Most people look at the snooze button as a guilty indulgence, made for those weaklings who neither wake up on time naturally nor spring out of bed at the alarm’s first buzz. Not so fast.
Sure, as ASAP Science explained, hitting snooze can reset your brain’s sleep cycle, making you more tired than if you’d just gotten up the first time. “As soon as you let yourself slip into sleeping in (even if it’s just a little bit) then all bets are off,” BI’s early-rising Joe Weisenthal has written.
But now a sleep expert is coming to the defence of the much-maligned snooze button.
David Dinges, chief of the Division of Sleep and Chronobiology in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine, thinks the snooze button is not the villain it’s been made out to be.
“Snoozing is not a great evil,” he told The Wall Street Journal. “The extra 10 minutes you get by snoozing can actually help to gently awaken the mind, rather than jolt it back to wakefulness.”
While we couldn’t find any studies that specifically investigated the pros and cons of hitting snooze, the trick seems to be actually using that snooze time to “gently awaken” — not fall back into a deep sleep.
“How tired a person is when the snooze-button frenzy begins is important,” an article in The New York Times explained. If you’re getting eight hours of sleep, you’ll be less likely to conk out again the minute you hit snooze. “Setting the clock for only 10 minutes earlier than the optimal wake-up time, allowing for only a single opportunity to press the snooze button, will provide the most restorative period of solid sleep,” The Times concluded.
Still, post-alarm dozing won’t help you in the same way real, undisturbed sleep might.
“You’d be better off getting that extra 10 to 20 minutes of real sleep rather than doing that dance with the alarm clock,” Dinges said.
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