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Alarm Clocks for Heavy Sleepers? 340

Posted by Cliff
from the air-horns-tied-to-a-cron-job dept.
jonadab asks: "I'm a heavy sleeper. I wake up gradually. Sometimes it takes quite a bit to get me cognizant in the morning. I've been known to sleep through alarms entirely, or shut them off before fully awake and later not remember doing so. It's not that I don't get enough sleep (I go to bed at night when I get sleepy), but my body tends to want a day longer than 24 hours, and I have to use an alarm to keep myself on a constant schedule with the rest of the world; otherwise, I get up a little later each day and pretty soon I'm sleeping till noon. So I'm always in search of a better alarm clock. Maybe some of you have experience with alarm clocks that you particularly like"

"Here are some features I'd particularly like to have (though anything that's good at waking a heavy sleeper is worth mentioning, even if it doesn't have all these features):

  • Gets progressively louder until snoozed. Starts louder with each successive snooze.
  • Max volume slightly painful, but not physiologically dangerous. An air compressor and train whistle is probably overkill.
  • Easy to snooze, but hard to accidentally turn off completely. Bonus points if turning it off means being cognizant enough to operate a screwdriver or tool of some kind.
  • Snooze time gets geometrically shorter each iteration (e.g., half as long as the previous) so that there's a maximum total snooze time that can be approached assymptotically.
  • Has battery backup so that it will operate during a power outage, at least to keep time. (I _could_ just stick it on the UPS, but do I really want to spend a UPS outlet for an alarm clock?) This is a feature my current clock has (takes a nine-volt battery), but even better would be a rechargeable that will even operate the alarm during a power outage.
  • Can be set to always go off at the same time every day, so I don't have to remember to set it at night unless I need to get up at a different time than usual.
  • Has some kind of cool feature with geek appeal -- but not binary time display; I need to be able to read the time when mostly asleep.
Cost does matter, but I'm willing to pay somewhat more than the going rate for an ordinary alarm clock, because this is obviously a bit of a specialty item. But I don't want to pay a totally outrageous sum; at worst I could build one out of commodity computer parts and a nice set of speakers for probably three hundred bucks or so, so please, nothing more expensive than that. Bonus points if it's more like $50-75."

If you were going to go the route of building a cheap computer to do this, what software would you use to do it?

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Alarm Clocks for Heavy Sleepers?

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  • me too (Score:5, Informative)

    by SuperguyA1 (90398) * on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:32PM (#7883918) Homepage
    I had the same problem, sleeping through classes/Finals/Work/Dates. Not exactly what you were looking for but I got an alarm [easylinkuk.co.uk] for the deaf which worked great(I didn't have this exact model but you get the idea). you can put it in your pillow. I used to wear a sock to bed and keep it in there. It never failed to wake me up.
    • Re:me too (Score:5, Funny)

      by outlier (64928) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:50PM (#7884172)
      I've wanted to build a modified version of the game Simon. When the alarm goes off, you'd have to demonstrate that you are awake by repeating a random pattern of button presses on the clock. As the number of snoozes increased, the pattern length would get longer. I figure that would wake you up...

      Of course, I can't solder so I'll have to wait for someone else to build it.

    • Sleep Apnea (Score:3, Interesting)

      by avoelker (553711)
      You might consider having a sleep clinic check you out for sleep apnea. Just a thought, in case you haven't considered it.
    • Re:me too (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      There are 2 types of these clocks (I'm deaf w/o my hearing aids, so I use one). The one type is travel-alarm sized, with the vibrator integrated. The other (better, though more expensive) is like a regular clock (sits on a bedside table, often has 2-3 inch letters for the visually impaired), and has a 1/8 inch (3.5 mm?) plug on the side that the vibrator plugs into.

      The second type is far superior, as it runs off of AC, rather than battery, so the vibrations are much stronger.
  • Learn To Sleep! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by duffbeer703 (177751) * on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:35PM (#7883958)
    Instead of buying obnoxious alarm clocks and waking up your neighbors, why don't you just try sleeping like a normal person?

