Hitting the Snooze Button Can Harm your Ability to Train.

We have all had a morning that seems to have come too early, but according to a new study, hitting the “snooze” button can cause more harm than good.

“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 a word for the lethargy brought on by insufficient slumber: “sleep inertia.” The National Sleep Foundation defines sleep inertia as “the feeling of grogginess and disorientation that can come from awakening from a deep sleep.”

Sleep inertia is often described as stupor-like. In this state, decision making abilities slow down, memory is impaired, and general performance throughout your day suffers. According to sleep experts, sleep inertia is not cured by coffee or an invigorating shower. And it can take up to an hour and a half to shake the ill effects of sleep inertia exhaustion.

Rosenberg explained that the snooze button actually messes with one’s brain hormones. “You’re throwing off your circadian cycle,” he said. “This can be extremely damaging as the circadian cycle determines one’s ability to feel awake during the day and tired at night.”

Rosenberg said that the urge to press “snooze” and sleep a bit longer is indicative of a larger problem. “Most people are doing this because they’re not getting enough sleep on a daily basis,” he said. Chronic sleep deprivation, which is defined as six or fewer hours of sleep a night over an extended period of time, produces what is called “social jetlag.”

There are many harmful effects of insufficient sleep as we discussed in the article Scientists Find Poor Sleep Alters Genes including weight gain and increased risk of diabetes.

The bottom line is this: if you want to perform at your best, prioritize your sleep to ensure you are getting between 7-9 hours a night. And resist the temptation (or habit) of hitting the snooze button. Your training will suffer for it.

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