Everything You Need To Know About Snoozing
Why nine minutes? Why can’t I snooze for 10-minutes?
What is the logic behind ‘snoozing’ your alarm in the morning? But more importantly, and something that has been on my mind every time I hit that stupid button: Why nine minutes? Why not 10? Every clock I’ve ever owned has a nine-minute snooze cycle.
Today I ‘snoozed’. I don’t often snooze, but when I do snooze that same question rears its ugly head. I decided today was the day I would find the truth. Little did I know the story would take me from the late 1700s; to the late 1800s and introduce me to an inventor named Seth; to 1956 and a little company called General Electric-Telechron who invented a mechanical clock with the very marketable name of Model 7H241 ‘Snooz-Alarm’; and finally to this very day.
Where the word ‘snooze’ comes from
The word ‘snooze’ is a cant word (jargon) of unknown origin that came into use somewhere around 1780. Its roots are unknown so it’s speculated it’s echoic, or onomatopoeia, of a snore. Somewhere the marketing wizards decided to remove the ‘E’ in snooze to be more hip with the kids. Nothing attracts kids looking to buy a Model 7H241 faster than a disenvoweled word in the name*.
Allow me to spare you the details and head right to the key points: clocks in those old-timey days were run by physical gears (knowledge-bomb for my digital readers), the snooze feature required a separate gear, and that gear could only be integrated if it worked on a nine-minute, or 11-minute cycle — it was impossible to line up the teeth for an exact 10-minute cycle.
Wisdom of today also says that nine minutes of rest is just enough to be refreshed whereas anything over 10 minutes will require a defibrillator; so all digital clocks and alarms went with a nine-minute snooze. Most digital alarm companies set their snooze button to nine minutes in homage to the original Model 7H241 ‘Snooz-Alarm’, weirdos.
The added benefit of the nine-minute cycle is the advanced chaos math you perform in the morning really gets your mind ready for your day.
Or, if you’re not about morning math, you can always do evening math: I have to be in the shower by 615 AM. Three snoozes at nine minutes each is 27 minutes. 615 AM minus 27 minutes is 5:48 AM. I need to set my alarm for 5:48 AM then I get only three snoozes. No more than three.
However, you do it is fine if it works for you. I’m more of a ‘live on the edge’ morning chaos math guy.
The chaos math morning person
“I’ll get up early and shower, shave, have a nice breakfast, some coffee, read the paper, it will be great! This is my new routine!” You say to yourself in the mirror after brushing your teeth. Walking over to the bed you set your alarm for 6 AM.
600 AM Alarm! “Yawn.” Waking up gently, a little refreshed, I could use some extra sleep so I hit the snooze button. 6:09. “That’s okay that still gives me 51 minutes. I’ll have cereal, coffee, and just skim the headlines.”
609 AM Alarm! “Math. 6:18. That will still work. I don’t need to shave.”
618 AM Alarm! “6:27. It’s cool that the number goes up by ten but then down by one each time.”
627 AM Alarm! “Math, math, math, uh … 6:36. I could snooze once more. 24 minutes before I need to leave. I’ll just listen to the news and grab a frozen waffle.”
636 AM Alarm! “6:45 … 45 … 45 minutes until I need to wake up. Such a good sleep.”
845 AM ** Snowplow noises from the street. The sound of kids walking past. Birds chirping. **
Sitting bolt upright in bed you reach for your alarm and see you turned it off. Shaking your fist at the sky you scream, “DAMN YOUUUUU GENERAL ELECTRIC-TELECHRON MODEL 7H241 ‘SNOOZ-ALARM’!!!”
And while you’re at it under your breath you hiss, “And to hell with you Seth Thomas who invented and patented the mechanical alarm clock in 1876. You monster.”