Although the digital clocks we use today allow us to set a snooze time as per our desire, However, that wasn’t always the case. The alarm clocks used to have a standard time of 9 minutes by default to let you go back to sleep and torture yourself again after exactly 9 minutes. We have engineers from 1950’s to thank for this smart choice. The engineers had to add the feature to an already-standardized clock. The spikes of the snooze gear had to sit well on the gears in the existing standard configuration. Hence, engineers had to choose between snooze times a little greater than nine minutes or 10 minutes. 10 minutes would be too much for a proper working of the concept of the snooze button. This is why the alarm clock by default will give you 9 more minutes to sleep.
But why it gives us such a short period of time to sleep? It is because the idea is not to let you fall back into ‘deep sleep.’ The body clock, a natural clock of your body, runs on a chemical cycle. When your body falls asleep, your brain releases serotonin that causes a soothing effect. Similarly, when you wake up, the brain releases dopamine to suppress the sleep. If you sleep more than 9 minutes after the first call by the snooze button, your body would release enough serotonin to fall into deep sleep. Hence, the engineers chose 9 minutes gear to allow people to wake up with ease and happiness, at least they tried!
Here are some more ridiculous yet logical reasons behind this choice of ‘9 minutes.’
- Engineers believe that their bosses come to check on them after every ten minutes.
- Five minutes are too short and ten minutes seem too long.
- In the 1950s, engineers didn’t care much about the precision. Even when the industry moved on to digital clocks, default snooze time was set to be 9 minutes. Who bothers to have that extra minute?! You still have to wake-up, don’t you?