- Hitting snooze on your alarm in the morning may feel good, but it can have terrible consequences.
- It can take a couple of hours in some cases for the brain to neurochemically prepare itself to wake up.
- Dr. Daniel Barone, a neurologist at New York Presbyterian Hospital, explains why it’s so hard for our brains to wake up when we snooze.
Daniel Barone: When you wake up and then hit the snooze button and go back to sleep, it feels good because serotonin gets released. And it feels nice to fall back asleep.
The problem though is that when you wake up 15 minutes later or 10 minutes later, your brain is essentially confused.
I’m Dr. Daniel Barone, a neurologist at New York Presbyterian Hospital and assistant professor of neurology at Weill Cornell Medical College.
Waking up before the alarm can be a sign that you’re actually getting enough sleep and the body is preparing itself for the day.
Sometimes waking up hours before the alarm — that can be associated with things like depression. People who have clinical depression, they sometimes wake up earlier in the morning than they like to.
So a lot of times, people will snooze when they wake up. They’ll say, “Okay, I’m going to set my alarm for 7 o’clock and then I’m going to snooze to 7:30.”
Many people do that. The problem with that though is waking up and falling asleep is not like an on-off switch. It’s not “we fall asleep immediately and then we wake up immediately.”
The process of falling asleep and waking up is a — it’s a process. It can take a couple of hours in some cases for the brain to neurochemically prepare itself to wake up.
It’s not bad for you but it just — you know, it screws your brain up a little bit. You may experience it yourself. You may feel like, “Oh god, I’m still out of it” or “I feel worse than I did before.”
“Should I be asleep or should I be awake? This is not really what I planned to do.”
So what I always recommend to people is just set the alarm for the latest you can wake up and just have it — that just be the one time you wake up.
Dr. Daniel Barone is the author of “Let’s Talk About Sleep.”
EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published on December 1, 2017.