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Snoozing on your alarm makes you mentally sharper, study claims

Do you enjoy hitting the snooze button in the morning or setting multiple alarms and sleeping until the very last one? Well, it might seem like a bad habit for most people, but it actually does something good for our bodies.

In a study published in the Journal of Sleep Research involving 31 individuals who habitually hit the snooze button, researchers discovered that snoozing for 30 minutes does not negatively impact performance on a cognitive test taken immediately after waking. In fact, in some cases, performance improved compared to the days when no snoozing occurred.

Although snoozing led to about six minutes of lost sleep, it prevented waking up from slow-wave sleep, a deep state that is challenging to overcome. Moreover, researchers observed no apparent effects on stress hormone levels, morning sleepiness, mood, or overnight sleep patterns.

“The findings indicate that there is no reason to stop snoozing in the morning if you enjoy it—at least not for snooze times around 30 minutes,” said lead author Tina Sundelin, an assistant professor of psychology at Stockholm University in Sweden, in a news release about the study. “In fact, it may even help those with morning drowsiness to be slightly more awake once they get up.”

If you’re someone who regularly hits the snooze button, feel no shame. Based on the study, there are notable differences between individuals who snooze and those who don’t. Snoozers tended to be younger, more inclined towards night owl tendencies and generally reported getting less sleep than non-snoozers.

However, for those wondering what they should do if they wake up before their alarm, experts say it depends on certain factors, but they lean towards heading back to bed, especially if you haven’t completed a full night’s rest. Sleep possesses restorative properties and influences multiple body systems.

“Sleep is a growing public health concern because so many people across the globe do not receive the recommended seven to nine hours of sleep each night,” according to Joachim Behar, a sleep researcher and the head of the Artificial Intelligence in Medicine Laboratory at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel.

While Behar suggested that everyone go back to bed if they haven’t banked enough sleeping time, he mentioned one exception to the 7-9 Hour Rule: Stay up if your alarm is set to ring in 90 minutes or less. A complete sleep cycle takes about that time, and interrupting it can result in sleep inertia.

“That’s the grogginess and difficulty concentrating that many people feel after waking up. If you’re finding yourself staring at the ceiling 30 minutes or less before your alarm, it’s a good sign that your sleep schedule is aligned with your circadian rhythm,” Sleepopolis chief medical advisor Dr. Raj Dasgupta added.


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