    Your brain produces various chemicals that signal your body when it is time to sleep. Sleep runs in cycles that run between 3-4 hours... the more regular the cycle, the better everything works.

    Pick a 30 minute window that will be your bedtime and stick to it. If things in your life make that impossible, change them. A healthy adult require something between 6-8 hours of sleep. The more regular your sleep pattern, the less sleep you need. Eventually you'll automatically wake up whenever, and will actually feel good in the morning, instead of being the walking zombie that you are now.

    Sleep patterns are incredibly important to your body. In studies of shift workers, people who rotate shifts "backwards" (ie working 12AM to 8AM one week, 4PM to 12AM the next) have accident rates 40% higher than people who rotate "forwards" (ie working 4PM to 12AM one week, 12AM to 8AM the next). Other studies linked increased risks of heart attacks & high blood pressure and car accidents to irregular sleep patterns.

    Don't let the excuse "I'm too busy" or "I work better at night" stop you from getting a good night's rest.
    • I agree, it sounds like you may not be getting the "quality" of sleep you really need. I would suggest taking a Melatonin suppliment before bedtime.
      • Re:Learn To Sleep! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Descartes (124922) on Monday January 05, 2004 @06:47PM (#7885419) Homepage
        Gasp! No!

        Melatonin is good for getting over jetlag, etc. But relying on it on a regular basis will only make things worse. If you take melatonin your body responds by producing less == worse sleep.

        I had some trouble with insomnia and my Aunt (who is a Psych nurse practitioner) suggested I try an SSRI (ie. prozac, paxil, etc.). Apparantly insomnia is often triggered by the a deficiency of Seratonin, which can be fixed with Prozac and the like. Note: just because these are mainly depression medications doesn't mean you have to be depressed to take them.

        I ended up fixing my sleep problems by getting a latex foam matress pad from CostCo (about $120) instead 'cause I don't have insurance to pay for meds.

        Ask you doctor, there are non narcotic pharmacological solutions to this problem.
    • Re:Learn To Sleep! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Zathrus (232140) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:56PM (#7884241) Homepage
      Instead of buying obnoxious alarm clocks and waking up your neighbors, why don't you just try sleeping like a normal person?

      This was my first reaction too... going to sleep "when you feel tired" is a losing game. Of course you sleep later and later -- you're probably going to bed later (or going to bed at random times as your body desperately tries to figure out a schedule, which means you're varying sleep amounts by as much as 4 hours a night on a regular basis).

      Look, I'm a narcoleptic. I know about sleeping. Don't take caffeine after ~5 pm (chocolate is usually ok, just stay off the caffeinated beverages). Don't take catnaps in that time either (a 15 minute nap may be all you need to get REM sleep in -- it's all I need at times -- and you won't be sleepy for hours afterwards). And keep your sleep pattern as regular as possible. Even though I'm a narcoleptic I'll sleep 7 hours and then be awake. If I vary things then I pay for it -- usually by not being able to sleep until 3-4 am the next night.

      Oh, and to address the original poster -- get a regular, loud alarm clock. Position it so that you must walk to turn it off. If you find that you are getting out of bed, turning the alarm off, and getting back into bed, without remembering doing so, then you need to see a doctor. They'll probably refer you to a sleep clinic. Go. I know if I had when I was in high school I wouldn't have slept through every class from 7th grade until I graduated college (not every day, but at least once in every course). I'm on medication now which helps, but it doesn't do it all. I still need a fairly regular sleep schedule.
    • Turn on the light (Score:4, Insightful)

      by aoteoroa (596031) on Monday January 05, 2004 @05:10PM (#7884375)
      Just as a dark room helps us sleep. . . light helps us wake up. How about getting a bedroom light that plugs into the wall and use a simple timer from RadioShack as a supplement to your alarm.
      • Just as a dark room helps us sleep. . . light helps us wake up. How about getting a bedroom light that plugs into the wall and use a simple timer from RadioShack as a supplement to your alarm.

