668: 10 minutes

A Thousand Things to Talk About
A Thousand Things to Talk About
668: 10 minutes

Alarm clocks, as we’ve talked about before, are a fairly new invention. In the 1950s, a new invention was layered upon the (by then, fairly standardized) system of mechanical alarm clocks — a snooze button. The way the mechanics of the clocks worked, the option was to make a snooze either last 9 minutes or just over 10 minutes. At that time, the belief was that deep sleep took about 10 minutes, so 9 minutes it was.

Now snooze buttons are pretty much expected to be 9 minutes, and it can be re-set, but most people just let it sit at nine minutes.

So — should you take that extra 10 minutes each morning to doze? The research there is decidedly more mixed.

In The Muse, an article written by Lily Herman makes the argument is made that snooze is an OK thing. Quote:

David Dinges, chief of the Division of Sleep and Chronobiology at the University of Pennsylvania, explains that, though you shouldn’t try to sleep in an extra hour or two after being awoken by your first alarm (being ridiculously late to work all the time isn’t a good thing), the snooze button is actually great for giving you more time to awaken. “Snoozing is not a great evil. The extra 10 minutes you get by snoozing can actually help to gently awaken the mind, rather than jolt it back to wakefulness,”

Yet in the UK’s Independent, an article by Olivia Petter argues, quote:

Hitting the snooze button repeatedly inflicts “cardiovascular assault” on the body and abuses your nervous system, a neuroscientist has warned. Professor Matthew Walker, who teaches at the University of California’s Centre for Human Sleep Science, has issued a slew of advice […] hitting the snooze button on your alarm clock may be the worst offender when it comes to sleep deprivation, Walker explained. “If alarming your heart, quite literally, were not bad enough, using the snooze feature means you will repeatedly inflict that cardiovascular assault again and again within a short span of time,” he said.

The reality is, the research is as mixed as it can be. So the question is more what would you do with an extra 10 minutes? Sleep? Or perhaps do something else?