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What is a Snooze Button?

Most snooze intervals on an alarm clock are nine minutes long.
A woman waking up.
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  • Written By: Michael Pollick
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 22 March 2014
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For many of us, there is the time we're supposed to wake up and the time we actually wake up. The device which makes all this extra sleep time possible is called a snooze button. This button essentially resets an alarm clock for a limited amount of time, allowing the user just enough time to fall back asleep before reality strikes again. While a snooze button can be activated for several cycles, eventually the alarm clock wins. Some modern alarm clocks also have "sleep" and "nap" buttons as well.

There are a number of theories about the 9 minute cycle of a snooze button. Some believe that it takes approximately ten minutes for the average person to reach what is called Stage 1 sleep, essentially a quick dozing off. In fact, the first alarm clock with a snooze button, introduced in the 1950s by General Electric, offered either a five minute or ten minute snoozing option. It was only when the LED alarm clocks became popular in the late 1960s that a 9 minute cycle became commonplace.

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Another theory about the snooze button cycle is that engineers looked at earlier alarm clock models and decided that 9 minutes was a good enough standard to follow. Studies conducted on volunteers supposedly indicated that most sleepers wanted anywhere from five to ten extra minutes of sleep, so anything under ten minutes should be acceptable. It's not unusual for heavy sleepers to hit the button several times anyway, so they would be actually be getting nearly a half-hour of additional sleep.

There are those who suggest the snooze button is actually worse for the sleeper than waking up with the alarm or using no alarm at all. The additional sleep time provided is not enough to allow the sleeper to reach the satisfying Stage 5 or REM sleep cycle. Instead, a sleeper almost reaches the lightest Stage 1 cycle before the alarm sounds again. If this cycle is repeated several times, the sleeper may actually be adding to his or her level of sleep debt. Some sleep experts suggest using the snooze button very sparingly, if at all. It might be better to set the alarm to a later time and spend the extra time taking an invigorating shower instead.

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Discuss this Article

fBoyle
Post 6

Why do some clocks have the snooze button on the very top and the off button all the way in the back? Also, the snooze button is huge and the off button is so tiny.

burcinc
Post 5

@donasmrs-- Yea, that doesn't sound like the ideal roommate.

I do use the snooze button mainly because it takes me some time to wake up. I'm not like you, I can't jump out of bed right away. It's almost like I have to mentally prepare to get up before I actually do. And the snooze button lets me do that. I don't hit it over and over again though. I only hit it once and I get up when it goes off again.

donasmrs
Post 4

I don't like the snooze button and I don't really understand why it's there. I personally never use it.

When I was in college though, I had a roommate who loved her snooze button. She would set her alarm a half an hour earlier than the time she had to wake up. When the alarm went off, she would hit the snooze button over and over and over again until she eventually got up half an hour later.

I usually got up later than my roommate and being someone who can get up at the first alarm, you have no idea how annoyed I was listening to my roommate snooze the alarm for five months. I hated snooze buttons then and I still hate them.

comfyshoes
Post 3

I also stop hitting the snooze button because it makes me feel like someone is nagging me to get up. I just get up early and avoid having to press the snooze button. It is actually better to plan to get up about thirty minutes earlier so that you have time to get ready without worrying about being late.

When you worry about getting to work late then you start your day on the wrong foot and the rest of the day seems to go downhill from there.

suntan12
Post 2

The snooze button is bad because you tend to oversleep and get stressed when the snooze buttons goes off.

It is far better to go to bed earlier than to rely on the snooze button because if you have to focus on the snooze buttons then you are not enjoying enough restful sleep.

This is important in order to maintain satisfactory levels of productivity at work. I would much rather use an alarm clock with no snooze button because then I know that I will have to get up.

Continually hitting the snooze button only prolongs the inevitable and it may make you late for work.

Some people have a snooze button addiction, but even though you think you are getting a few extra minutes of sleep you are actually more stressed out because you know that it will be a matter of minutes before the alarm goes off again.

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