If You Snooze, You LOSE!


On a regular school morning, I am abruptly awoken by my alarm clock which sounds like a buzzer. No, it’s definitely not favorable, but it is the only thing that will wake me up. I am guilty of hitting the snooze button at least three or four times before I get out of bed and start getting ready for class. I even set my alarm earlier than necessary in order to allow myself time to do so. But, just recently I have learned that hitting the snooze button has the ability to make you more tired and less productive throughout the day.

There are five stages in a human’s sleep cycle. Stage one is the lightest stage of sleep. It is also referred to as the transition phase. If you allow yourself to wake up naturally, stage one would be the last stage before you fully wake up. This stage lasts between five to ten minutes and during this time, your body slows down and your muscles become relaxed. The second stage of sleep is still considered light sleep. Brain activity, heart rate, and breathing all slows down during this stage in attempt to reach a state of complete relaxation. Stage three is when you begin to enter a deep sleep. If you were to be awakened during this stage, it is incredibly difficult to wake up. One would be confused and groggy. Of the five stages of sleep, this is the one when you experience your deepest sleep of the night. Stage five this is the stage of sleep when you dream. It is also referred to as REM sleep, which stands for the rapid eye movement. During stage five, blood flow, breathing, and brain activity increases.

Maria Konnikova, a journalist with a focus on psychology, explained in an interview with the Calgary Eyeopener, “The thing about snooze buttons that most of us don’t understand is that instead of giving us an extra, precious few minutes of sleep, they’re robbing us of a lot of mental clarity, every time you press it, if you happen to drift off you’re plunged back into the beginning of the sleep cycle, which is the absolute worst point from which to wake up.” If any of you have ever wondered why Iphone snooze buttons are only about 8 minutes I am assuming that it is so our bodies do not enter stage two of the sleep cycle making it harder to wake up.


By hitting the snooze button, we are doing many negative things to our bodies. One thing we are doing is fragmenting what extra sleep we are getting so that sleep becomes poor quality sleep. Another thing, is we are beginning a new sleep cycle that we can not finish. Robert Rosenberg, who is the medical director of the Sleep Disorders Centers of Prescott Valley and Flagstaff, Arizona says, “You’re throwing off your circadian cycle and that can impair your ability to feel awake during the day and sleepy at night.”

Scientists believe that this is due to a term coined as “sleep inertia”. It refers to the period between being woken and being fully awake. While the parts of the brain responsible for basic physical functioning, is able to act almost immediately, the cortical regions which are responsible for decision making and self control take longer. It can take up to two hours to get rid of sleep-inertia grogginess. Unfortunately for us, there is nothing we can do to beat sleep inertia besides getting enough sleep.

There are things we can do to prevent it though. One thing recommended is to keep phones are computer out of the bed when we are trying to fall asleep. The blue light radiated from the smart phones delay our bodies production of melatonin. If you are still having trouble getting right out of bed, it is recommended to hide your alarm clock or keep it out of reach requiring you to get out of bed in order to turn it off.


5 thoughts on “If You Snooze, You LOSE!

  1. Margaret Mercedes Mccarthy

    One of my friends introduced me to this really interesting app that tells you when you are in the different stages of your REM cycle by detecting your movement at night. You enter a thirty minute window for this app and it wakes you up when you are in your lightest phase of sleep. Making getting out of bed much easier. Before being able to use the alarm one has to sleep with there phone on their bed next to them, the phone tracks movement and records when you are tossing and turning and when you are in your deep death like slumber. Although I haven’t gotten the app, I am totally ready to try this out to make mornings easier!

  2. Kathryn Lauren Filling

    I am guilty of pressing the snooze button multiple times before actually getting out of bed. In my room at home, I put my alarm clock on the other side of the room so I would pop up out of bed and turn it off. That helped a little, but I was still always so tired. I am also wondering about naps…I take quite a few here especially when I have 8 am classes but is it better to take short power naps or long naps to try to catch up on hours of sleep? Taylor’s article says its best to take 10-30 minute naps but then I still never feel like I get a good amount of sleep! Also, why does taking naps close to the time we go to bed make falling asleep harder if naps make us more tired? Also why do little kids always take naps during the day? This article breaks down the ages in which you should take naps.

  3. Jordan David Unsworth

    Very informative and creative blog. I really enjoyed your meme as well! I think we can all say we hit the snooze button more than once in the morning. I have to agree with the blog in saying that we feel more tired after hitting the snooze button. It was addressed that we should not be watching television before we sleep because it effects our sleep habits but does being on your phone have the same affect? We are all on our phones before bed and if you say you are not I beg to differ. Would it help if we were able to take naps throughout the day or would that throw off our sleeping habits as well? Here is some more information. http://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/how-to-sleep-better.htm

  4. Taylor Michael Evcic

    This is one of the worst things about sleep. As if waking up the first time isn’t hard enough, when you try and sleep a little more it gets even harder the second time. I know personally, I am a HUGE fan of naps. I never seem to get to bed early enough to get those full 8 hours so naps are absolutely essential for me. The problem with that is that a lot of times I wake up feeling more tired than when I started which completely ruins the whole point of a nap! After reading this, I can see that the problem is I must be napping for too long or too short and I wake up in the middle of a sleep cycle. So I did some research and ( http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/adult-health/in-depth/napping/art-20048319?pg=2 )The Mayo Clinic made a complete “How to” guide for naps that answers any question you could possibly have. Turns out you’re only supposed to nap for 10 to 30 minutes in order to avoid slipping into that sleep cycle. I just might have to test out that theory with an afternoon nap today!

  5. Larissa Marie Wright

    I, like many other college students i’m sure can relate to this. The majority of the time find myself snoozing my alarm clock and I wake up feeling even more tired than I was when I went to bed. It makes sense that when you begin a new sleep phase and keep snoozing the alarm that it gets disrupted. I also have experience when it comes to having my phone and computer on in/before I go to bed. A lot of other studies indicate you should not be on your phone or computer or even watch television before bed because it disrupts your sleeping habits.

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