly. As such, it's more likely that those who are chronically sleep-deprived will experience a higher incidence of cancer, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
When you're sleep-deprived, your stress levels are elevated. This additional stress plays havoc on both your mental and physical health, further increasing things like heart rate and blood pressure.
A lack of sleep and added levels of stress also create more inflammation inside the body. This doesn't just cause you to have more pain, but also a higher chance of developing cancer and some autoimmune diseases.
How to Stop Hitting Snooze
So, what should you do if you find yourself constantly hitting your snooze button?
For starters, try to figure out what you really need. Are you hitting your snooze button because you're going to bed late and getting up early or is it simply a bad habit you've gotten into that you need to find your way out of?
It's best to minimize distractions and make sure that you go to bed early enough to get the proper amount of sleep, usually seven to eight hours a night.
If you still can't leave the snooze button alone, it might help to move it out of your reach.
Set your alarm clock up so that you have to get out of bed and walk across the room in order to turn it off. By then, you're likely to be a bit more awake and less likely to hit the snooze button and go back to bed.