Bas Five More Minutes: Why the Snooze Alarm is a Lazy Person’s Greatest Frenemy

Humour

Bas Five More Minutes: Why the Snooze Alarm is a Lazy Person’s Greatest Frenemy

Illustration: Ahmed Sikander

Wake up with a smile, and the rest of your day will be a happy one.” I was offered this piece of advice from my grandmother when I was six, making a face while having upma for breakfast. The reason for my sour disposition at sunrise wasn’t the upma (okay, it was, but only partly), but simply the fact that I’m not a morning person. Asking me to wake up with a smile is like asking Vivek Agnihotri to be best friends with Ravish Kumar. The rules of reality will need to be altered before that happens.

However, this fundamental inability to enjoy a sunrise hasn’t stopped me from trying to find the wisdom of grandma’s words. Even though I still never wake up with a smile, it’s not for want of trying. At first, I thought I’d get a customised alarm tone in the hope that the strains of my favourite songs would help me rise with a positive attitude. The only problem was that I ended up enjoying the songs so much that I would let the alarm ring until the song ended, then hit the snooze button so that I could listen to it again in five minutes. Somewhere between the third and fifth replay, I’d realise that I was oversleeping and roll out of bed in a frantic rush. That explains why I cannot bear to listen to Pour Some Sugar on Me, Hooked on a Feeling, or Immigrant Song without feeling like I’m running terribly late for college, even if the songs are playing at midnight, and I haven’t set foot in a classroom in over five years.

It was only after I decided to stop ruining my favourite pieces of music for myself that I realised the problem wasn’t the tracks, but the snooze alarm. This little innovation in alarm clock technology, is a lazy person’s best friend and worst enemy, all at once. The proverbial “five more minutes” of blissful slumber that it offers you are impossible to resist, but those five minutes can very sneakily turn into 15, or even 50, and before you know it, you’re trying to brush, have a shower, and pack your tiffin all at the same time.

When the rise of the machines finally takes place, as predicted by Elon Musk and The Terminator, alarm clocks will be among the cruellest of our robot overlords.

The worst thing the snooze alarm does is make you think that those five minutes will contribute to you feeling better rested, when in fact, the opposite is true. The problems, according to author of the book Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes Maria Konnikova, writes, “If you manage to drift off again, you are likely plunging your brain back into the beginning of the sleep cycle, which is the worst point to be woken up — and the harder we feel it is for us to wake up, the worse we think we’ve slept.”

Sorry dadi, but waking up with a smile then is pretty difficult, especially when you know there will be 100 messages on your office WhatsApp group asking for your location.

I think that along with the nuclear bomb, alarm clocks are among humanity’s worst inventions. How did we all universally agree that we’d begin our day with a mechanical banshee shrieking at us and disturbing our beauty sleep? When the rise of the machines finally takes place, as predicted by Elon Musk and The Terminator, alarm clocks will be among the cruellest of our robot overlords.

Unfortunately, we’ve reached a “can’t live with, can’t live without” point. Sure, I could throw mine in the trash, but then I’d have to rely on my body clock, and given my proclivity to treat 3 am as bedtime, that won’t end well. Therefore, I’ve accepted its presence as a necessary evil in my life, with the snooze button being the White Witch that provides the illusion of control over my sleep cycle.

Nowadays, I’ve reverted to the pre-installed alarm tones available on my phone. I can’t ruin another favourite song for myself. The tone I’ve chosen to go with is a blaring, urgent blast that mimics a nuclear bomb warning. It’s an apt choice, one that perfectly sums up my love-hate relationship with the snooze button. It acts as a cautionary reminder that something bad is about to happen very soon – but at least I get five more minutes to prepare.

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