Why Do Alarm Clocks Snooze for 9 Minutes?

Why Do Alarm Clocks Snooze for 9 Minutes?

Updated: September 14, 2020

Most people have a love-hate relationship with the snooze button. However, regardless of your feeling for it, we can't deny that it's become an integral part of our daily lives.

But, have you ever wondered why the snooze button works like how it is? In particular, have you never been curious about why this modern life quirk only snoozes for 9 minutes? Not 8, not 10, but 9?

The History of the Snooze Button

While the first personal alarm clock was invented as early as in the 1780s by American clockmaker Levi Hutchins before being latter patented by Antoine Redier in 1847, the snooze button would not be introduced into the market until nearly a 100 years later by the time of the mid-1950s.

Telechron marketed the first alarm clock with the snooze button as the world's most humane alarm clock. They named it as the Snooz-Alarm. They claimed that it was a new kind of alarm that let uses wake up, snooze, and then wake up again.

Just like every other technology introduced, the snooze button had its fair share of competition. The Illinois-based watchmakers, Westclox, introduced and patented its "Drowse" alarm in 1959.

The "Drowse" button was arguably better. Instead of the 9 minutes of the snooze button, it offered customers choices. They could choose between a 5-minute rest or a 10-minute rest. However, despite being more convenient, the snooze button and its nine-minute respite won out against its competition.

To date, the 9-minute duration of the snooze button remains an industry standard.

Why Snooze Time Is 9 Minutes?

There isn't an exact explanation behind the 9-minute duration of the snooze button. However, over the years, people have come up with a number of hypothetical answers.

The two most prevalent ones are that it's technical, and it's just the ideal period. The former explains that, around the time that the snooze period was introduced, watchmakers had to work around the gears available on a small alarm clock, and that keeping it in single digits was just more logical.

On the other hand, the latter explains that it's probably due to how nine minutes is just the right amount of time for the body to rest without falling into a deep sleep.

Is It Better to Set Your Alarm Early and Hit Snooze?

Now, for the age-old question, is it better to set your alarm early and hit snooze?

It's best to wake up when your alarm goes off than hitting the snooze button. The reason for this is, while the 9-minute respite is tempting, especially if you didn't get much sleep the night before (or morning before), doing so will only confuse your body clock, throwing your waking routine off of its natural rhythm and making it harder for you to wake up.

Instead of waking you up, using the snooze button tricks your brain into making it into a habit, thinking that the alarm means sleeping in for a few more minutes rather than seeing it as a signal to start your day.

TLDR: Using the snooze button will only make you feel worse. Therefore, stop hitting the snooze button.