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Sleep Behavior Brain and Mental Performance Cognitive

The ZZZ’s Have It: Maybe You Won’t Lose If You Snooze

8 months ago

6606  0
Posted on Oct 19, 2023, 8 p.m.

Some people claim that hitting the snooze button can have negative effects on your sleep and cognitive processes. But other than possibly being late, there has been no direct evidence to support this effect. This study from the Department of Psychology at Stockholm University published in the Journal of Sleep Research shows that hitting the snooze button may help to support the waking process for regular snoozers.

Most people want to stay in bed and some even go back to sleep after hitting the snooze button after the alarm sounds. The snooze button has been an option for decades, and so has been the debate on the claims of negative effects on sleep and the brain’s ability to wake up. Researchers from Stockholm University designed two studies to investigate how common snoozing was, and what the possible effects it could be on sleep, mood, cognitive abilities, and sleepiness.

The first study involved 1732 participants who provided information about their sleep habits, and morning habits including how often they hit snooze. Analysis revealed that many people snooze regularly, and the behavior is especially common among young adults and night owls. The most common reason for using the snooze button was feeling too tired to get out of bed when the alarm sounded. The researchers reported that those who snooze on average sleep slightly shorter and feel more drowsy in the morning compared to non-snoozers. However, they found no negative effects of hitting the snooze button on cortisol release, morning tiredness, mood, or sleep quality during the night, says lead author Tina Sundelin, a researcher at Stockholm University.

The second study involved 32 regular snoozers who spent two nights sleeping in a lab setting to measure sleep in more detail. During this study, on one morning the participants had to get up right away when the alarm sounded, and they were allowed to snooze for 30 minutes after the alarm sounded on the other day. According to the researchers, despite being disturbed by the alarm, most of the snoozers fit in more than 20 minutes of sleep after hitting snooze, meaning that their total sleep was barely affected. Additionally, in the snooze condition, they did not have to wake up from deep sleep, and the snoozers performed a bit better on cognitive testing conducted right upon waking up. However, there were no clear effects of snoozing on sleepiness, moods, or the amount of cortisol in their saliva. 

The researchers wrote that their study shows that snoozing for a half hour after the alarm doesn’t have negative effects on night sleep or sleep inertia, the feeling of not being alert in the morning. They note that they saw some positive outcomes from snoozing, such as a decreased likelihood of waking from deep sleep, and when allowed to snooze participants were also a bit more quick-thinking when they got up. However, Sundelin points out that their study only included regular snoozers who were already accustomed to going back to sleep quickly after each alarm, and that snoozing most likely is not for everyone. 

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.

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