You Snooze, You Lose... No, Really

If you are anything like me, you’ll take all the sleep you can get — so your snooze button is basically your best friend. However, hitting snooze in the morning is bad for your sleep cycle and can have negative effects on your daily productivity, experts say.

Sleep specialist Michael Breus, Ph. D explained to Women’s Health that pressing snooze messes with your REM cycle sleep. Your REM sleep is the most important part of your night’s rest, and is crucial to helping you feel restored and mentally focused when you start your day. This sleep phase occurs right before you wake up, and when your alarm sounds you are pulled out of it. Apparently, when you hit the snooze button, you are sent right back into REM, but the REM cycle isn’t complete in those precious few minutes, leaving you extra groggy when you finally get out of bed.

The REM effect is compounded by the way that the snooze button screws with your body's clock. According to Breus, your internal clock wants to wake up with your first alarm, but continually snoozing throws off these natural rhythms and leaves your body unsure of whether to amp up or wind down.

And while I totally understand that logic, it's still going to be a struggle for me to give up my snooze button. For those of you who don’t hit snooze, but still find yourself feeling tired throughout the day, it could be for a number of other surprising reasons. Because no one likes to feel exhausted all the time, here are five other behaviors that could be keeping you from a good night's sleep:

1. You don’t drink enough water

Dehydration can have a major effect on energy levels. When we don’t have enough fluids, the body has to work even harder to function, making every task seem more difficult.

2. You go to the gym too late

Yes, exercise is a great way to exhaust your body (in a good way), but it also has an immediate after-effect of increasing your heart rate and raising energy levels, which could keep you awake at night. Make sure that you hit the gym well before bedtime for a good night’s sleep.

3. Your diet is less than stellar

If you survive on junk food filled with sugar and simple carbs, you aren’t doing your body any favors. These foods will lead to bursts of energy followed by sharp drops, leading to overall fatigue throughout the day.

4. You drink wine before bed

Maybe the nightcap isn’t a great idea. Apparently, as alcohol metabolizes, it can cause a surge in your adrenaline system, waking you up in the night and leaving you feeling tired the next day.

5. You’re a caffeine junkie

Drinking caffeine may help you stay up during the day, but too much will also keep you up at night. Caffeinated drinks can keep you up for up to six hours, so make sure that you cut yourself off by mid-afternoon.

If you are guilty of any of the above, cut it out so you can get some rest! After all, there's nothing better than a good night's sleep.

Images: Flickr/Sergio Vassio Photography; giphy (6)