London: For those who have trouble sleeping, setting the alarm clock to get an extra few minutes’ rest after a disturbed night may do more harm than good, an expert has claimed.
People whose sleep is often interrupted or irregular can suffer from a variety of problems in their everyday life from fatigue to illness.
But hitting the snooze button could make things worse because it throws the body’s natural clock off its natural rhythm and exacerbates the problem, according to Prof Kevin Morgan of Loughborough University.
Even insomniacs who have not slept at all would be better off getting up at the same time each morning rather than staying in bed to grab some extra sleep, said Prof Morgan.
He noted that a two-year study of more than a thousand people found that those with insomnia – a condition that affects one in ten adults – were ten per cent less efficient at work than their colleagues.
People with the condition, which can be short-term or chronic and causes difficulty falling or staying asleep, were more likely to be absent, have accidents in the workplace and to be unhappy in their jobs, and had a lower chance of being promoted.
Insomnia can be effectively treated with drugs or talking therapy sessions, but many people may not realise they have a problem and try to compensate by having a lie-in, Prof Morgan said.
Setting the alarm back or pressing “snooze” will not help because the body works best when it wakes up at the same time every morning, he explained.
Separate research has shown that using the snooze button each morning disrupts natural sleep patterns, meaning someone who dozes after waking up each morning will be less refreshed than someone who enjoys uninterrupted sleep but gets up at the same time.
“Everyone who finds their sleep challenged, like a new parent or someone starting a new job, is exposed to the possibility of developing insomnia,” the Telegraph quoted Prof Morgan as stating.
“If your sleep is vulnerable you would be much better advised to set your body clock to the same time every morning by always getting up at the same time. This tells your biological system when it needs to start and it works better than always going to bed at the same time in the evening.
“It is only an issue if your sleep is being threatened or if you are someone with a wobbly sleep pattern, but if you are then it is the best possible advice. Sleeping in late or pressing the snooze button is not good practice,” he added.