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The snooze button is the best part of the world's most hated gadget

The snooze button is the best part of the world's most hated gadget

There are few gadgets I hate more than an alarm clock, a device whose primary purpose is to rip you from the idyllic world of sleep into the harsh, harsh, unforgiving reality of each day—and whose level of functionality is directly proportional. The sound of beeping like this can be disturbing.

But there's also a significant relief within virtually all alarm clocks: the snooze button, a temporary salve for the brutally explicit call of the alarm, putting a halt to the execution of the day you'll inevitably be faced with. This is the phrase "just a few more minutes" translated into plastic.

The alarm clock here is a Sharp SPC028B, purchased a decade ahead of my time as a sleepaway camp counselor from Walmart in Pennsylvania. It has endured continued use throughout high school, college, and beyond, the red glow of its numbers hardly diminishing with time or age. It is brutal and ugly, made of plastic that used to be white before the passage of time and repeated blunt force has turned it into a distinctive hidden shade of brown.

Over the years, the snooze button has been punched countless mornings and each percussive click provides a few more minutes of silence—enough time to go back to sleep before the cycle begins anew.

It's no coincidence that the snooze button is almost always the biggest button on an alarm clock. It's not a button for subtlety: it's a button that can be blinked blindly because half of the morning light comes on too early, to be broken by someone's nervous awareness of what's been there the night before. Was on Netflix for a long time. And while I've spent dozens of mornings attempting to destroy my cheap alarm clock with the prime sin of waking me up, the durable plastic of the snooze button is back each day for another bout.

The prominence of the snooze button also actually makes the alarm go off completely intentionally. Mashing snooze is the easiest physical user interaction you can have with an alarm clock, while actually disabling an alarm usually requires turning it off via a much smaller button in a less convenient location. Because it's okay to sleep for another 10 minutes, but the snooze button wants to eliminate the alarm altogether and save us from our worst impulses to sleep all day.

This is a paradigm that still exists, even as our alarms have gone digital and become more fragile. When the iPhone's alarm goes off, the biggest digital button on the lockscreen is a huge, orange snooze button, while the smaller "Stop" button is pressed down. The physical power button is also on by default to remind you when the alarm goes off because the snooze button needs to be at its most functional even when it's minimal.

The snooze button is ultimately a lie—a promise that things can get better, even with the fact that even with a few more minutes of sleep, morning always comes. The alarm clock is still a clock, after all, and the clocks (and time) only move forward.

But sometimes, as good as it may be, a few extra minutes that snooze button buys can be enough to start your day on the right—or at least, a better foot.

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