Is snoozing losing? New study puts to bed age-old debate snooze button debate

Stock image of woman hitting alarm clock snooze button
Is snoozing losing? New study puts to bed age-old debate snooze button debate. Photo credit: Getty Images

Have you ever wondered if hitting 'snooze' on your daily alarm could be doing more harm than good? Sure, you get a few minutes of extra shut-eye, but is that time in bed offering any benefit? (Other than a longer lie-in, of course).   

While snoozing your alarm can get a bad rep - 'you snooze, you lose' comes to mind - a new study has put that theory to bed, with Australian and Swedish researchers finding the function might not be so bad after all.   

Published on Wednesday in the Journal of Sleep Research, the study found that snoozing or using intermittent alarms to wake up may actually benefit some people and in fact, may even help with morning drowsiness. 

In a study of 1732 adults who described their waking habits, 69 percent of participants admitted hitting the snooze button or setting multiple alarms at least "sometimes". Among the snoozers, the average time spent per morning was 22 minutes, although that ranged from one to 180 minutes.   

Snoozers tended to be younger than non-snoozers and were more likely to be night owls, the study found, although morning drowsiness and shorter sleep were also more common in those who put off their morning wakeup call.  

In a second study of 31 habitual snoozers, the researchers found that 30 minutes of snoozing either improved or did not affect their performance on cognitive tests directly upon rising, compared with waking up abruptly.   

While snoozing resulted in about six minutes of lost sleep, it prevented awakening from slow-wave sleep, the study found. There were also no clear effects on stress hormone levels, sleepiness, mood, or overnight sleep structure.  

All in all, the researchers say the findings indicate there is no reason to stop hitting the snooze button if it works for you and your routine.  

"The findings indicate that there is no reason to stop snoozing in the morning if you enjoy it, at least not for snooze times around 30 minutes," said corresponding author Tina Sundelin, PhD, of Stockholm University.  

"In fact, it may even help those with morning drowsiness to be slightly more awake once they get up."