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Your phone’s snooze button is bad for your mental health, says expert

Apple is being urged to scrap the snooze button iPhones as experts warn the feature can be “detrimental” to your mental health.

The open letter – sent to Apple’s London HQ on World Sleep Day – is the latest in a series of warnings against relying on alarms to wake up in the morning.

Eve Sleep, a sleep wellness company, has asked Apple to delete the snooze button from its Clock app in the next iOS update.

It claims that having a 9-minute alarm is damaging to “our nation’s health” and undermines the benefits of a great night’s sleep.

“We recognize the startling effect the snooze button is having on millions of Brits every morning and on World Sleep Day we want Apple to join us in urging the nation to refuse to snooze,” said James Sturrock, Eve Sleep’s chief exec.

The letter was also backed by mental health and neuroscience expert Matt Janes, who said the snooze button “can have a detrimental effect on your health, especially your mental health”.

“You’re essentially multiplying the assault on your brain and body each time you press snooze, by repeating the impact on your autonomic nervous system each time you’re awoken,” he explained. I am delighted to partner with Eve Sleep on their mission to put an end to the snooze button and look forward to seeing what this campaign uncovers,” he said.

It’s not clear why Apple has been targeted specifically by this campaign, as alarms are widely available on all smartphones – and other gadgets too.

In fact, alarm clocks date as far back as Ancient Greece, when inventor Ctesibus developed a system of dropping pebbles onto a gong to make a sound at a given time.

The iPhone is Britain’s favorite handset, account for just over 50% of all smartphones in the UK in 2018, which may explain the letter.

But it’s more likely Eve Sleep is trying to piggyback on Apple’s brand to gain some publicity.

Of course, some studies have linked the use of alarms and snooze buttons to illnesses – but not everyone agrees that it’s a major risk.

Speaking to The Sun, Neil Stanley, an independent sleep expert, said:

“Essentially, it’s not bad for your health to have a snooze, but it doesn’t give you the maximum benefit of sleep.

“It’s far better to have 30 minutes of consolidated sleep than to press the snooze button.

“Every time it wakes you up, you get an increase in cortisol – the stress hormone – which causes you to wake up with a start.

“Really, the advice is to set an alarm for the time you want to wake up, and then get up at that time.”

Stanley explained that cortisol is the hormone linked to our “fight or flight response”, and that our bodies see the alarm as a threat.

He said that this could cause stress in the day, rather than any long-term health consequences.

“It’ll put you in a bad mood, rather than killing you,” he told The Sun.

Stanley didn’t think that snooze buttons should – or even could – be banned.

But he did agree that it might be wise for tech companies to give users more information about the risks associated with alarms and “snoozing”.

“I think that would be good. People do rely on alarms…and what you can do with phones is set up multiple alarms,” he explained.

“I know people who are setting 10 or 15 snooze alarms at various intervals in order to wake them up. A bit of advice and common sense is not going to do anyone any harm,” he added.

We’ve asked Apple for comment and will update this story with any response.

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