Why We Sleep – #What You Didn’t Know About the Snooze Button

White Old School Alarm clock showing seven o'clock
Photo by Acharaporn Kamornboonyarush on Pexels.com

Are you one of those people who set the alarm to an hour before they actually get up and then keep pushing the snooze button until, finally, there is really no other option anymore than getting up?! I have always wondered why someone would do that and voluntarily give up on an entire hour of sleep. That was until I met my husband, who is an advocate of the snooze button.

It didn’t bother me too much when I was the one who got up way before him, anyways, but it has become an issue ever since we had a baby and I am not just the one who is trying to soak in every extra minute of sleep I can get, but also the one whose sleep has become lighter and more attentive to noises in general.

So lately, I have been trying to convince him that, for one thing, being ripped out of precious sleep by a very annoying sound every 10 minutes for an entire hour is pure torture and, secondly, that it makes so much more sense for him (and me) to actually grant himself that extra hour of sleep and then be rested by the time the alarm goes off once and for all.

And then I read Why We Sleep and came across scientific evidence to support my reasoning. Let me fill you in…;)

What an alarm clock does, basically, is enforced awakening. This is something that humans have implied into their lives during the industrial era when it was really important for mass production that people all arrived at the same time to begin their shift.

However, this is fairly unnatural, which is why it shouldn’t come as a surprise that our body strongly reacts to this artificial way of interrupting and ending our sleep cycle.

Studies have shown that

Participants artificially awakened from sleep can experience a spike in blood pressure and an acceleration in heart rate caused by a burst of activity from the fight-or-flight branch of the nervous system.

Why We Sleep

So this is only what happens when your alarm goes off for the FIRST time. Now say you push the snooze button four times every morning before you finally turn off your alarm on five days a week, 52 weeks a year. All those sudden peaks of blood pressure and speeding heart rates. Only because of a tiny snooze button. Considering a whole life span of waking up to an unpleasant beep-sound several times in the morning, we can not ignore the „possible consequences to your heart and nervous system.“

If you do struggle with sleep, „waking up the same time of day, every day, no matter if it is the week or weekend is a good recommendation for maintaining a stable sleep schedule.“ (For more tipps on how to improve your sleep, read here). This way, you might even be able to not use an alarm clock at all, anymore, since your internal clock will be programmed to when you go to sleep and when you want to wake up. Your alarm would then be reduced to functioning as your safety net only.

If this spoke to you and you are using the snooze button many times every morning

try to do away with the snooze function, and get in the habit of waking up only once to spare your heart the repeated shock.

Matthew Walker, Why We Sleep

Sounds doable?

What’s your perspective on the snooze button? Do you use it yourself? Knowing what you know now, will you try to give it up and spare your heart the daily shock(s)?

Good night and quiet awakening.+++

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