You Snooze, You Lose
Good Morning SweatCommunity,
Quick, what's the most horrible, awful sound in the world?
Answer: The sound of your alarm clock!
Man, I hate the first loud sound of the day. Sometimes it's the annoying beeping alarm, sometimes it's the radio's most overplayed song of the month, sometimes it's my roommate singing Taylor Swift too loud in the shower. Regardless of whatever it is that wakes me up, I am always relieved for one thing: the snooze button (or the end of the T. Swift song).
The snooze button, aka the "shut up and let me go back to sleep for 10 minutes" button. In fact, did you know that 58% of Americans regularly hit the snooze button at least twice in the morning? Up until last month, Coach Chris was part of that population. Until I realized just how bad the snooze button is for you...
The first and most obvious harm in hitting the snooze is that it gets you started later in your day. You're rushing out the door and your breakfast time takes a drastic hit. Rather than getting a good healthy breakfast to energize you throughout the day, you eat something unhealthy or even nothing at all. Coffee is not a substitute for breakfast!
But here's where the snooze button really gets you. When you go to sleep, your body goes through different phases in the sleep cycle. In the middle of the night, your body goes into a deep sleep, which allows for your body to repair itself and replenish your muscles. About an hour or 2 before your body wakes up, it goes into REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep. This is the stage where your brain is processing and consolidating the past day's memories, which is very important in your brain's learning process. When you set your alarm 20-30 minutes earlier than you actually get out of bed, you're interrupting your much needed REM
sleep. Research shows that cutting into your REM sleep can blunt your mental function for the day.
You may think that getting an extra 10, 20 30 minutes of snooze sleep will get you the extra ZZZ's you need to start the day, but research shows the snooze sleep is much less valuable than regular sleep. One step further, research shows that fragmented sleep leads to "daytime grogginess" and decreases concentration, energy, and memory.
The reason for this grogginess is scientific. When our body goes to sleep, it releases the feel- good chemical "serotonin" into the bloodstream, which soothes the body and makes you feel blissful when you drift off to sleep. No wonder why it feels so good to hit the snooze. However, as your body prepares to wake up, it releases "dopamine" to suppress feelings of sleepiness and help you wake. So when we hit the snooze, our bodies become cocktail-shakers for this mix of serotonin and dopamine as we sleep and wake up back and forth , which causes our neurotransmitters to get all rattled and pull our body in different directions. The result? Your body feels all disoriented, making it hard to get up, and even harder to get mentally sharp and focused for the day.
Alright Team Sweat, so what can we do to fix our snoozing?
-Set your alarm clock for the time that you need to get up and out of bed. -If you're still waking up tired, your body is telling you to get more sleep. Go to bed earlier! -Put your alarm clock across the room so you have to get up to turn it off. -Take a nap during the day. 20-30 minutes is the perfect length. 10-15 is too short to be productive, while anything longer than 30 can put you at risk for hitting a deep sleep and messing up your sleep cycle. -Worst case scenario: use your iPhone or Android to set a longer snooze period. If you really need to use the snooze, make it a 20 or 30 minute snooze to help minimize the damage a bit.
So stop hitting the snooze and enjoy your roommate's beautiful singing voice!