Time to hit the snooze button again. So, good news for everyone, it seems that the snooze button on your alarm clock is actually good for you, contrary to what we previously thought. The trick? Press it only once! Years of research have told us that pressing the snooze can have negative effects, both on the brain’s ability to wake up and on sleep quality.
But apparently, scientists say there is no direct effect on that. According to a report in the Independent, a new study published in the Journal of Sleep Research evaluated the frequency of snooze pressing and how it affects sleep, sleepiness, mood, and cognitive abilities of the brain. Although the study found that those who frequently press the snooze sleep slightly less and feel sleepier in the morning than those who never press the snooze, interestingly no negative effects related to the release of the stress hormone cortisol, mood, or sleep quality during the night were found.
The study conducted on 1732 individuals answered questions about their morning routines, with questions regarding how often they pressed snooze on the alarm clock. It will come as little surprise that young adults press the snooze more often, reporting that they use the alarm clock function “regularly.” But why do they do it? Well, according to the participants, they are too tired and sleepy to get out of bed when the alarm goes off.
A situation many can certainly relate to. In a later, smaller experiment, 31 people accustomed to hitting the snooze spent a couple of nights in the lab to measure their sleep in more detail. On one morning, participants were allowed to indulge in 30 minutes of snooze, while on the other they had to get up when the alarm clock rang.
They found that the sleep of the regular snooze participants was disturbed during the half-hour snooze. However, most of them still slept more than 20 minutes, which meant that their total night sleep was not significantly affected. These extra 20 minutes turned out to be really helpful.
Not having to wake up abruptly was linked to better performance on cognitive tests as soon as they woke up. There were no impacts on mood, sleepiness, or the amount of cortisol in saliva, so it seems that generally pressing snooze doesn’t hurt that much. In fact, the study suggests that half an hour of snooze might have positive effects, such as a lower likelihood of waking up from deep sleep. That said, the researchers cautioned that the second experiment was conducted on a small sample group and included only those who regularly press the snooze and who find it easy to go back to sleep after being awakened by the alarm clock. The snooze is not for everyone. Jennifer Kanaan of the University of Connecticut in the United States, (who has no connection to the study), told the Independent that we should interpret these results with caution, as they could send the wrong message.
In her statement, she says, “If you’re going in and out of sleep for 30 minutes after the alarm went off for the first time, you’re missing out on 30 minutes of uninterrupted, quality, restorative sleep.”