The snooze button debate! Turns out snoozing your alarm has surprising benefits according to new research

Starting the day this way only adds unnecessary stress to our minds. Picture: Andisheh A /Unsplash

Starting the day this way only adds unnecessary stress to our minds. Picture: Andisheh A /Unsplash

Published Oct 20, 2023


Did you know that hitting the snooze button in the morning is a common habit for many people? In fact, one survey found that over a third of adults hit snooze three times before getting out of bed.

Even more interesting, over half of young adults admit to hitting snooze every morning!

But here's the thing, when we hit snooze, we actually mess with our body's internal clock. If we've had a good night's sleep and the alarm goes off, our body is ready to wake up.

However, when we snooze and go back to sleep, we confuse our system. Our body loses track of when it's time to wake up or go to sleep.

Aside from the confusion, snoozing also disrupts our much-needed REM sleep (the deepest stage of sleep). You know, the deep sleep where we dream? Well, that 5-to-10-minute snooze doesn't give us enough time to truly return to that restorative sleep state.

And as if that's not enough, it can even raise our blood pressure and heartbeat, according to a study published in the Journal of Physiological Anthropology.

Hitting the snooze button can actually start our day off with stress. We're essentially in a battle with our alarms, and eventually, we give in and admit defeat. Starting the day this way only adds unnecessary stress to our minds.

But, here's a twist, recent research from Stockholm University's Department of Psychology suggests that snoozing might actually support the waking process for habitual snoozers. So, if you are one of those regular snoozers, there may be some unexpected benefits for you!

Researchers from Stockholm University have now investigated how common snoozing is and what effects this behaviour has on sleep, sleepiness, mood and cognitive abilities.

According to Tina Sundelin, a researcher from Stockholm University and author of the paper, those who snooze generally sleep slightly less and experience increased morning drowsiness compared to non-snoozers.

However, the study revealed that snoozing had no adverse effects on cortisol release, morning tiredness, mood, or sleep quality throughout the night. These mixed findings challenge the widely held belief that snoozing negatively affects sleep quality.

The study involved two separate investigations. In the first study, 1732 participants shared insights into their morning routines, including their snoozing habits. The findings showed that snoozing is particularly prevalent among young adults and evening people.

The most common reason reported for hitting the snooze button was feeling too tired to get out of bed when the alarm initially went off.

To gain a deeper understanding of how snoozing your alarm affects sleep, the second study involved 31 regular snoozers who spent two nights in a sleep lab.

In one instance, they were allowed to snooze for 30 minutes, while in the other, they had to rise immediately.

Surprisingly, the 30-minute snooze interval had minimal impact on participants' overall sleep duration. Cognitive tests even showed a slight increase in performance for the snoozing group upon waking.

No negative impact on mood and cortisol level

Even though, the research found no conclusive evidence to support the notion that snoozing leads to negative impacts on mood, sleepiness, or stress levels. As a matter of fact, there were signs of potential benefits, like a reduced chance of waking up in the middle of the night.

According to Sundelin, the study suggests that snoozing for half an hour does not appear to harm overall sleep quality or contribute to morning sleep inertia.

If anything, there were potential positive outcomes, including a decreased likelihood of being abruptly awakened from deep sleep. The participants who snoozed also performed slightly better when they woke up.

While hitting that snooze button may give you a few extra minutes of sleep, finding alternative strategies for healthy morning routines remains an important part of achieving a good start to the day.