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The Snooze Button Effect

February 24th, 2009 by Kevin Ngo

There’s a strange phenomenon called The Snooze Button Effect that’s been plaguing the world for decades. It’s an occurrence whereby a small press of a button at a given time can supposedly delay an undesirable event from happening for 9 minutes. Contained in these 9 “precious” minutes is an unknown substance that seemingly causes people to be addicted to its delusional effects.

This so called Snooze Button Effect causes people to actually believe in the illusion that 9 more minutes of sleep will actually make a positive difference.

(Okay, group therapy time.)

“Hi, my name is Kevin… and, uh, I am a snooze button addict. I can clearly remember the first time I tapped that button, *grins* it was the best 9 minutes of my life at the time… *ungrins* I mean, at first I would just do it once, maybe twice a day, you know? I thought I had it under control but…*sigh*… as the addiction grew, I-I… I found myself uncontrollably tapping that button more and more. It got to the point where I was tapping that button almost 10 times a day just to feel the sensation of those 9 miracle minutes. I’m here today because I need help… I just can’t seem to stop.” (Group claps for the honesty)

All joking aside, does this sound familiar? Are you a victim of the snooze button effect? Do you find it hard to wake up when the alarm goes off and think that the extra 9 minutes will help you? Here are some ways to help determine if you’re a victim.

The Snooze Button Tricks

  1. You place your alarm clock across the room to force yourself to get up.
  2. You use multiple alarms, each placed in different locations.
  3. You set the time ahead 15 minutes and actually think you can trick yourself.
  4. You set the alarm before you actually have to wake up so you can hit the snooze button and still wake up exactly when you intended to.
  5. You bought one of those alarms you have to chase to turn off.
  6. You put your alarm in a locked box and put the key in another room.
  7. You made a CD with angry people cussing so it forces you to turn it off before your parents or spouse hears it.
  8. You’ve thought about setting up a Rube Goldberg style contraption where water pours on your face if you don’t get up in time.
  9. You promise to give your siblings or kids money if you’re not up by a certain time.
  10. You think getting a hydraulic bed that will throw you off is an awesome idea.

(If you have other tricks you use and would like to share them, please comment down below.)

The Snooze Button Problem

If you’re a victim of the snooze button effect, the obvious reason why you tap that sexy button is because you can’t get yourself to get up when that alarm goes off. So you hit the snooze button thinking that 9 extra minutes will make a big difference. Or perhaps you were having a delicious dream and want to go back to it.

The problem with this is that 9 minutes isn’t enough time for you to fall into any beneficial sleep stage, therefore, all you’re really doing is deliberately allowing your sleep to be interrupted.

The Snooze Button Effect

Some common adverse effects associated with these constant sleep interruptions are tiredness, agitation, headaches, mood swings, procrastination, and a worn snooze button. I’m sure you’ve heard how the you start your day will generally determine how the rest of your day goes. Well, if you start you day constantly delaying the start of your day, the rest of your day will either be spent trying to catch up or be filled with procrastination urges.

The snooze button effect is really just a form of procrastination. Think about it. We procrastinate on things because we don’t feel like doing it at the moment. The same thing goes for hitting that snooze button. We hit it because we don’t feel like getting up at the moment.

I don’t think I have to tell you how procrastination can badly affect your life, but hitting that snooze button just tells your mind that your life sucks and that you find more pleasure in those 9 minute increments of sleep than you do living your life.

Although hitting the snooze button seems like a small thing, it WILL have a bad effect on your life. Like the butterfly effect, it can cause a chain reaction that can lead to many storms in your life down the line.

The Snooze Button Solution

  1. Get an alarm that doesn’t have a snooze button. That way, if you go back to sleep, you’ll be screwed… (Note to self: That doesn’t sound right, remember to edit this before posting it live)
  2. If you can’t find an alarm without a snooze button, then set the alarm at a time where you’d actually be late. What this will do is train you to get up immediately when the alarm goes off. As you get used to it, set it earlier and earlier.

    What you’re essentially doing is “burning the bridge”. When you set the clock at a certain time, what you’re saying is that you commit to waking up at that time. So when the alarm goes off, get up! Having a snooze button is just a way of backing out on your commitment.

    Get used to this and you’ll find yourself backing out of your goals and dreams. When you put your back against the wall, when there’s no way out, when failure is not an option, only then will you succeed.

  3. The best way is of course to have a purpose to get up that’s greater than what any 9 minute intervals of sleep can offer you. When you’ve set up your life in a way that brings excitement and passion into each waking hour, getting up will come naturally.
  4. Now if your life is full of things you’d rather delay or avoid and those 9 minutes are the highlight of your day yet you still want to get up, then make it a habit.

    Force yourself to gradually wake up a bit earlier each day by say, 9 minutes, until you’re able to get up at the time you want. The secret is to do it EVERDAY, yes, even weekends. Do it for 30 days and it’ll become a habit.

Hopefully you understand the consequences of delaying your life by now and do what it takes to avoid The Snooze Button Effect.

Until next time…


Love Life. Do Good. Live Well.

