Press That Snooze Button: It Might Be Good for You

Hit the Snooze Button Why It Could Benefit You

Snooze away It’s good for you!

By Alan Mozes, HealthDay Reporter

News Picture: Press That Snooze Button: It Might Be Good for You

The expression “you snooze, you lose” may have given reluctant morning risers a bad rap. But fear not, fellow snoozers, for new research suggests that hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock may actually be a stroke of genius.

According to a study from Sweden, snoozing can boost your ability to think quickly and clearly upon waking for the day. Tina Sundelin, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor of psychology at Stockholm University, explains that this is especially true for those who experience sleep inertia—a feeling of drowsiness upon waking.

Now, if you’re a night owl who suffers from sleep inertia, it may take up to an hour for you to feel fully awake. But here’s where the snooze button comes in to save the day. By spending some of that time snoozing in lighter sleep, you can fight off some of that inertia and wake up feeling more alert.

But before you jump out of bed and start celebrating, let’s take a closer look at the study. The research found that nearly seven in 10 adults hit the snooze button on their alarm at least some of the time. These snoozers said they typically snoozed for about 22 minutes. So it seems that snoozing is a common habit among many of us.

The study, published in the Journal of Sleep Research, assessed the waking habits of over 1,700 adults. It also found that those who regularly pressed the snooze button were generally younger, tended to stay up late, and slept less. These snoozers were also more likely to feel drowsy in the morning.

To dive even deeper into the benefits (and perhaps downsides) of snoozing, Sundelin and her team conducted a second study with 31 routine snoozers. Participants spent two nights in a sleep lab. On one of the mornings, they were allowed to snooze for half an hour before waking up, while on the other morning, no snoozing was permitted.

The results showed that while intermittent snoozing did interfere with sleep quality, participants were able to get an extra 20 minutes of shut-eye during their snoozing session. However, the team did find that snoozing had no effect on cortisol levels (the fight-or-flight hormone) or mood.

But despite these upsides, Sundelin reminds us that the effect of snoozing on cognition was rather small. So it’s not a case of the longer you snooze, the better you’ll perform. There comes a point where the negatives of disturbed sleep outweigh the benefits of a slow wake-up.

While this study provides interesting insights, it’s worth noting that the sample of participants consisted only of regular snoozers. So it’s not necessarily representative of all sleepers. However, Sundelin emphasizes that many people do snooze, and it doesn’t necessarily cause fragmented or shortened sleep as long as it’s kept to a reasonable half-hour or so.

Adam Krause, a post-doctoral research fellow of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University, reviewed the findings and offered a word of caution. He points out that sleep during a snooze is not as restorative as undisturbed sleep. And while the Swedish team linked snoozing to a short-term boost in thinking, it’s unclear whether these effects persist throughout the day. So, he wouldn’t necessarily recommend snoozing based solely on this study.

Whether you’re a devoted snoozer or not, the debate continues. The alarm clock snooze button may have its benefits, but it’s essential to strike a balance between that extra shuteye and maintaining overall sleep quality.

What are your thoughts on snoozing? Are you a proud snoozer or do you prefer to rise and shine immediately? Share your experiences in the comments below!

Source: Tina Sundelin, PhD. researcher and assistant professor, psychology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden; Adam J. Krause, PhD, post-doctoral research fellow, computational psychiatry, neuroimaging, and sleep lab, psychiatry and behavioral sciences, Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif.; Oct. 17, 2023, Journal of Sleep Research

SLIDESHOW SLIDESHOW: Sleep Disorders: Foods That Help Sleep or Keep You Awake See Slideshow