Why Is Snooze Nine Minutes?

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It seems like ten minutes would make more sense, but the choice isn't arbitrary.

If you’re not a morning person—or even if you are—it can feel so good to stay snuggled under the covers for just a little longer after you first wake up. That’s why it’s so easy and tempting to just smash (or, more likely in the age of smartphones, swipe) the snooze button. Your alarm shuts off and silence prevails again, allowing you to drift off before your device wakes you up in…nine minutes?! This can feel like the universe is just toying with you, denying you that additional minute of sleep for an even ten. Why is snooze nine minutes? You’re about to find out. And for more perplexities of your smartphone, learn what those green and orange dots are on your iPhone and how to screen record on an iPhone.

Why is snooze nine minutes?

Your iPhone’s automatic settings actually got their start half a century ago. Alarm clocks were introduced to snooze buttons in 1956 with General Electric-Telechron’s Snooz-Alarm. That model’s snooze lasted nine minutes, but there were likely multiple reasons why.

Alarm clocks did exist before the snooze function, so there was already a standard gear setup that innovators had to work with. Getting the gear teeth to line up to allow for exactly ten minutes wasn’t possible, so they had to choose between setting it at nine minutes and a few seconds or a little bit over ten minutes. A double-digit snooze would have been harder to program than a single-digit one, so designers figured the less complicated design was the way to go.

Plus, it was a bit more beneficial for the snoozers as well. “In terms of sleep, nine minutes is just enough time for a brief rest; however, once you get past the ten-minute mark, your body can start to fall back into a deep sleep, which will make waking up again difficult and more unpleasant,” says Holly Schiff, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist based in Greenwich, Connecticut. So the nine-minute snooze was chosen as the best option for users’ sleep cycles, too. To get to the bottom of another one of life’s little mysteries, find out why there’s a cotton ball in pill bottles.

Is snoozing your alarm good for you?

You might think, if your snooze time is keeping you from falling into a “deep” sleep, no harm, no foul, right? Well, unfortunately, the consensus among sleep experts is that using “snooze” still isn’t great for you. Trying to squeeze in just a few minutes more shut-eye after you’ve already woken up messes with your body’s inner sleep clock. “When we doze off for those extra minutes, we are preparing our bodies for another sleep cycle, which then becomes quickly interrupted, and therefore we feel fatigued for the rest of the day,” says Schiff. And, of course, we know that yawning is contagious! She adds that waking up like that, especially repeatedly, can cause strain on our nervous and cardiovascular systems, too. So snooze should be something you do only once in a while, not every morning.

How to change the snooze times

We hear you—no amount of medical advice is going to overpower how good it feels to hit the snooze button. If you don’t want to quit snooze altogether but just want to change the time, can you?

How to change snooze time on iPhone

Perhaps surprisingly in our tech-saturated age, the nine-minute snooze time is actually pretty ingrained. While there’s no shortage of cool iPhone hacks that you should definitely try, you actually can’t change the snooze time on an iPhone. You can certainly set multiple alarms at any interval, though, rather than relying on just the snooze button.

How to change snooze time on Android

Nine Minute Snooze Alarm On Androidrd.com

Some Android devices actually offer a bit more snoozing flexibility. In your phone’s Clock app, click the three vertical dots in the upper right. Choose “Settings,” and look for “Alarms.” You should see a “Snooze length” option that allows you to choose different options for your snooze time. If you don’t have that option, go to “Clock” and set an individual alarm (the “plus” in the upper right) or click on an existing one. Scroll down and you should see a “Snooze length” option. Then you can choose the snooze time (between five, ten, 15, and 30 minutes), as well as how many times you want it to go off—three, five, or forever! Keep in mind that will only change the snooze settings on that specific alarm. Android users, rejoice—here are even more things Androids can do that iPhones can’t.

How to change snooze time on an alarm clock

With non-phone alarm clocks, you actually have a bit more flexibility with snooze times. Depending on what clock you have, you may not be able to change the snooze time, especially if you have an analog one. But you can certainly purchase alarm clocks with different snooze times, the ability to change snooze times, or even no snooze option. This digital alarm clock from Ygdigital allows you to set the snooze time anywhere between five and 60 minutes! Others opt for a four- or five-minute snooze—like these options from La Crosse and Tinload, respectively—giving you even less time to potentially slip back into a less-healthy deeper sleep. And this PILIFE retro analog clock eschews the snooze altogether. If you’re looking to up your alarm game, there are all sorts of smart alarm clocks that just might make you a morning person.

Sources:

  • Holly Schiff, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist based in Greenwich, Connecticut
  • Pacific Standard: “The Devil Is in Your Snooze Button”
  • Access 2 Knowledge: “Why Do Alarm Clocks Give You 9 Minutes of Snooze Instead of 10?”
  • Insider: “The iPhone’s Clock app doesn’t let you change how long a ‘snooze’ lasts—here are some workarounds for your morning alarm”
  • Android Help: “Set, cancel, or snooze alarms”

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Marissa Laliberte
Marissa Laliberte-Simonian is a London-based associate editor with the global promotions team at WebMD’s Medscape.com and was previously a staff writer for Reader's Digest. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Parents magazine, CreakyJoints, and the Baltimore Sun. You can find her on Instagram @marissasimonian.
Meghan Jones
Meghan Jones is a Staff Writer for RD.com who has been writing since before she could write. She graduated from Marist College with a Bachelor of Arts in English and has been writing for Reader's Digest since 2017. In spring 2017, her creative nonfiction piece "Anticipation" was published in Angles literary magazine. She is a proud Hufflepuff and member of Team Cap.