There are two types of people in this world: A) the people who set an alarm and gleefully hop out of bed at the first sound of its jingle, and B) the people who groan heavily as the alarm sounds, clamping the pillow down over their head.
If you are the latter – a so-called ‘snoozer’ – then listen up: snoozing your alarm may be doing damaging things to your health. Time to become a ‘type A’ person, I’m afraid.
Sleep wellness brand eve Sleep is lobbying for the snooze button to be removed in Apple’s next operating system update, because its experts insist the tool is a health hazard. While snoozing your alarm is a necessary halfway-house for those of us who aren’t natural ‘morning people’, neuroscience expert Matt Janes explains exactly why frequent snoozing could be detrimental to your health.
“When your alarm sounds in the morning, you are torn out of restful sleep. This shock quickly engages your sympathetic nervous system, the fight or flight branch of your autonomic nervous system,” explains Janes.
But if you hit snooze and retreat back into your slumber, as soon as the alarm sounds just a few minutes later, the fight or flight response is engaged again. Effectively, hitting snooze is “multiplying the assault on your brain and body,” because “this system is designed to be engaged only for limited periods,” says the expert.
Continually snoozing – and therefore re-engaging the sympathetic nervous system multiple times – is “compounding the negative physiological effects on your body, including the release of cortisol which, when prolonged, can create inflammation on a cellular basis,” according to Janes. “This can lead to chronic disease, including depression.”
As eve points out in its letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook on the issue, hitting snooze “leaves millions of Brits fuzzy, frazzled, and late for work.”
So if you want to attempt arriving at work feeling refreshed one day, why not try training yourself to ban the snooze button. You could start by setting your alarm 10 minutes later, extending sleep but increasing the urgency to get up, which sounds like something I’m sure we could all get on board with.