The snooze button solves a simple problem: Instead of having to go through a bunch of steps to re-set your alarm when it goes off in the morning, you just give it one touch and voila! You gain a few more precious minutes of sleep.

But that's not really why the snooze button exists. Hundreds of millions of people use their snooze button every day because they're sleep-deprived. When their alarms go off, their first thought isn't, "Time to get up." 

Their first thought is, "I need to sleep longer."

The real problem isn't inconvenience. The real problem is sleep deprivation.

And the snooze button doesn't solve it.

In simple terms, the latter part of the sleep cycle is the restorative sleep state (also known as REM or "dream" sleep). The nine minutes of sleep you get after hitting the snooze button? That's not restorative sleep. You may be asleep, but you aren't getting the full benefits from that sleep.

You're better off setting your alarm for nine minutes later, because those nine minutes are likely to be a lot better for you than "snooze minutes."

But you'll be a lot better off if you make sure you enough sleep. 

The Snooze Button Isn't a Tool. It's a Warning

While some people do seem to more or less get by on less sleep, odd are that's not you (and is definitely not me).

The vast majority of people -- even those who claim not to need much sleep -- need at least six hours to perform at a reasonable cognitive level. Science says most of us need around 7.5 hours of sleep to function at our best.

So that's the starting point: No matter how busy you feel, pick a number -- say a compromise of seven hours -- and work backward. If you need to get up at 6:30, that means falling asleep by 11:30. (Not going to bed, but actually falling asleep.)

So plan accordingly. If you struggle to fall asleep at night, stop drinking caffeine sometime in the afternoon. Stop using your devices about 30 minutes before you need to fall asleep. 

Then shut off the lights around 11:15. (It takes the average person about 15 minutes to fall asleep.) Relax. Let your mind wander. Don't think about going to sleep. Don't try to go to sleep. Just chill.

If it takes you a long time to fall asleep, that's OK. Don't take a nap the next day. Just go to bed at the same time. See it as bedtime, not sleep time, and just chill.

In time, your body -- and, more important, your mind -- will start to adapt.

And when the alarm goes off, don't hit the snooze button. Even though you may still feel sleepy, get up and get going.

In time, especially as you start to recover from the years of sleep deprivation you've put yourself through, getting up without hitting the snooze button will get easier.

Because as with most things, consistency is the key.

And wanting to hit the snooze button will simply be an indication that you're sleep-deprived -- and need to make sure you get back on track.