Can The Snooze Button Mess Up Your Mind?

snooze-button-w710-h473Who hasn’t needed a little extra sleep?  That’s why snooze buttons were invented.  But what really happens if you push it?

A recent post on the “Science of Us” website addresses this question.  It cites a Wall Street Journal column by behavioral scientist Dan Ariely that reports using the snooze button (especially multiple times) doesn’t help your mornings start any easier, it actually affects your mind by making waking up each morning harder than it should be.

The alarm clock is supposed to act as a type of conditioning.  In other words, it’s training you to react to a signal (think of Pavlov’s experiments with dogs).  “In general, our bodies do better when they can get used to a single clear rule: Get out of bed the moment the alarm sounds,” is the way Ariely put it.  But “when we play with the snooze button, our bodies get a confused message: Sometimes we hear the beeping and get up, sometimes we hear it and stay put for 10 more minutes, sometimes we lie there for another 20 minutes, and so on.”  So hitting that little button interferes with the conditioning and makes it more difficult for you to learn it’s time to get out of bed.

It would work much better if you set the alarm for when you actually need to get up, and then make it out of bed when the alarm sounds.  In the long run, it works a lot better that way.

The original post is at http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2016/11/how-hitting-your-alarms-snooze-button-messes-with-your-mind.html? .  The photo came from the website.

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