Many Americans wake up to alarms. We all know people who intentionally choose abrasive-sounding alarms so that they cannot ignore them. Others build in extra time between their alarms and when they actually "must" get up so that they can hit snooze several times. Alarms are a fine fail-safe, but most mornings we should wake up before we are jarred up. When our body wakes us up, we feel better and stay in rhythm.
Sleep Cycles and Natural Waking
Throughout the night, our body cycles between deep sleep and lighter, REM sleep. As we run out of sleep juice (hormones) and the sun creeps up we hit one last REM session and then come into the world. That is how it should work. This is one reason we often awaken from dreams. If you are awoken from a deep sleep, you know it (or perhaps rather do not know it at all because you fall back asleep): confusion, flailing, groaning.
Alarms and Sleep Inertia
Alarms risk shaking us from a deep sleep, but also simply waking us up too abruptly. You might notice that the first few minutes out of bed is especially difficult on your sense of balance, your bad back, and your ability to form intelligent sentences. This is called "sleep inertia." Some parts of our brain that control our more human qualities take longer to become active than involuntary functions.
Alarms worsen sleep inertia because they jar you from slumber and trigger stress hormones immediately. You'll know this has happened when twenty minutes after arriving at work you suddenly start nodding off, despite blowing through your morning routine.
Snooze is tempting for some who think those last few minutes of sleep are needed more dearly than the preceding 6 hours. Once you get used to waking up feeling tired, you may also believe that without the snooze you would be totally unconscious. The opposite is probably true. Snooze is like dunking your head in a toilet over and over as you go from harsh waking to deep, slow wave sleeping. Like using alcohol to fall asleep, it's short-sighted. If you aren't going to bed early enough or sleeping through the night, the last few minutes are not your problem.
As we've mentioned in past posts, much of modern life pushes against natural sleep cues. The discipline to set a healthy sleep routine is one aspect of a healthy sleep pattern, but modern mattresses also help us sleep, put up with our sleep partners and even feel cooler so that we wake more naturally, and stay awake. With mattresses from industry leaders such as Tempurpedic, Sealy and Beautyrest, our experts at Bedzzz Express will help you lose the snooze and win better zzz's.