Mind & Body

Whatever You Do, Don't Hit the Snooze Button

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When the alarm goes off after a late bedtime and a restless night, most of us are tempted to hit the snooze button. Resist the urge — it'll only make things worse.

The Drockling Blues

Mary A. Carskadon, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University, explains to the Huffington Post that hitting the snooze button causes what's known as drockling: the phenomenon of drifting in and out of sleep in the early morning. Drockling feels great, and there's a reason. Your body temperature naturally warms up a couple of hours before your body is ready to wake up. If your alarm clock wakes you up before you're ready, your body temperature is at its lowest, and braving your cold bedroom can feel like the most terrible punishment. In that scenario, your cozy covers feel like the greatest thing ever. As your head sinks back into your pillow, however, know that you're making your morning that much harder.

Stay On Schedule

If you wake up at different times each morning, you're throwing off your internal alarm, making it harder for your body to know when to start getting sleepy. You're also giving yourself "sleep inertia," the feeling of grogginess immediately following an abrupt awakening. That feeling happens when you wake up in a particularly deep sleep cycle. The problem is that when you drift back off after hitting snooze, your body may enter a deeper sleep stage than it was in before, making the groggy feeling even worse. So even if it might feel like you're getting more rest when you lay around for that extra half hour, you're actually making yourself more tired (and probably late for work).

So what should you do instead? You may not want to hear this, but research shows that you should set your alarm for the actual time you'd like to wake up. Then get up. Every day. At the same time. Eventually, you'll retrain your body clock to get sleepy at the right time and feel awake when it's time to start your morning. Don't worry, coffee is always an option.

Want another tip for a better night's sleep? Consider banishing your smartphone from the bedroom.

For more ways to get a good night's rest, check out "The Sleep Solution: Why Your Sleep is Broken and How to Fix It" by W. Chris Winter M.D. The soothing audiobook is free with a 30-day trial of Audible. We handpick reading recommendations we think you may like. If you choose to make a purchase through that link, Curiosity will get a share of the sale.

What Happens When You Press Snooze

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. The body begins preparing to be awake in the hour before you naturally wake up. 00:30

  2. When your alarm wakes you, it often cuts into your body's natural process of waking that releases certain chemicals that make you feel awake. 00:40

  3. Being tired is not only a product of lack of sleep, it can be caused by an inconsistent sleep schedule. 01:43

Written by Anna Todd November 10, 2016