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  1. Just came across this. I normally use a minimum of 2 alarms. If I have something really important I use 3 or 4 and have one or two people call and talk to me. I stress for them NOT to stop talking to me until they are SURE I'm awake. I have answered the phone many times in my sleep and only believe people because many different people have claimed to have spoken to me. I have even text messaged in my sleep when the phone was on the pillow next to me to help me wake up. Luckily it was only to my brother had text me to ask if I was up. I texted back “Sux”. So he figured I was up and called and spoke to me. He actually thought I was lying that I was sleeping because I had just text him.

    Anyway, I have many days hit snooze for an hour or more. In fact, once a month or two I have actually hit snooze on BOTH alarms for something like 5 hours straight. Doesn't really make sense of course since I'm not really sleeping I guess.

    It might seem like I just sleep a lot but really I'm always sleep deprived. I've had horrible insomnia as far back as 20 years. When I finally get to sleep I sometimes only have 1.5 hours of sleep before work and I just can't drag myself out of bed! Not sure what to do about all this. I'm always late for work and I hate that!!

    1. I would try the rehearsal technique. An hour before you go to bed, set the alarm to go on in 5 minutes. Pretend to sleep. Once the alarm goes on, immediately jump out of your bed and go into the bathroom to wash your face, then repeat. Train yourself to get in the bathroom and wash your face every time the alarm goes on. You will probably want to change the sound of your alarm since it sounds like you are in the habit of pushing the snooze button when you hear it. The goal is to get in a habit of doing something that will ensure that you stay awake so developing the habit of getting yourself into the bathroom and washing your face will help.

      Although your mind can give you “good” reasons why you should stay in bed, it's hard for it to control your body when you are performing an action out of habit. You have the habit of responding to the sound of the alarm with pushing the snooze button. Train yourself to respond by washing your face. It will take some practice and some discipline at first but once it becomes a habit, it'll be automatic. Good luck.

  2. I'm in 7th grade and have a terrible time getting out of bed. I use my regular alarm clock and my cell phone for the alarm usually. My alarm clock is besides my bed and phone underneath my pillow.
    I plan now to put my alarm clock on the other side of my room, and have my phone on vibrate and as loud as it can go so I will get up on time and don't snooze. I can get up early on weekdays, but on weekends I sleep for 12 hours, sometimes even more. So there's no getting me up on weekends, only on weekdays. But that's certainly fine unless there's something going on that weekend.
    I listen to music while I get ready and sometimes soak my face in cold water, and that helps.
    Thanks for all the help guys!

    1. Forcing yourself to get up at the same time each day, even on weekends, will not only make waking up easier, it will give you more energy as well once you go into a regular sleep routine. This is assuming that you get enough sleep each night.

      I remember back when I was younger I would sleep 10-12 hours on weekends as well. I would only wake up tired so it just didn't make sense to sleep more than I needed especially when I wasn't getting more energy which is the point of sleeping.

  3. I built a shock alam out of an electric dog colar and an old Mickey mouse clock. the clock activates the transmitter and transmitter wirelessly tells the anklet I wear to shock me. it hurts. I have to hop across the room on one leg to turn off the transmitter to make the pain stop.

  4. This is ridiculous. I use the snooze button because I can't wake up, not because I think those extra nine minutes of sleep will be deliciously refreshing. People who sleep badly have trouble waking, and the snooze repeatedly going off can pull you out of it. Otherwise I would never wake up.

    1. Most people use the alarm to wake up. Pressing the snooze button just delays what we intended to do. You'd eventually wake up even without it but just not at the time that you want.

  5. I know this post is old, but I ran across a link, and I think the issue here is that you don't accurately understand the purpose of hitting the snooze (I base this on the fact that you don't touch upon it in your post that seeks to rationalize it). It's not because you have nothing better to do, or that you somehow think that another nine minutes of sleep will make all the difference in the way you feel for the rest of your day. It's not that complicated or cerebral — it's this:

    Snuggling in a cozy bed feels really, really, really good.

    That's it. People are simple animals. When the alarm goes off, we're woken from a deep sleep. We're drowsy and relaxed and warm and snuggly, and it is DELICIOUS. By hitting the snooze, we're saying, “yeah, I know, but…just not now, okay? Mmmm….” It's just that simple. You can't reason with it and you can't shame people out of it (“don't you have anything better to do?” — really, has insinuating that people who don't do just as you do are Losers with No Lives motivated anybody, ever?), for it is one of life's smallest, simplest, greatest pleasures. :) Anybody, rich or poor, healthy or ill, young or old, has the power to unilaterally deny the demands of life and claim those precious minutes. I SAY UNTO YOU, NO! I WILL NOT GET UP OUT OF MY COZY BED RIGHT NOW! I AM KING/QUEEN OF THE WORLD!

    1. Thanks for your reply. I don't fully agree with you but then again, that's what makes us all different. I use the alarm for one reason only, to wake myself up at a specific time. It's true that sleeping is one of life's pleasures but as I touched upon in the article, when you have a strong reason for getting up, such as a passion for your work, you will literally go to bed excited to get up the next morning. I hope you will one day have this experience because no bed, no matter how comfortable and warm, will be more pleasurable than waking up and starting your day doing what you love to do.

      If I have a job I don't like, then yes, nothing would feel better than pressing that snooze button and snuggling in my cozy bed.

    2. Also it depends on how much it's affecting your life. Snoozing on the weekend is always fun, but if you're always struggling to get to work in the morning, running late, not eating breakfast etc, then something is wrong.

      It's like addiction – it's only bad if it's affecting your life negatively.

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