Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The cat alarm clock, a work in progress

In theory, a cat toy could make a great alarm clock. That is, if your cat jumped on the bed precisely at the time you desired to wake up every morning and started batting his toy around the foot of the bed. As most cat owners know, this is almost never going to happen.

Not only is my "jingly-bell feather" alarm highly variable, it is very hard to turn off, and there is no snooze feature. In the throes of sleepiness, my solution is a little sleight-of-hand. I snatch the toy and quickly stash it under my pillow. Max is baffled and rather quickly exits the mattress.

IF you could set the alarm for the same time every morning and IF you could develop reliable snooze technology (getting up, throwing the toy down the hallway, then waiting for the cat to bring the toy back to the bed exactly 9 minutes later), then the cat alarm clock would surely be a hot ticket item. The folks in R&D should get right on that.

For some non-feline related snooze button lore and advice, read on:

Why are snooze alarms on a 9-minute cycle, rather than a more logical 10-minute increment?

Jeff Elder at Jewish World Review offers one answer: "By setting the snooze time to 9 minutes, modern digital alarm clocks only needs to watch the last digit of the time. So, if you hit snooze at 6:45, the alarm goes off again when the last digit hits 4 — at 7:54. They couldn't make the snooze period 10 minutes, or the alarm would go off right away — or the clock would take more circuitry."

And how many of us actually use the snooze?

More from Elder: "If you smack a snooze button, you ain't sleepin' alone. According to USA Today, more than a third of American adults hit the snooze button every morning an average of three times. Snooziest group? The 25- to 34-year-olds — 57 percent of them hit the snooze button daily. Peppiest risers? It's the seniors. Only 10 percent of Americans over 65 regularly use their snooze button."

For those who can't resist postponing their day just a little longer, psychology professor Ken Carter has this advice:

"I always tell my students to avoid the snooze at all costs! It's basically forcing yourself to relive the worst part of your day over and over and over again."

Oh, Dr. Ken. You feel my pain.

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