You Snooze You Lose

Hey Power Girl,

The alarm clock is a brilliant invention for staying on schedule… except for when you hit the snooze button!

10 minutes later that annoying sound goes off again and you feel even more tired then you did before.  So do you hit it again and if you do, then why are you still exhausted? This is a never ending cycle of you being later and more tired.

Well Power Girl, our bodies have something called a biological clock.  Our bodies have many chemical mechanisms that not only put us to sleep but wake us up as well. The chemical mechanisms that put you to sleep are: adenosine, and melatonin and the ones that wake us up are: cortisol, and dopamine.

So here’s how your sleep cycle works!

Your body begins preparing for you to wake an hour before you body naturally wakes up.  Your body temperature rises, your sleep gets lighter, and hormones such as: dopamine and cortisol are released to give you energy to start your day.

Heres how your alarm can interrupt your sleep cycle!

The problem with alarms is that they can often interrupt your natural sleep cycle and cut these processes short. This usually occurs if you don’t have a regular sleep rhythm or schedule. The alarm goes off but your body is not quite ready.  This groggy and tired state in known as “sleep inertia” and its strength is related to which sleep stage you are waking up out of.  The deeper the sleep cycle you are in at the time of waking the more potent the sleep inertia. And so… The snoozing begins!

Dangers of snoozing!

The snooze button can do much more damage than help.  As you fall back asleep the body re-enters the sleep cycle and enters into deeper sleep stages.  So instead of your body preparing to wake up, it is going in the opposite direction.  As a result, the second alarm may cause you to feel even more tired and so this vicious cycle continues.

Better option 

You are better off setting your alarm clock later, avoiding sleep interruption. Studies have found that fragmented sleep is much less restorative and leads to daytime fatigue.  So instead of hitting the snooze button every 10 minutes go to sleep a bit earlier to get the extra sleep you need and then decide to never hit the sleep button.  Or maybe you can set your alarm clock a little later so that you are not constantly interrupting your sleep with the snooze button.

Regular Sleep Schedule

You can also try adopting a more regular sleep schedule.  Being tired is not only a produce of sleep depravation or waking up out of a deep sleep, but also lacking a consistent sleep schedule.  Your body loves predictability, so if you go to bed and wake up at the same time (yes even on weekends)  for about a week, your body will adapt to this schedule and your “internal clock” will be set to that time.  You will even start waking up a few minutes before your alarm goes off.  This will result in you not even needing an alarm clock in the first place!  Imagine waking up when you are “done sleeping” instead of “being woken up” by a noisy alarm.  What a concept!   If you do by chance wake up a little tired, try to resist hitting the snooze button and just get up.  As the saying goes you snooze you lose!

Remember better sleep will mean more energy, more energy for your friends, your family and …your Power Girl workouts too!

Sweet dreams Power Girl!

Your Friend and Coach,

Jessy Lipke

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