Why you should never hit snooze
WHATEVER time your alarm goes off, it's almost impossible to avoid hitting the snooze button straight away.
But staying in bed just that extra bit longer might actually be doing you more harm than good, according to The Sun.
Deciding to snooze tells your brain to signal for hormones to be released which would usually send you into a deep sleep … when all you're actually getting is a five-minute nap, according to experts at Sleep Clinic Services.
"Sleep inertia" - that groggy feeling you often get when you've slept in for hours.
"The start of the sleep cycle is not a good time for being jolted awake by your alarm again," experts at the Sleep Clinic Services said.
"In fact, you'll end up feeling like you've had a really bad night's sleep, even though you slept like a baby.
"Not only that but when you hit the snooze button your body and brain get confused.
"After being jolted awake, you're now telling them that it's time to go back to sleep.
"And, if this goes on for two or more snooze button hits, that confusion increases."
They recommend that you set your alarm for 10 minutes later than you normally would, rather than wake up to go back to sleep again.
If you interrupt your sleep towards the end of your sleep cycle (with a snooze button), that sleep inertia tends to last for up to 30 minutes as your brain tries to go through the waking up process.
But research has shown that waking up during the early or deep sleep stage can make that grogginess last for up to four hours.
In other words, hitting your snooze button repeatedly can make you feel really tired.
In order to wake up feeling refreshed and raring to go, you've got to get up as soon as your alarm goes off.
Snoozing - like blue-light technology, night shifts and needy kids - stops us from listening to our logical body clocks.
In an ideal world, you'd just go to sleep when you felt tired and you'd get up when you naturally woke up.
For most of us, that's not a reality.
But setting yourself strict timings for sleeping and waking could help to set a natural rhythm.
HOW TO STOP HITTING SNOOZE
1. Keep your alarm on the other side of the room
If you've got to actually get out of bed to turn it off, it's much less likely that you're going to get back into it.
2. Set a proper bedtime routine
You want to start winding down at least an hour before you intend to actually go to sleep.
By giving yourself an hour without any technology, for example, you'll start to produce the sleep hormone melatonin, which is often disrupted by the blue light given out by phones, laptops and tablets.
3. Get yourself a SAD lamp
If alarms don't work for you, you can get body clock alarms (like a Lumie) which wake you up more naturally by filling your room with wake-up light - making you feel more awake when you get up.
They can also be set to night-time mode, which will fill your bedroom with slowly darkening amber light, prompting you to fall asleep.
4. Check your iron levels
Anaemia and low iron levels can actually cause insomnia.
Low iron can also cause things like body cramp and RLS (restless leg syndrome - where you trash around like a dog dreaming of chasing a cat), and both of those can lead to interrupted sleep.
Vitamin C-rich foods can help with the absorption of iron, while lean red meat, fish and chicken are rich in the mineral.
Vegans and vegetarians might want to consider taking iron supplements as it's not a mineral that's found in many plant-based foods.
5. See your doctor
If you're really struggling to sleep and wake up, then it might be worth checking in with your GP.
It's thought that around 1.5 million people in the UK suffer from some kind of sleeping problem, and disorders seem to be becoming increasingly common.
They can have a real effect on your health, so it's worth checking out.