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The snooze button, one of man's best inventions...until nine minutes later when
the dreaded alarm strikes again. Except now you feel even more tired, so do you
hit it again? Are those extra minutes really helping at all? Or is it the
beginning of a never-ending cycle that ends in you being late and still dead tired.
In an unimaginable world without alarm clocks our bodies would simply wake up
naturally, seems crazy right? But our bodies have many chemical mechanisms in
place to not only put us to sleep, but wake us up as well. The body begins
preparing in the hour before you naturally wake-up, body temperature rises
sleep becomes lighter and hormones such as dopamine and cortisol are released
which give you energy to start your day. But the problem with alarms is that they
often interrupt your sleep cycle and cut these processes short. Particularly if you
don't have a regular sleep rhythm or schedule, the alarm goes off, but your body
isn't quite ready. This groggy and tired state is known as "sleep intertia"
and its strength is related to which sleep stage you are waking up out of.
The deeper the sleep the more potent the sleep inertia and so the snoozing
begins. But the snooze button can do more damage than good, as you fall back asleep
the body be restart its sleep cycle and enter into deeper sleep stages. So
instead of your body prepping to wake up, it's going in the opposite direction and
as a result the second alarm may cause you to feel even more tired
and so continues the viscious cycle.
Ultimately. you would be better off setting your original alarm later and not
interrupting your sleep. Many studies have found that fragmented sleep is much
and leads to sleepiness related daytime impairment. So by breaking up those last
thirty minutes or so of sleep, you are more likely to feel tired and perform
poorly during the day. What else can you do? Try adopting a more regular sleep
schedule, being tired is not only a product of sleep deprivation or waking
up out of a deep sleep, but also lacking a consistent schedule. The body loves
predictability, wake up at the same time every morning, including the weekends, and
after a few weeks your body should adapt to the timing and be less inclined to
require an alarm in the first place. And if you do wake up feeling a little
tired, try to resist the snooze temptation and just get up,
because as the saying goes "you snooze you lose".
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