In an ideal world the rooster wakes us up with its bright cockadoodledoo and the birds chirp sweet tunes in our ears as they welcome sunshine with arms wide open. But we have destroyed both-the nature and the trees as well as disrupted the balance in ecosystem leading to a stage where finding a butterfly is a rare sight or a woodpecker in a tree is an amazing visual! I would like to quote a small episode that does prevail in many of our households everyday- the alarm is set at 5.30 AM in the morning with an intention of exercising for an hour before getting ready but our late-night binge-watching episodes do prevent us from getting up at the stipulated time and we hit the snooze button. For some, it might be once but some others don’t mind getting to hear it for another 3-4 times before getting out of bed. Finally, its almost 6.30 AM and all our hopes are deep down the trash. Monday mornings too land us in similar troubles where we force ourselves out of bed in the last minutes without any time to sip our hot cup of coffee or get ready leisurely spoiling all the pleasures in life. How exactly is that extra snooze time going to benefit us in some way? Actually, in no way at all and rather they are great troublemakers that put our life in a turmoil.
Body’s Own Alarm Clock
The alarm clock is an invention of mankind and the snooze button is more of a recent innovation that has the ability to spoil the health of every person using it. Don’t our parents and grandparents wake up on their own even before the sun rises but we keep contemplating on the perfect time to wake up until the last moment. Each of us have our own natural alarm clock (circadian rhythm) which puts us to sleep after sunset and wakes us up when the sun shines. But when this rhythm is disrupted due to our dependence on an external alarm clock the sleep cycle too gets disrupted. But, when your alarm rings and you hit the snooze button repeatedly your body is all the more confused preventing you from getting up feeling bright, rested and energetic. Maybe this is the reason why most of us get up early feeling exhausted and irritated even after sleeping through the night!
Snooze is not an enemy of just staying awake but also to sleep. We think that we would feel more fresher and eager to start the day after experiencing the extra 5 or 9 minutes of sleep (snooze) time but the fact is that we are more inclined to feeling stressed. It works hard on the heart, increases cortisol and adrenaline levels (these hormones wake us up) and disrupts our natural sleep cycle. While we feel great thinking about the extra 30 minutes of sleep time acquired through snooze practically, this time gain is worse than no sleep at all (https://psmag.com/social-justice/devil-snooze-button-sleeping-sleep-morning-68787). It confuses our natural body clock and puts us through short bouts of sleep that’s not restorative.
While early days people had a perfect circadian rhythm over the past couple of decades people sleep late but get up at the same time in the morning almost losing 45 minutes of sleep on working days. It’s no shocking news that sleep deprivation is a risk factor for obesity/overweight and it’s not just dependent on how much sleep you get but also on how much you have messed with your body’s circadian rhythm. Some studies show that this spike in weight ranges is due to the increased secretion of ghrelin (appetite) hormone and decreased secretion of leptin (satiety hormone). The body’s circadian rhythm is extremely essential for the well-being of individuals as it plays a central role in controlling body temperature, hormone secretion, blood pressure and regulates everyday activities of different organs in the body. So, for every 45 minutes of sleep lost daily some of us try to make up for the loss during weekends while some others keep carrying forward the loss until something hard strikes their health badly-the cortisol puts our body in a fight or flight mode, the sound of the alarm while deep in sleep jolters us out of sleep and stress levels are increased-this is an indication to our body that we have not fulfilled our required 7-8 hours of sleep for the day.
So, every nine minutes of extra sleep is not a gain to body but a loss on our productivity. Rather than taking sleep as a work of the lazy man, treat it as a requirement for renewed energy and productivity. Get yourself tuned with your body’s natural alarm clock which helps you ditch off the alarm clock, especially the snooze button that corrupts your mind into hitting it often desiring for an extra 10-20 minutes of sleep that can spoil your entire day sometimes. Take hold of sunshine as an indication to wake up, stop staying late up in the night, go to bed early, keep your bedroom sleep-friendly with dark lights, pleasant aroma and soothing music and finally, if required use an alarm clock and not your smartphone-firstly because, keeping a smartphone near your resting place is bad for health and secondly, the light from the phone emits radiations that don’t do good to our body when that’s the first thing that we see after waking up!
The Body’s Subconscious Alarm Clock: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/250015.stm
Your Alarm Clock might be Hazardous to Health: https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/your-alarm-clock-may-be-hazardous-to-your-health-164620290/
Stop Snoozing: https://www.womenshealthmag.com/uk/health/sleep/a27652162/stop-snoozing/
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.