Snooze! Science proves pushing back your alarm boosts brainpower

Are you used to “snoozing” your alarm to gain a few minutes of sleep each morning? If so, this is a good thing, according to scientists, because it would benefit our cognition and our morning mood, especially for those who are used to staying up late.

One, two, or three alarms in the morning: many of us tend to postpone the moment of getting up, snatching a few extra minutes of sleep under the covers.

But this habit of “snoozing,” often seen as a bad habit, may not be harmful; on the contrary, a study published on October 17, 2023, in the Journal of Sleep Research revealed. While 69% of those surveyed in the new study admitted to using the snooze function or setting multiple alarms at least “occasionally,” researchers from the University of Stockholm (Sweden) demonstrated that individuals would be mentally more alert when they delayed the time to get up in the morning.

Delaying the alarm boosts our cognitive abilities in the morning.

Mood, fatigue, productivity: the therapeutic benefits of a nap are well-established by science. And a “snooze nap” in the morning, after the alarm has sounded, could be equally beneficial. In the context of two studies, Swedish scientists unveiled that going back to sleep and postponing the wake-up time could be therapeutic for our mood and attention throughout the day.

In the end, “the ‘snooze’ nap is common and probably not so bad for you, as long as you have had enough sleep beforehand. I was surprised that the effects of a 30-minute nap had so little impact on the full night of sleep. And that participants were a bit more alert after getting a little more sleep in the morning,” said lead researcher Tina Sundelin to PsyPost.

Contrary to what one might think, going back to sleep did not promote the production of cortisol, the stress hormone. While “the waking response is a natural increase in cortisol levels that occurs in the first hour of waking, playing a crucial role in preparing the body and mind for the day ahead,” explains Tina, the delayed wake-up did not disturb it and therefore had no negative impact on the participants’ day.

“Snoozing” beneficial for night owls

And this short sleep after the alarm has sounded to wake up would be particularly beneficial for people with a “night owl” chronotype, also known as “night owls.” Indeed, these individuals, often tired in the morning, saw their results in certain cognitive tests conducted by scientists improved by this morning nap.

Delaying the wake-up time would benefit those who go to bed late without disrupting their sleep or overall state upon waking up: “For people whose chronotype is late, delaying wake-up can allow for a gentler wake-up […] napping did not affect mood or sleepiness reported by the subjects,” adds the Sleep Foundation.

“The results indicate that there is no reason to stop taking a morning nap if you enjoy it, at least not during morning nap periods of about 30 minutes. It may even help people with morning sleepiness to be slightly more awake once they get up,” concludes Tina Sundelin in the press release.

This article was syndicated from Marie Claire France
Translated and adapted by Praise Vandeh, Marie Claire Nigeria Content Writer

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