What Happens to Your Body When You Hit Snooze


The Chriselle Factor

We can all admit it—refraining from hitting the snooze button first thing in the morning is a daily struggle. As soon as your alarm sounds and you're abruptly awoken from your dreamy state, the only thing you want to do is shut off the noise and curl back up into your sheets.

We know it isn't the most responsible course of action and can actually cause added stress once we do get up and out of bed and have fewer minutes to get ready. But the truth is much worse than a simple inconvenience—this daily habit is messing with your mind. Do you notice you feel more tired on the days you allow yourself those few extra minutes of shut-eye? Are you finding it increasingly difficult to get up in the morning, no matter what time you set your alarm? Your dependency on the snooze button could be what's screwing up your morning.

New York Magazine's "Science of Us" recently examined this phenomenon. It turns out the guilty pleasure we engage in every morning—hitting the snooze button once, twice, or more, to rack up quick intervals of additional sleep—is making it more difficult for our bodies to wake up and function in the morning. Behavior scientist Dan Ariely wrote in The Wall Street Journal that hitting snooze ruins the conditioning effect the alarm clock is supposed to have on your body. Our bodies perform best when there is a single, clear rule, and thus the alarm clock is intended to engage with us much like the buzzer and Pavlov's dog. When the alarm goes off, we jump out of bed and begin our day. "When we play with the snooze button," writes Ariely, "our bodies get a confused message."

So what's the best way to wake yourself up in the morning? Set your alarm for the time you need to wake up, not 10, 20, or more minutes before, and once it goes off, get up and out of bed the first time. The extra sleep you squeeze in doesn't even benefit you in the short or long term. Five- to 10-minute increments aren't enough for the restorative sleep necessary to leave you feeling refreshed, and you're just cutting into your time and throwing yourself off for future mornings. Practicing the daily habit of getting up with the first alarm and forgetting the snooze button altogether will better your mornings and set the tone for the rest of your day.

Surprised by these findings? Let us know how you resist the urge to snooze and your tips for kick-starting your morning routine.