UTAH TECH UNIVERSITY'S STUDENT NEWS SOURCE | October 02, 2022

Snooze button does more harm than good

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While we all may love those 10 extra minutes, hitting the snooze button actually sabotages what could be a full night of restful sleep.

Students and professors shared their thoughts on whether alarm clocks and their snooze buttons are friends or foes, and popular conjecture condemned snooze button temptations.

According to an article from Health Magazine, “Skip the Snooze Button for Better Sleep,” by Sophia Breene, relying on the snooze button actually makes people more tired. Setting the alarm earlier than one actually intends to get up really just prevents a completion of the sleep cycle.

During the sleep cycle, the body fades in and out of deep (REM) and light sleep. Close to an hour before waking, the body enters into lighter sleep in preparation for the waking moment. If the screech of the alarm jolts people awake before the wake-up process is complete, they awake groggier than they would if they could have used those extra 10 snooze minutes for uninterrupted sleep.

Simply slapping the snooze button offers a short chance for shuteye, but it’s never long enough to enter back into REM sleep, the time when the body actually has the chance to rejuvenate. In reality, after disrupting the sleep cycle, those extra 10 minutes offer no additional rest for the brain or body.

Communication department chair Brent Yergensen said: “It’s nothing more than procrastination. You’ll fall back asleep, but it’s not the kind of REM sleep you really need.”

Yergensen recommends pressing snooze no more than once, if at all, to get the most out of the night’s sleep.

Yet, the snooze button is still somehow inviting. Yergensen explained why people continue to press it, even repeatedly, when it never benefits the quality of sleep.

“The snooze button is available as a crutch when we are most vulnerable, both physically and mentally,” Yergensen said. “For most of us, nothing is more excruciating than the thought of getting up, particularly if you haven’t had enough sleep.”

Yergensen said people press snooze because they love to think 10 more minutes will adjust their state of mind and exhaustion. Mentally, it may, but physically, it doesn’t.

Julia Bell, a sophomore communication major from Santa Clara, said while she likes to hit snooze to give herself time to wake up, pressing it more than twice usually has negative results.

“It makes me super late for everything, so then I just feel like I’m rushed and I have to speed to class,” Bell said.

Ryan Lucero, a senior communication major from Riverton, also agrees overusing the snooze button can become a bad habit, although he says two to three times seems to be a nice number of snooze hits.

“One is too little; four is too many,” Lucero said. “Anything in excess is bad in a sense.”

Emma Moreno, a senior integrated studies major from Chihuahua, Mexico, said she likes to hit snooze one to two times every morning.

“I don’t know if it’s all mental, but I do think it helps,” Moreno said.

If she doesn’t get to press it, however, Moreno said she’s usually just fine.

“Ten minutes more, 10 minutes less, it really doesn’t make a big difference to me,” Moreno said.

Logan Abbott, a sophomore biology major from Mesquite, Nev., said he thinks it depends on the person whether or not snooze buttons are good or bad.

“Some people take advantage of it and just keep hitting it and it makes them late,” Abbott said. “The snooze button is not meant for you to press it over and over and over again.”

Abbott said those people that repeatedly hit snooze must plan on pressing snooze as part of their morning routine.

“If they plan on using the snooze button, they could have just set their alarm for whatever time they really wanted to wake up in the first place and got that extra sleep,” Abbott said.  

McKenzie Vawdrey, a junior communication major from Salt Lake City, said she never presses snooze since five or 10 extra minutes of sleep seem somewhat pointless to her.

Vawdrey’s roommate, on the other hand, presses snooze for almost an hour before finally getting up. Vawdrey said she has no idea why, other than perhaps her roommate could have somehow developed a habit of keeping the alarm set so early.

Yergensen said the best thing to do in order to acquire a good night’s sleep and prevent repeated use of the snooze button is to regulate your rising and resting hours.

“People who have the hardest time with sleep are the people with really bad schedules,” Yergensen said. “Consistency is a very big deal.”