This article originally appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle on April 2, 2014.
If you snooze, you really do lose. At least when it comes to taking advantage of the snooze button on your alarm clock.
As a Stanford sleep expert explains, many people think hitting snooze a few times will ease them into waking up. In reality, it will leave them feeling less refreshed than if they’d gotten up with the first alarm.
Dr. Rafael Pelayo, clinical professor at the Stanford Sleep Medicine Center, advises his patients not to use the snooze button. Interrupted sleep is not as refreshing as continued sleep, he says, and each smack of the button only gets you an extra one to 10 minutes of light sleep – not the deeper, restorative sleep you get when you rest for longer periods of time.
Research supports this idea. A 2002 study in the journal Sleep showed that interrupted sleep correlates with daytime sleepiness. More interruptions at night make you feel more tired throughout the day, and as Pelayo points out, each time you snooze you’re choosing to interrupt your sleep.
Another problem: Hitting the snooze button conditions your body not to get out of bed when you hear the first alarm, defeating the device’s purpose. Pelayo noted that teenagers are especially guilty of this because they know a parent will drag them out of bed before it’s too late.
Pelayo compares the morning wake-up process to driving a car. “If getting up is your destination, snooze is like hitting a pothole. It makes the ride a lot more bumpy.”