The Science Behind Not Hitting Snooze

Like many people, I have changed over the years. There was a time when I would set the alarm, hit the snooze button several times and still not be awake when the time came to get up. Having a couple of alarms set, or at least more than one, was not out of the question. That no longer seems an issue.

For the past couple of years, I haven’t bothered with an alarm. I just wake up when I’m supposed to.

So I started looking into why this might be so. I started with the idea that we tend to wake up just before the alarm goes off anyway. That’s apparently connected to hormone levels that start to kick in about that time because they know the time is about to happen. There’s just something inside that figures it’s time for you to get up. As for just waking up around the same time each day, that seems to come with regular sleep patterns. Your body just gets into a habit.

So it becomes a function of circadian rhythms and hormones that are produced when you sleep. Your body gets used to a pattern and things start to tell you when it’s time to sleep, and when it’s time to get up.

But, if you interrupt the patterns, you mess with the hormones and rhythms and get things out of whack. At least, that seems to be the theory. The body has a natural routine for waking up, doing certain things at certain times to help us feel alert when we wake up. If you hit the snooze button, you start to confuse your body and often you end up waking and feeling more groggy than if you hadn’t bothered with the snooze button at all.

There was a time when I loved the snooze button. I really liked giving it a whack and catching a few more minutes of sleep. Or maybe two whacks. Or possibly more.

But the theory seems to be I wasn’t doing myself any favors by hitting the snooze button. It’s better to wake up on your own if you can. It’s what I try to do these days. Although truth be told, the alarm is still there as a backup. I just tend not to use it very often.

I’m not really sure why. Maybe it’s because I have let my natural rhythms take over. Or maybe it’s because I refuse to let myself stay up late to catch the end of the hockey game, knowing I’ll pay for it the next day. Or a combination of both.

In any case, avoiding the snooze button is apparently good for you. At least according to science.

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