Hitting the Snooze Button Is a Sign of Intelligence, Says Science

Victoria Hoff
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Everlane

Up to this point, sleep experts (and my mother) have discouraged my lifelong habit of hitting the snooze button several times over each morning (which has happened more often lately than I'd care to admit). They argue that doing so messes with our REM cycle and circadian rhythm, the body's internal timing mechanism that ensures we wake at precisely the right moment to feel as alert as possible. Fair, but now I, too, have science to support my laziness: According to a recent study, prolonging my waking time might actually indicate an innate intelligence. The research argues, in essence, that by hitting "snooze," I'm not actually going against evolution—rather, my body is adapting at a faster rate than others.

A London-based study conducted in 2009 argues that because nighttime activities (and, yes, the snooze button) are relatively new developments in our modern world—at least compared to our electricity-less ancestors—people who stay up late and/or put off the mornings are adapting at a more advanced rate than others. Essentially, the scientists say, it comes down to who is exercising the most choice "within genetic constraint." In other words, some of us might go more with what our bodies are pre-dispositioned to do while others might make active decisions to go against the grain. As more and more people make these choices, the current of evolution begins to flow in that direction. At some point, perhaps, all of us will feel instinctually inclined to hit the snooze button.

But until time has turned us all into night owls, we still can't knock the power of some decent shut-eye. Shop some of the most effective sleep aids, as tested by a Byrdie editor.

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