When you are enjoying a sweet dream, suddenly that alarm buzzes and you wake up with irritation just to press the "SNOOOOOOOOOOOZE" button......
Then, you drift back to sleep again to press the SNOOZE button after five minutes. This goes on for 2-4 times.
And? After the battle between your sleep and alarm, normally what happens?
Mostly, you wake up cursing the alarm, the people around, your work, anything and everything.
Does that sound familiar?
Or like my friend says, "the five minutes sleep after snoozing the alarm is the best!"
We are so much used to hitting that snooze button in the morning, cause we always need extra. We like getting extra than allotted and we assume that the five minutes of extra sleep we gain is the best we deserve. But, is it? Is it OK to use an alarm clock daily just to press the snooze button for some more time?
I am sorry to say that it is the worst you can do to yourself in the morning. The effect continues to your day and affect your mental health.
How is it harmful to press the snooze button?
1. Shock to your body
Dr Matthew Walker, the sleep diplomat, says when an alarm rings, it shakes us up from the sleep in the morning with no warning and that can act as a shock. Imagine every day in the morning someone gives you electric shock to wake up? That can be an act of violation of human rights. Alarm clock impacts our body in the same way, but the only difference is, we ourselves incur that to our bodies. Why do we do that? Hmm..... something that we can think about!
2. Increased blood pressure
Studies show that the sudden morning alarm can wake us up with high increased blood pressure and the shock can trigger the "fight-or-flight" reaction of our body causing increased heart rate.
This can be very harmful to the body and mind. If the snooze is pressed again and again, the same process happens multiple times. Continuing this every day can be torture you do to your own body and for the long run, it might be unsafe to do so.
3. Non-restorative sleep
Our 8 hours sleep consists of a sleep cycle which repeats itself for 4-5 times. In the morning or towards the end of your sleep, you will be in the REM stage of the sleep cycle, and during this stage, the restorative sleep and dreams occur. When you wake up, snooze alarm clock and again drift back to sleep, chances are that you start dreaming again. But, when the snoozed time is done, again you wake up in the middle of the REM sleep causing non-restorative sleep and feeling unrefreshed. This can make you feel more tired and irritated.
4. Feeling groggy and disoriented
The sudden awakening during REM sleep can result in a state called sleep inertia. When you wake up during REM, you still have high levels of melatonin, which is the sleep hormone, in your body. Increased level of melatonin even after waking up causes the need for more sleep; this makes you feel groggy, heavy-headed and lethargic. Sleep inertia can last for hours and has an impact on your mental health, there are chances that this can disturb your memory and attention at work. It can also cause danger by increasing work-stress, drowsy driving, impairment in decision making, increased caffeine intake etc.
5. Sleep-wake cycle gets distorted
Every person has a sleep-wake, cycle which tells us when to sleep and when to wake up and it is controlled by the circadian rhythm. This doesn't mean everyone has the exact same cycle. Based on the sleep-wake cycle, people mostly fall into 2 groups, morning larks or night owls. Some people function better in the morning and some during the night. But whichever group you fall in, an adult requires 7-8 hours of sleep every day. Continuous disrupt to sleep by the alarm snoozing can cause sleep deprivation and other ill-effects. Apart from this, each time when the body falls into REM sleep and the alarm shakes the person up, it will lead to distortion of the sleep-wake cycle.
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What can you do about this?
1. Prioritise your sleep
Make your sleep a priority. If you think "I will sleep when I die", then probably that might be the worst decision you can take! A night of good sleep comes with amazing benefits and making it regular and important can be beneficial and productive. Tips for better sleep!
2. Regular sleep-wake cycle
According to your work and other things, set sleep time and plan accordingly when to wake up. Waking up with a calm mind will help you to have a better day and more time to organise yourself. When you have your sleep-wake cycle set, you never have to hit the snooze button. See what are the other benefits of having better sleep here.
3. Sleep near to the window or adjust the curtains
If waking up in the morning is the toughest part, then face your bed towards the window and leave the curtains open so that sunlight hits directly on the bed in the morning. Exposure to sunlight can reduce melatonin level and helps you to wake up faster.
4. Place the alarm clock far from the bed
Placing the alarm clock near your bed or under the pillow makes it difficult not to fall back to sleep after switching off the alarm. If the alarm is placed far from the bed, it will reduce the chances to snooze the alarm. The walk to the alarm itself can wake you up!
5. Adjust the alarm accordingly
This is the best tip you can use to avoid hitting that snooze button. SET THE ALARM WHEN YOU WANT TO WAKE-UP. Do not set the alarm clock to hit snooze 3 times, instead set it 15 minutes later than the alarm set. That will give you 15 minutes of uninterrupted sleep rather than bits of sleep pieces.
Also, your body doesn't have to go through the shock and increased blood pressure each time you snooze the morning alarm. Try to have a morning routine.
Next time when you want to snooze alarm clock in the morning, you can think about the lousy day you might have. That might keep you from doing it. Having a healthy sleep-wake pattern can give to a beautiful start to your day. How you mark the start determines the end. For a productive day, have a morning routine. It can be simple or elaborate, but it can energise you for the day. Read the benefits of having a morning routine and here are some tips for a positive morning routine.
Until next time...