March 24, 2019/Sleep

Is Hitting Snooze (Once, Er, Maybe Three Times) Bad for Your Health?

A sleep expert weighs in

Man hitting snooze button on his alarm clock while in bed

You stayed up a wee bit too late (again) binge watching Game of Thrones. Or perhaps your 18-month-old was crying at 2 a.m. — and again at 3:45 a.m. Whatever the reason, there are times when hitting that snooze button is awfully tempting!

Advertisement

Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center. Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Policy

But according to Reena Mehra, MD, MS, Director of Sleep Disorders Research, all of that snoozing isn’t helping our bodies get the restorative sleep that we need.

“Much of the latter part of our sleep cycle is comprised of REM sleep, or dream sleep, which is a restorative sleep state,” Dr. Mehra explains. “And so, if you’re hitting the snooze button, then you’re disrupting that REM sleep.”

Why disrupting REM sleep isn’t good

We all have different arousal thresholds during different stages of sleep, and if we’re disrupting late stage REM sleep, it can cause a ‘fight or flight’ response – which increases our blood pressure and heartbeat, Dr. Mehra says.

Plus, she notes, the short period of sleep that we get in between hitting the snooze button – five, 10 minutes at a time – isn’t restorative sleep.

While, some people can get conditioned to hitting the snooze and actually get used to it, Dr. Mehra says if a person feels the need hit snooze again and again, it could be an indicator that they’re either not getting enough sleep or they might have an underlying sleep disorder.

What you should do instead of snoozing

If you find yourself hitting the snooze every day, Dr. Mehra says it’s time to take a look at your sleep habits.

Make sure you’re getting seven to eight hours of sufficient sleep and good quality sleep. And if that’s happening — and someone still feels the need to hit that snooze button — then they should probably see their physician to make sure there’s no undiagnosed sleep disorder that could be contributing to their need to hit the snooze.

The best way to de-condition yourself from hitting snooze every morning? Make sleep a priority. Dr. Mehra says many people mistakenly think they can operate on less than seven hours of sleep per night. But research shows that over time, insufficient sleep contributes to weight gain, cardiovascular risks and even death.

“We have so much going on. In this day and age with technology, and phones and TVs in the bedroom contributing to light at night, combined with work and family obligations, the time we spend asleep often gets short-changed,” she says. “Prioritizing seven to eight hours of sleep for our overall well-being and health is very important, so that we can optimize functioning during the day and have healthy relationships with our loved ones.”

Advertisement

Learn more about our editorial process.

Related Articles

Person in bed experiencing nightmares
May 22, 2024/Sleep
7 Reasons You’re Having Nightmares

Stress, alcohol, sleep apnea and (you guessed it!) scary movies are a few common causes of bad dreams

Person sitting in chair writing in tablet
May 21, 2024/Sleep
Should You Be Keeping a Dream Journal?

Recording your dreams may help you become more mindful, understand your thought patterns, process your emotions and even reduce your stress

Person sitting in bed in the evening, reading a book, with cup of tea on bedside table
May 15, 2024/Sleep
Restless? Try These Bedtime Teas for Better Sleep

Chamomile, lavender and valerian root teas may offer a faster route to dreamland

Person asleep in bed, talking in their sleep
May 3, 2024/Sleep
Why Do People Talk in Their Sleep?

Many factors can contribute to sleep talking, like stress or anxiety, lack of or low-quality sleep, or even more serious sleep-related conditions

Young child in bed reading at night
May 2, 2024/Children's Health
Nighty-Night: Tips To Get Your Kid To Stay In Bed

A consistent, structured routine, which may include incentives, can help children learn to stay in bed and get the ZZZs they need

Person in bed at night without covers, with fan blowing on them
April 17, 2024/Sleep
9 Reasons Why You’re Sweating in Your Sleep — And How To Get Relief

Getting to the root cause of night sweats — like menopause, medication side effects, stress or anxiety — can help you manage them

woman sleeping with eye open
February 6, 2024/Eye Care
Why Do Some People Sleep With Their Eyes Open?

Nocturnal lagophthalmos may be caused by damaged nerves or muscles in your face

person sleeping in bed with heart rate monitoring watch showing
January 23, 2024/Heart Health
Checking Your Heart Rate While Sleeping? Here’s What Those Numbers Mean

Your heart rate naturally slows down while you sleep, but lower numbers aren’t always concerning

Trending Topics

Person in yellow tshirt and blue jeans relaxing on green couch in living room reading texts on their phone.
Here’s How Many Calories You Naturally Burn in a Day

Your metabolism may torch 1,300 to 2,000 calories daily with no activity

woman snacking on raisins and nuts
52 Foods High In Iron

Pump up your iron intake with foods like tuna, tofu and turkey

Ad