You Snooze…You Lose…How to Get Better Sleep and Have More Energy During the Day

During sleep, your body goes through a number of sleep cycles ranging from 90-110 minutes. As the time approaches for you to wake up, Your body has several mechanisms to prepare you to wake up and get moving. One of these is turning up your core temperature, which makes you feel more alert and less sleepy. This starts about two hours before the body feels ready to wake up, says Rafael Pelayo, MD, a sleep specialist at the Stanford University Sleep Medicine Center.

If you’re not getting enough sleep, your alarm clock is going off while your temp is still in the deep-sleep range thus making it harder to wake up.

Just one week of poor sleep can lead to heightened stress, weight gain, lowered immunity and increased inflammation.

Pelayo recommends setting your alarm for the time you have to get up and then actually get up when it goes off!

Every day.

At the same time.

Eventually, this consistency may help you feel naturally sleepy at the end of your day, so you’ll feel compelled to go to bed when your body needs to, and then wake up without the need for an alarm.

AND relying on your snooze button may be doing you more harm than good, experts say.

• Hitting the snooze button may make you less alert and productive
• It’s a phenomenon known as “sleep inertia”

If you hit snooze, you may lose (productivity, that is)

When you doze off after your alarm wakes you in the morning, you’re actually setting yourself up to feel less alert and productive later in the day.

“When you hit the snooze button repeatedly, you’re doing two negative things to yourself,” says Robert S. Rosenberg, medical director of the Sleep Disorders Centers of Prescott Valley and Flagstaff, Arizona.

“First, you’re fragmenting what little extra sleep you’re getting so it is of poor quality.

Second, you’re starting to put yourself through a new sleep cycle that you aren’t giving yourself enough time to finish. This can result in persistent grogginess throughout the day.”

Scientists have identified the culprit behind this stupor that’s brought on by a too-brief slumber: sleep inertia.

The National Sleep Foundation defines this state as “the feeling of grogginess and disorientation that can come from awakening from a deep sleep.”

It slows down your decision-making abilities, impairs your memory and hurts your general performance once you do get out of bed. Even worse, coffee and a cold shower can’t combat it: It can take up to an hour and a half to shake off sleep-inertia grogginess.

According to Rosenberg, that’s because the snooze button messes with your brain hormones. “You’re throwing off your circadian cycle,” he says. Disrupting the circadian cycle can impair your ability to feel awake during the day and sleepy at night.

So, is banishing the snooze button enough to make you feel your best during the day?

Nope, says Rosenberg.

The urge to sleep a bit longer is really a symptom of a larger problem.

“Most people are doing this because they’re not getting enough sleep on a daily basis,” he says. This chronic sleep deprivation (which is defined as six or fewer hours of sleep a night) is called “social jetlag.”

Over time, some sufferers have been shown to have a higher body-mass indexand an elevated risk of diabetes.

If hitting the snooze button isn’t the key to better sleep, what is?

Rosenberg has a few suggestions to help you stay alert and refreshed:

Turn in earlier, consistently.

Rosenberg suggests going to bed a half-hour earlier than you have been. Over time, he says, this will reduce your overall sleep deprivation. And if it doesn’t? Turn in an hour earlier.

Banish “screens” from the boudoir.

Devices like smartphones, digital tablets and laptops emit blue light that hurts your sleep. “The exposure to blue-light-emitting devices results in a delay in melatonin production,” says Rosenberg.

So give yourself a tech curfew: Turn off those electronics 90 minutes before lights out to help promote sounder sleep.

Make mornings a scavenger hunt.

If you’re still having trouble getting up, hide the alarm from your groggy early-morning self. “Put that alarm clock where you can’t reach it,” Rosenberg advises.

That search to put an end to the annoying beeping sound is sure to foil your desire to sneak in more Z’s.

It may seem silly, but it’s doctor-approved.

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