Ever wonder WHO invented snooze? Before the unholy button was planted into every alarm clock, snooze was just a word for light sleep. Now, snooze is anything but LIGHT sleep.
The time in between 2 snoozes is probably the deepest sleep I have ever had. It is the urgency and the rush of the next few god-sent minutes of sweet sleep that makes it deeper, sweeter and as desirable as chocolate fudge. Our bodies have alarms in them, but after the snooze button invaded our night lives, the body clocks have gone awry. Maybe they feel left out and like the lesser cousins of the alarm clock with the snooze function, but even if our bodies were capable of putting off waking up with a snooze-like function; now we have made them completely incapable of that. Nobody I know can wake up without an alarm: it is such an essential. yes I know, there are no roosters around and the sun coming up isn’t the criterion for waking up anymore…but our bodies have become so attuned to the mechanical alarm clock that it has almost become part of us. It has unknowingly altered our cognitive functions. How, you ask?
Visualization: How many of us have experienced amazing-clarity high definition dreams in between 2 snoozes. How do you know? Well, when the alarm rang first, you didn’t remember the dream and after the snooze, you did.
Algebra: You may not even have a watch on you; but you know exactly how to count the minutes till you have to wake up. Suddenly your brain that hated Mathematics till it became optional in school becomes as sharp as a poker player’s. It calculates: If I hit the snooze alarm 3 times at the rate of 5 minutes per snooze, I actually get 10 minutes and not fifteen. This is good because it is 5 minutes AWAY from 15 minutes, which means one extra snooze.
PERT CPM: You know the regime before sleeping – Tomorrow I have to get to office early. So let us see – if I need to reach by 9, I need to wake up at 7, wash up by 7:15, exercise till 7:40, have bath by 8, have breakfast by 8:15 and leave; drive to work and reach by 8:55, just in time before the big meeting.
But, snooze alters it all. It is amazing how the brain can calculate a series of events with such clarity and precision when in deep sleep. So your brain starts doing the Gantt Chart all over again from last night. It now calculates that the Snooze alarm can be hit a few more times than originally planned (which was zero) and I could still get to the meeting. So the alarm rings at 7, I hit snooze. It becomes 7:15 – an alarm goes off in my head remembering the original allocation of this time resource. That is when I figure that it takes exactly 2 minutes to brush my teeth, 0.15 minutes to wash my face and even lesser to wipe my ***. The clock ticks on, my friend because time and tide wait for no woman. After a few dozen snoozes, I realize that it MUST be later than I imagined. I look at the clock: it says 7:35…which means I have 5 minutes to exercise according to my old schedule. But today I am feeling out of sorts, tired, physically incapable and most importantly sleepy. And when I do Yoga in my sleep, ‘Shavasan’ is pretty much what I get done. At 7:55, I make my peace with sleep. I finish every washable feat in 20 minutes, wonder why people should have to eat breakfast and run out at 8:15. Point is: I still reach in time.
My brilliant brain 101: Ok, try this. Keep one alarm on your phone and another on your partner’s. If you don’t have one (I meant phone alarm), keep one in an actual clock. Set them for different start times. You will notice that the brain reacts differently to different alarm sounds, snooze durations and the interval at which they beep. In the cacophonies that the two alarms orchestrate, you cannot sleep. You notice that your brain cannot calculate the LCM very efficiently and so it gets confused with the different intervals, thus becoming unpredictable and less sleep-friendly.
The solution to tackle this devil if you want to is make your alarm do a random cycle. Nandan would suggest a prime number cycle, but then again he is just dealing with his own math-diffidence issues there. The alarm should ring in a Fibonacci series, only going backwards…which will become a crescendo of sorts: 13,8,5,3,2,1 But then again I am just dealing with my math-over-confidence issues here