Who has never been tempted to postpone waking up? The “snooze” function, or snooze alarm, has for decades made it possible to go back to sleep without running the risk of being late. However, it has been singled out for its potential harmful effects on health. A criticism refuted by Swedish researchers, who reveal that this morning habit influences neither mood nor sleep, and that it even helps boost cognitive abilities upon waking up.
We are not equal when it comes to sleeping, and even less so when it comes to waking up. There are early risers, and those who can’t move a toe to the point of taking the risk of arriving late for school or work. However, electronic alarm clocks and mobile phones have long made it possible to delay this dreaded hour without risking falling back into deep sleep, via the “snooze” function – alarm repetition in French. A simple touch that has changed the daily life (mornings) of millions of people, but which would not be without consequences on health, if only because it would plunge each individual back into a phase of deep sleep, sending a bad signal to the brain. In any case, this is what several studies carried out on the subject have suggested.
No “clear effects”
Observations now undermined by new research led by researchers from the psychology department at Stockholm University. The latter specifically looked at the impact of this function on sleep, drowsiness, mood, stress, and cognitive abilities. To do this, they conducted two studies. The first was based on the responses of 1,732 people regarding their morning habits, and in particular the frequency with which they used the “snooze” function to grab a few minutes of sleep.
Around thirty individuals with a habit of “snoozing” participated in the second study carried out over two nights in a sleep laboratory. Who were allowed to use the snooze alarm one morning for 30 minutes, and had to get up straight away the next morning. Published in the Journal of Sleep Research, this work reveals that the “snooze” function is far from being as harmful to health as one might believe. It could even allow its followers to be more alert when they wake up.
Among the lessons of the study, there is the typical portrait – or almost – of “snoozers”, namely young adults most often or night owls. We also learn that they use this feature most frequently because they feel too tired to get out of bed by the time the alarm sounds. But the results above all suggest that although the participants’ sleep was slightly disturbed by the repetition of the alarm, the majority of them nevertheless “slept well”. The function did not affect, or very little, the total duration of their night’s sleep. Final observation and not the least, the researchers did not observe “clear effects” regarding the impact of “snooze” on mood, drowsiness, or the quantity of cortisol – the stress hormone – in saliva.
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More alert when you wake up
“The results show that people who snooze sleep on average a little less and feel more sleepy in the morning than those who never snooze. But there are no negative effects on cortisol release, morning fatigue, mood, or nighttime sleep quality“, says Tina Sundelin, main author of the study, in a press release. And this research also suggests that pressing the “snooze” button would boost certain cognitive abilities, at least when waking up.
“Our study shows that staying an extra half hour in bed has no negative effects on nighttime sleep or sleep inertia, which is the feeling of not being fully alert in the morning. . On the contrary, we saw positive effects, such as a decreased likelihood of waking up from deep sleep. When participants were allowed to ‘snooze’, they were also slightly more alert when they stood up“, add the researchers.