This Could Be Why All Alarms 'Snooze' For Exactly 9 Minutes

Daring Wanderer

We all know how it goes in the morning. Your alarm starts buzzing at 6 am, then you continue to hit the snooze button about 20 times as you drift in and out of dreamland and contemplate whether you'd like to stay employed or spend the rest of the day in your beloved bed.

Unfortunately, work always seems to win out in the end.

If you happen to be one of the many sleepyheads who loves to abuse the snooze button, there's a good chance you know exactly how many minutes you get in between buzzes. Yep, the majority of digital alarm clocks out there give you nine more glorious minutes of sleep.

But have you ever wondered why nine seems to be the magical snooze number of choice? Well, thanks to some smart internet users, we may finally have the answer.

Apparently, alarm clocks are nothing new. In fact, they've been around so long, the ancient philosopher Plato even had his very own OG alarm device.

But the advent of the almighty snooze button didn't occur until 1956, when the geniuses at General Electric-Telechron forever changed the way we wake up by inventing the Model 7H241 "Snooze-Alarm," which was armed with a snooze button that gave you 10 more sacred minutes of sleep.

This innovative clock featured a mechanical snooze. So once you smacked the snooze button, a flywheel connected to the alarm would trigger it to go off again in 10 minutes. However, there was just one little problem with this mechanism. It wasn't really accurate, so the alarm would sound a little earlier than intended.

While this seems to make perfect sense, others argue that the nine-minute snooze standard can be attributed to reports that suggest 10 minutes would be too long and allow people to fall back into a deep sleep.

Now the internet is on a mission to figure out what the deal was with the faulty mechanical snooze function and why we still use nine minutes for our snooze settings these days.

One clever Quora user, David J. Slavik, proposed that the snooze time has to do with a standardized gear system for alarm clocks, stating,

A specific timed snooze was not possible as the gearing was affected by the spring tension, size of the clock and since most relied on a separate spring drive, how long the entirely of the alarm function would be energized.It is my belief that when the first hybrid electric clocks arrived, that is when a seeming nine-minute standard was adopted.

Slavik then explains that older clocks had a 10-minute snooze standard, but by the time the snooze button was pressed, some time would have already passed. Since this primitive mechanical snooze function was not equipped to account for the lapse in time, the snooze length ended up being about nine minutes.

Apple expert Andrew Stack, backed Slavik up on this concept, stating,

Most of the early designs only allowed setting the snooze until the dial rolled back to 0. Since the dial only had to go from 0-9 for telling time, we ended up with a maximum snooze of nine minutes. Now with digital clocks, it's just a nostalgic artificial standard.

So there you have it. I guess we can all blame faulty mechanics for robbing us of that extra minute of sleep.

Citations: This might be why your alarm goes off every 9 minutes when you hit snooze (Metro UK)