Effects of using a snooze alarm on sleep inertia after morning awakening

J Physiol Anthropol. 2022 Dec 31;41(1):43. doi: 10.1186/s40101-022-00317-w.


Background: Many people use the snooze function of digital alarm clocks for morning awakening, but the effects of a snooze alarm on waking are unclear. We examined the effects of a snooze alarm on sleep inertia, which is a transitional state characterized by reduced arousal and impaired cognitive and behavioral performance immediately upon awakening.

Methods: In study 1, healthy Japanese university students responded to a sleep survey during a psychology class (study 1), and we collected 293 valid responses. In study 2, we compared a separate sample of university students (n = 10) for the effects of using or not using a snooze alarm on sleep inertia immediately after awakening from normal nocturnal sleep in a sleep laboratory.

Results: Of 293 valid respondents in study 1, 251 often used a tool to wake up in the morning (85.7%). Moreover, 70.5% reported often using the snooze function of their mobile phones, mainly to reduce anxiety about oversleeping. Study 2 indicated no differences in the sleep quality or quantity before awakening with or without the snooze alarm, except in the last 20 min. However, during the last 20 min of sleep with snooze alarm, the snooze alarm prolonged waking and stage N1 sleep. Stage N1 sleep is non-rapid eye movement sleep that is primarily defined as a drowsy state. Furthermore, Global Vigor values were enhanced after awakening compared to pre-sleep in the no-snooze condition.

Conclusions: Using a snooze alarm prolongs sleep inertia compared to a single alarm, possibly because snooze alarms induce repeated forced awakenings.

Keywords: Awakening; Normal nocturnal sleep; Polysomnograms; Sleep inertia; Sleep loss; Snooze alarm.

MeSH terms

  • Arousal
  • Cognition / physiology
  • Humans
  • Sleep Stages / physiology
  • Sleep* / physiology
  • Wakefulness* / physiology