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You snooze you lose – How your alarm clock can negatively affect your health

Posted on December 28th, 2022

Be honest: how many times did you hit the snooze button on your alarm clock this morning? If you’re like a lot of people, the answer is probably “too many.” But did you know there are health risks associated with snoozing?

Stealing a few extra minutes of shuteye once in a while isn’t a big deal. But fighting with your alarm clock every morning could have a negative impact on your health. 

Snoozing disrupts your sleep cycle

When you first fall asleep, you enter what’s known as non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. This is a light sleep stage from which you can easily be awoken. After about an hour and a half, you enter deep or slow-wave sleep. This is when your body begins to repair and restore itself.

About halfway through the night, you enter REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. This is when your brain is most active and you may experience intense dreams. Your breathing and heart rate also increase during REM sleep.

You cycle through these stages of sleep several times throughout the night. But when you hit the snooze button, you interrupt your natural sleep cycle.

This interruption can make you feel groggy and disoriented because you aren’t getting the full benefits of each stage of sleep. Plus, repeatedly waking up and going back to sleep can make it harder to fall asleep at night.

So, the next time you’re tempted to hit the snooze button, try making yourself start your day instead. You may find you feel more alert and well-rested as the day progresses.

The long-term consequences of habitual snoozing 

Studies have shown that people who frequently hit snooze are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression. They’re also more likely to be overweight, have trouble concentrating, and report lower levels of satisfaction with their lives.

Why is this the case? Well, it turns out our bodies are not meant to be in a state of constant half-sleep. When we repeatedly drift in and out of sleep, our bodies never get the chance to fully rest and recharge. And this can lead to all sorts of problems, both mental and physical. 

It’s not just our mental health that suffers when we snooze. Habitual snoozing can also take a toll on our physical health. People who frequently hit the snooze button are more likely to suffer from headaches, neck pain, and fatigue.

How to break your snooze habit

If you find yourself hitting the snooze button more often than you’d like, there are a few things you can do to break this habit. First, try setting your alarm for a time when you know you’ll be able to get up right away. If you’re someone who needs a few extra minutes in the morning, set your alarm for 10 or 15 minutes earlier than usual. But instead of snoozing, use that time to meditate, practice deep breathing, or stretch. 

Second, make sure your bedroom is as dark and quiet as possible when you’re trying to sleep. This will help your body relax and make it easier for you to fall asleep and stay asleep. That way, you feel better rested by the time your alarm goes off. 

Finally, try setting your alarm clock in a place that forces you to get out of bed to turn it off. If you keep your alarm at your bedside, the temptation to hit snooze may be too hard to resist. 

Hitting the snooze button may seem like a harmless way to sneak in a few extra minutes of sleep. But the long-term consequences can be serious. If you find yourself habitually hitting the snooze button, try changing your morning routine. These changes can help you break the habit and improve your sleep.

Dr. Meghna Dassani has practiced dentistry for over two decades and is passionate about the role dentists play in whole-body health. You can learn more at her website:

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