Consumer Electronics & Appliance News, Reviews & Information.

Aug 12

Dorm Room 101: Is your alarm clock your friend?

Waking up is tough at any age

Waking up is tough at any age. (Photo by Lars Ploughmann. Used under Creative Commons)

Every morning in my house there’s an epic battle that gets waged between my pillow and my alarm clock(s).

On one side is my pillow, representing comfort, sleep, and fluffiness.

On the other are my alarm clocks, representing. . . waking up. And probably responsibility and other forces of good. I guess.

I’d like to say that every morning I side with my alarm, that I bid a fond farewell to the pillow and stand up bright, energetic, and ready to face the day. I’d like to say that, but it’s not true. I generally hit the snooze button.

A lot.

But, years of practice have given me some secret weapons that I use to wake up. Secret weapons that may help you, o student, in your never-ending quest to be on-time and fed for your 8 a.m. classes.

Hide your alarm clock

Before you go to bed, hide your alarm clock somewhere that it can still be clearly heard from, but isn’t within easy reach.

Hide an seek with an alarm clock seems like it would be less challenging when you’re the one who did the original hiding. But, when you’re still rubbing sleep from your eyes, trying to wrestle out of your sheets (or just rolling off the top of your mattress. . . though that’s as gross as it sounds and you really should get some sheets), and clawing your way over the laundry pile, it can be the most challenging thing ever. By the time you find it, and shut it off, you’ll probably be awake and ready to go.

Just try not to go back to bed.

Really, really try not to go back to bed.

Bed shaking alarms

When I used to sleep on a futon, the bed-shaking alarm was one of my “favorite” types of alarm clocks, because it really worked as advertised. There’s nothing quite like the combination of loud noise and unexpected motion to jar you out of dreamland.

The downside to this alarm is that with heavier or larger beds, it doesn’t work quite as well. They suggest putting it under your pillow, but if you’re like me you probably toss and turn enough to easily dislodge the shaker from your pillow.

Of course, their effectiveness may be their greatest weakness as well. I recommend not keeping anything heavy enough to crush the alarm near it, because there are some mornings. . .

Multiple alarms

I’ve saved the best (or worst) solution for last. Multiple alarms work because even if you can snooze or disable one alarm, it’s much harder for you to ignore 3 or 4 alarms.

The secret to this strategy is to keep them all in different places, and to give yourself at least one alarm within easy reach. This alarm is your dummy alarm.

The others should be spread out throughout the room (you can even hide one or two if you’re feeling particularly motivated). Make sure they’re timed to go off in 3-4 minute intervals — just enough time to find one, but not enough time to drift back to sleep if you ignore them. Done right, this will work 100% of the time, 82.5% of the time (percentages based on data gathered Thursday morning).

Of course, one downside to this is that your roommates (or spouse) may not be as excited by the prospect of 4-5 alarms going off every morning. Use with caution.

Do you have a secret strategy that gets you up in the morning? Let me know in the comments.


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