By Jason DeRusha

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many of us swear by it — that last burst of sleep you can only get by hitting the snooze button.

Maybe you get five extra minutes, maybe nine. It feels good then. But is hitting snooze bad for your sleep?

“I know you really want me to say if you snooze you lose, right?” said Dr. Conrad Iber, the medical director of Fairview Health Services’ sleep program.

Iber asks everyone who comes for help with sleep problems if they use the snooze. He said it’s an indicator that something is wrong.

“Sleep is awfully satisfying. So if you can get just a little more by negotiating with your alarm clock, you think you’re getting something extra,” Iber said. “But really you’re not getting as much, probably.”

Uninterrupted sleep is best. When you hit the snooze, you’re probably waking up too early.

“The sleep is disrupted, you have to fall back asleep, and then the interruption itself makes the quality pretty poor,” Iber said.

He said most of us would be better if we just set our alarm for 15 minutes later and then woke up.

“Certainly it’s better to sleep continuously for 15 minutes than to be interrupted two or three times in that time period,” he said.

He also noted that most people hit snooze during the week, when they’re not getting enough sleep, and don’t do it during the weekend when they are sleeping enough.

One theory on why we so desperately want to hit snooze: When we first fall asleep, the body releases serotonin, which can be soothing. It feels good. But as you start to wake up, dopamine is being pumped into your body. That’s pushing you in another direction. Ultimately, the chemical confusion can catch up with you.


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