Are you a snoozer? If so, how many times do you hit the snooze button in the morning? 

I spoke with MindBodyGreen about snoozing in their new article. Emma Loewe, the author, did a great job of covering the pros and cons of snoozing. 

Check it out here

Snooze

Here’s the rundown on snoozing:

A new study published in the Journal of Sleep Research (1) showed that snoozing is a pretty common behavior. A survey of nearly 20,000 activity-tracking smart watch users found that 50% of respondents hit the snooze button at least once every morning. 

In one part of the above study, they surveyed 1482 participants. 

It was found that snoozers were: 

‣ on average 6 years younger than non-snoozers 

‣ 4x more likely to be evening types 

‣ 3x more likely to feel mentally drowsy upon waking 

❓So what’s the impact on sleep quality? 

The answer is: it depends.

If the alarm goes off during a period of slow wave sleep (SWS, also known as N3 deep sleep) or rapid eye movement sleep (REM), snoozing can allow a transition into lighter stages of sleep (stages N1 or N2). 

That makes it easier to wake up and reduces the effects of sleep inertia, which is characterized by sleepiness and impaired performance. 

Snoozing for 30 minutes in the morning may even improve cognitive functioning immediately upon waking, particularly for habitual snoozers. 

However, snooze periods longer than 30 minutes may have different effects, and the impact of snoozing on sleep architecture and daytime sleepiness could accumulate over time. 

For people with disturbed sleep or who aren’t getting enough sleep, a 30-min snooze period may be more harmful than for someone who is getting enough sleep on a regular basis.

More research is needed to fully understand the effects of snoozing and its long-term consequences.

❓What about the effects of snoozing on mood?

In the second part of the above study, 31 participants underwent polysomnography (PSG) for 3 nights. 

Regular snoozers in the PSG portion of the study showed improved optimism, sociability, less fatigue, and less anger and aggression upon awakening and up to 40 minutes after waking up. 

However, there was no effect on mood or cognition in the afternoon. 

The bottom line:

1️⃣ Snoozing for 30 minutes can help you gradually transition from deeper to lighter stages of sleep 

2️⃣Snoozing may help to reduce sleep inertia and improve cognitive functioning and mood when you wake up 

3️⃣ Snoozing is not a substitute for getting sufficient sleep and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule

What’s your take on snoozing? I’d love to hear your thoughts. 

Dr. Nishi

Nishi Bhopal MD, Founder, Pacific Integrative Psychiatry