Why Science Says You Shouldn’t Snooze and Three Ways to Optimize Your Waking Routine.

You’ve heard it: “If You Snooze, You Lose”… but have you thought about how many times you’ve done this to yourself? You subconsciously know that dreaded time is coming – your alarm clock is going to say: “Hey You – Get Up Already!” You’re jarred awake – maybe from a good dream. Or maybe from a bad dream, sometimes no dream at all but fully out of it. You have two choices in that moment: snooze and lose, or just get up.

The Science behind the Snooze Button

Sleep Inertia

So let’s first get into the science as to why you should avoid the snooze button. The average length of a “snooze” is set to about 9 minutes. This is just enough time for your body to release certain hormones and trick your body into thinking another round of deep sleep is coming again. But, instead your alarm goes off before you are able to complete a full sleep cycle.

This can lead to a phenomenon known as “sleep inertia.”

According to the Journal of Sleep Medicine Reviews, “‘Sleep inertia’ refers to the transitional state between sleep and wake, marked by impaired performance, reduced vigilance, and a desire to return to sleep. The intensity and duration of sleep inertia vary based on situational factors. However, its effects may last minutes to several hours. Sleep inertia is a normal phenomenon, but one with potentially dangerous ramifications, e.g., in health care workers or military personnel who are woken abruptly in the night and required to make cognitively-taxing decisions.”

So, sleep inertia is a normal process as you move from sleep to wake but the snooze button can actually cause you to feel the effects of it for up to two to four hours into your day according to research conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. That’s up to a quarter of your waking hours in a drunken sleep state!

To avoid this plaguing state follow these three tips and tricks for a better waking routine:

Three Tips for A Better Waking Routine

1. Go To Bed Earlier.

How many times have you drifted off to sleep watching Netflix? You reach the end of your day exhausted and just want a couple moments, okay hours, to “relax” and not think. But if you were to sit and reflect back on your life with what matters – is Netflix and mind numbing tv going to be on there? I doubt it.

Instead consider journaling about your day – the ups and downs of it. Share this with your spouse or other loved one. Plan for the next day and set your intentions. This proactive approach to life will serve you and those around you very well.

2. Let The Sunshine In:

Black out curtains may help to create a dark environment in which to fall asleep but the downfall is that they don’t let the sunshine in come morning. Consider ditching the blackout curtains, if possible, and let the natural sunlight help wake you in the morning.

If you work night shift, in an area where you just have to keep those curtains at night, or it’s winter and the sunrise doesn’t match your waking time try out a sunrise alarm clock. Look for a full spectrum light and one in which you can set it for a gradual increase in brightness. Here is a great (and affordable) example: Philips Wake-Up Light Therapy Alarm Clock with Sunrise Simulation, White

3. Set Your Alarm Across The Room:

My favorite tip of all: put your phone across the room or, even better, in another room. Not only does this force you out of bed in the morning and decrease your snoozing chances it also keeps you off the blue light at night as you scroll through Facebook or Instagram.

And, try to set your alarm and wake up at the same time each and every day… even on your days off. This will help to balance your circadian rhythm and make getting up earlier easier and easier over time.

If you have trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep, or waking in the middle of the night with night sweats or racing thoughts this would be a time to reach out to a medical professional. A functional medicine provider can help address the root causes which might include adrenal dysfunction, hormone imbalance, or sleep apnea.

So, be the “early bird that gets the worm” and develop a healthy waking routine. You will be able to utilize your morning to journal your gratitude, work on projects you can’t seem to get to, and realize your full potential!

Have any questions? Please feel free to contact us!


Rachel Bradley