Do you often hit the snooze button of your alarm clock? Or does your partner? It might be time to break this habit…
It’s Monday morning… and the alarm goes off… What do you do? Do you immediately get up to start your day or do you hit the snooze button?
More time in bed
Many people have difficulty waking up and getting out of bed in the morning. If you are one of these people, you probably use the snooze button of your alarm clock, allowing yourself a few (or perhaps a lot) more minutes of sleep. Since more sleep is linked to a lot of positive outcomes, hitting the snooze button might intuitively seem like a good idea, as this gives you more time in bed. However, the scientific literature suggests otherwise.
Importance of sleep
Sleep takes up about one third of each day and affects your daytime functioning. Getting enough hours of sleep has been linked to healthy outcomes, such as lower probabilities of being overweight, increased productivity during the day, better school performance, fewer depression-related symptoms, and fewer impulsive or risky decisions.
Regular bed and wake times
In research, sleep habits are often assessed using reports of bed and wake times. Importantly, studies demonstrate that regular bed and wake times are linked to less sleepiness during the day, which makes you more productive and alert during daytime. Although the amount of sleep needed differs for children, adolescents, and adults, maintaining regular bed and wake times seems to benefit all age groups.
So, the recommendation is to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day on school and work days, but what about weekends? Your body does not differentiate between the days of the week. Therefore, it is best to keep your weekend bed and wake times consistent with weekdays. This will help cut out those Monday blues and could therefore contribute to a fresh and productive start to your working week.
Why not to snooze?
Unfortunately, the scientific literature does not explicitly say anything about whether it is safe to hit the snooze button, but it does teach us that minimizing variability in our wake times is key for waking up happy and bright (assuming we get enough sleep). So is it a good idea to hit that snooze button in the morning? I think the answer to this is probably “No”. Using the snooze button interferes with your intention to get up at a set time, which adds more variability to your wake times. Snoozing your alarm over and over could therefore be especially disruptive for your daytime functioning.
Breaking the habit: self-control
I am very much aware that breaking with the habit of snoozing the alarm can be very challenging (though not impossible). After all, it calls for a lot of self-control at a time when you are most vulnerable (read: sleepy!). In the end, to get the most of your day, the best policy is probably to stick to a regular day and night rhythm that suits you and to minimize the number of times you snooze your alarm. And as an added bonus, you might also increase your partner’s sleep quality.