It's Time to 'Seize the Day' not 'Snooze the Day'

Is your Snooze Button affecting your sleep quality and overall health? Check out these tips for a healthier start to your day.

By Joe Castignani

You are blissfully asleep, perhaps amid a pleasant dream when it happens. The alarm goes off! The blaring sound slices through the silence as you are jarred to wakefulness, facing the reality that it’s time to get up, put on your running shoes and get that exercise you’ve been promising yourself.

 But if you are like 6 in 10 Americans, what do you do? You hit the snooze alarm, and probably not just once. It’s not a huge problem to snag a few more minutes of slumber occasionally, but if you are fighting your alarm regularly, hitting snooze might be keeping you from feeling well-rested.

 How does the snooze alarm affect the quality of sleep?

 As you sleep, you cycle through phases beginning with light sleep, advancing to deep sleep (check out last week’s blog emphasizing the importance of deep sleep for injury recovery), and finally, Rapid Eye Movement sleep (REM) sleep when the brain is highly active and dreams become vivid. This restorative phase of sleep is essential to feeling sharp and focused the following day.

When the alarm sounds, you are likely nearing the end of your last REM cycle. If you get up right away, the REM cycle ends, but if you hit the snooze button, the REM cycle resumes. When the alarm goes off a second time, it wakes you during the middle of REM sleep which leaves you feeling groggy and unsettled. Regularly hitting snooze may eventually confuse your body’s natural circadian rhythms, leading to the inability to fall asleep easily at night as well, which perpetuates the problem.

How to Resist the Snooze Button

In addition to improving sleep hygiene and aiming for at least 8 hours of sleep per night, there are simple changes you can make today to become less reliant on Snoozing and to help yourself sleep better overall.

Set a realistic alarm. If you already know that you’re probably not going to get up at 6:00 for the morning yoga class, choose a more realistic time to arise to get your day started.

Use a lower-volume, gradual alarm and roll out of bed when the alarm sounds. Try to get out of bed immediately and enjoy a hot shower, or at least sit up to encourage wakefulness. Loud abrupt alarms illicit a strong spike in blood pressure, cortisol and adrenaline which puts unnecessary stress on your cardiovascular system…snoozing through multiple alarms puts your body through more of this stress.

The Takeaway

It’s really that simple! Remember, occasional snoozing isn’t the end of the world. But for improved sleep and daily performance, try to rise and shine at the same time. Your body will thank you for it!

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Dream big, work hard, sleep ambitiously,

Joe Castignani