Snoozing the snooze button, that’s my resolution for this week


As regular readers of this blog likely know, sleep is my super power. But despite my motto, start as you mean to continue, this term got off to a tough start.

I have no trouble at all getting to sleep and I can still nap anywhere at anytime. But getting up this semester is proving to be a challenge

I’m teaching until 9 p.m.on Mondays and that sets the whole week up wrong.  I’m up later than usual Friday night and Saturday night and now Monday nights too. Sometimes I even add Sunday to the list and do some late evening grocery shopping. Staying up too late and struggling to get up in the morning has been my Autumn bad habit.

I’ve been relying on the snooze button more than I like. My alarm goes off at 5 or 6 and instead of leaping out of bed, I snooze until twenty past and sometimes until 7. That’s when I absolutely have to get up to wake teens and get us all out the door by 815.

I know the snooze sleep isn’t good sleep. But somehow, I keep snoozing.

This week, no snoozing. I may need to pick a later time for the first alarm but this week it’ll be the first, last, and only alarm. My partner’s alarm only goes off when you solve a math problem. It’s set to the most difficult level. I know this because it sometimes goes off while he’s showering and my math skills, without glasses are limited.

I’m looking over my options. How to you wake up in the morning? Alarm or no alarm? easy off or challenging off? Snooze or no snooze?

Here’s the case against snoozing.

Snoozers are losers

It may seem like you’re giving yourself a few extra minutes to collect your thoughts. But what you’re actually doing is making the wake-up process more difficult and drawn out. If you manage to drift off again, you are likely plunging your brain back into the beginning of the sleep cycle, which is the worst point to be woken up—and the harder we feel it is for us to wake up, the worse we think we’ve slept. (

Why the snooze button is ruining your sleep

Weird but true: Relying on the alarm clock’s snooze button can actually make us more tired. Especially after a night of too little sleep, hitting snooze won’t make getting up any easier. Those five extra minutes in the morning are less restful than five minutes of REM sleep because they take place at the end of the cycle when sleep is lighter. And, although sleep is usually the time when the brain forms new memories, that process doesn’t happen while we’re sleeping in between alarms. Skipping that high-quality sleep can have serious consequences: A recent study found high school students with poor sleep habits (including using an alarm to wake up) didn’t do so well in school [2].

The secret to an easier wakeup is simple—get more sleep! Set the alarm for the time you actually get out of bed (i.e. the last snooze) and avoid the snooze button altogether. If keeping those paws off the alarm clock is just too difficult, try placing the alarm clock across the room. It’s much easier to resist the siren song of the snooze button if it’s not right next to the bed! Die-hard snoozers should try to minimize the damage by setting the alarm for 10 minutes earlier than usual and snoozing just once or twice. Ten minutes of disrupted sleep ain’t perfect, but it’s better than 30 or 60!

Hitting the snooze button is damaging your health

According to data collated from 136,000 people between 2003 to 2012, people felt best when they awoke naturally, but snoozing was alse seen as a pleasurable experience. “It feels like a blissful dream state because the closer you get to wakening, the more rapid-eye movement and dreams occur,” Dinges explained. However snoozing does not add to people’s total sleep quota, it simply prolongs the act of waking up, he said

Why the snooze button is evil

The reason I dislike the snooze button is that it represents a pernicious self-deception about how you plan to spend your mornings. There is nothing wrong with sleeping. Sleep is wonderful. If you’d like to spend your mornings sleeping, why not set the alarm for the time you actually intend to get out of bed? Your body would probably prefer 27 minutes of uninterrupted sleep to three 9-minute segments of snooze-button time.

Instead, the snooze button is a weapon in the battle between the selves we’d like to be and the selves we actually are. Research into the science of willpower finds that we wake up with a robust supply of self-discipline that is then depleted by decision-making during the day (see my related post, Can You Learn Willpower?). The snooze button turns the simple act of getting out of bed into a willpower-sapping episode of trench warfare. I’ll give you 9 minutes if you promise not to take so long in the shower. I’ll give you 9 more minutes if you don’t eat breakfast. Eventually, your ability to invest that willpower in meaningful tasks later on is shot.

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