The Problem With “Snoozing” In The Morning: Sleep-Wake Cycle Disorders
The way you start your day sets the tone for the rest of the day. It influences your mind, your mood, and your productivity. If you start the day off on the wrong foot, you’ll probably see things go from bad to worse. To keep this from happening, you need to wake up feeling rested, which is something that we don’t get by snoozing the alarm for 5 minutes, going back to sleep, and repeating… It’s been shown that this vicious circle (which most people get sucked into), instead of letting you sleep more, actually causes you to wake up feeling less rested. Below, we’ll talk about sleep-wake cycle disorders and how to avoid them.
Learn how to respect sleep cycles
For starters, you should know that there is no ideal number of hours to sleep that is the same for everyone. We do, however, have a little metronome inside our brain, which is called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which is in charge of regulating the hours that we sleep and our sleep cycles.
The cells from this nucleus love patterns. In an ideal world we would go to sleep when we were tired and wake up when we felt like we’ve slept enough. In reality, these cells keep their own rhythm, which is why if we get used to going to sleep at a certain time, we’ll probably have a hard time going to sleep earlier. This is why it’s important to try to keep a schedule throughout the day. We’ll help regulate these pattern-loving cells, and we’ll have a better chance of waking up feeling refreshed in the morning. Most people take advantage of the weekend and stay out a little later and wake up later. This feels good at the time, but our cells notice the change and the pattern gets broken, which is why it’s so difficult to wake up on Monday mornings.
Now that we understand that, we’ll get to the main part of the article: sleep problems caused by snoozing the alarm for a few minutes and going back to sleep. This, we can all agree, is very tempting, but it can make you feel like a zombie for the rest of the day. There’s a simple explanation for this: once our alarm goes off the first time, our body gets ready to wake up. But, if we snooze the alarm for 5 minutes, our body takes it as a sign to go back to sleep and gets ready to fall back into a deep sleep. Entering and coming out of this state continuously interrupts our sleep cycle, which makes us feel more tired than we should.
The best thing to do is get out of bed right as the alarm goes off and avoid getting back in bed once you do. If you do this and start going to sleep and waking up at the same time for a few days, you’ll see that it gets easier and easier to get out of bed in the morning.
If you have a harder time getting into these habits and finding your sleep cycle, there are some apps like Sleep Better that help you wake up at the best time, when you’ve already finished your cycle. The app monitors the movements of the mattress and notices when you enter a state of light sleep. These types of applications aren’t perfect for medical use, but they can be a little extra help.
If you learn to respect sleep cycles, you’ll wake up feeling refreshed and you’ll be able to start your day energized. Remember that it’s also important to eat a balanced breakfast in the morning, and if you can get some exercise in before going to work or school, your body will really thank you. You’ll activate your metabolism and keep that ideal reparative sleep in motion.
This post is also available in: Spanish