        The problem with that solution is the natural function of the human iris. At night, when dark, it opens as wide as possible to allow any small amount of light to enter. When you suddenly turn on a light, especially when you're groggy and aren't fully conscious enough to adjust yourself, you'll wind up with a headac

    • why don't you just try sleeping like a normal person?

      He *is* sleeping like a normal person. He goes to sleep when he's sleepy, and wakes up when he's refreshed, the latter of which is sadly interrupted by an alarm clock.

      I should also point out that everyone, save for a few persons, have an internal clock outside the standard 24 hour day that approaches 25 hours. If you were to sleep/wake/sleep/wake for about a week, without interruptions, you'd slowly move about until you hit around a 25 hour day.
      • I think the point people are making is that you go to bed at a regular time. Not just when you feel sleepy.
      • I should also point out that everyone, save for a few persons, have an internal clock outside the standard 24 hour day that approaches 25 hours. If you were to sleep/wake/sleep/wake for about a week, without interruptions, you'd slowly move about until you hit around a 25 hour day.

        That's a myth based on very bad science. Our body clock is 24 hours. (Or 24 hours and 11 minutes, if you are to believe the jokers at Harvard Medical School.)

  • Simple. (Score:4, Funny)

    by hookedup (630460) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:36PM (#7883971)
    I used to be the same way, sleeping through alarms, turning them off before fully waking, until I got a wife. :)
    • Simple??? (Score:5, Funny)

      by hummassa (157160) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:42PM (#7884061) Homepage Journal
      Remember, he does not want an uber-expensive solution (and half your assets counts as pretty expensive to:)
    • My wife nudges me once and that is it. She got tired of dragging me out of bed. Now she will actually shut the alarm clock off for me if I don't get up quick enough. I guess it is teaching me to wake up sooner.

      Although I found having kids a great way to get up. My son is up every morning at 7 AM, or earlier.
    • Just the opposite for me. I used to wake up at exactly the same time every day to my alarm. Never a problem. Now that I'm married, I sleep later and later and she has to drag me out of bed. I think it's because I have less responsibility in the morning. I used to have to get up, make the coffee, iron clothes, make lunch, etc. Now I just make coffee and hop in the shower. She irons and makes lunches and stuff. I'd offer to help, but why the hell would I want to do that?!
  • by lostindenver (53192) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:36PM (#7883975)
    http://www.appealinggifts.com/screaming-alarm-cloc k.html
  • Fake It (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Nutcase (86887) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:37PM (#7883977) Homepage Journal
    I had this problem sometimes. The first time I overslept for work, I felt like a tool and worked out a solution.

    Set an alarm clock next to your bed. Any ordinary one will do. Use the buzzer setting, and set it for 15 minutes earlier than you need.

    Set ANOTHER clock on the far side of your room, with the volume max and the buzzer setting, and set it for 5 minutes earlier than you need.

    I sleep through the first, but it makes my brain flinch. The second wakes me up from my already semi-woken state. YMMV.

    Also, from a sleep schedule point of view - stop going to bed when you get sleepy. Figure out your morning wake up time, and go to bed 9-10 hours earlier than that at the latest... whether you feel sleepy or not. Eventually you will get used to the schedule, and things will get better. It's about practice. ;)
  • You might consider going to bed 8 - 9 hours before you set your alarm. I know personally that I don't always get sleepy at night, especially if I am programming away or playing a good game. Schedule your bed time just like you schedule your wake up time.

    Also, there is something to be said for consistancy - go to bed and get up the same time every day. Occasional exceptions are ok, but the more regular you are the better.

    Even if you find yourself laying in bed unable to go to sleep the first few times,
  • xmms alarm plugin (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kipple (244681) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:38PM (#7883996) Journal
    does exactly what you said. you can lock your screen with a screensaver (so you'll have to enter a password, and being cogniscent), and maybe set up your BIOS to turn the computer on at a given time, if it is supported.

    also, every day you can wake up with a different music to get a different mood (ever heard about 'mood organs' in "do android dream electric sheeps"?)

    cheers
    • My friend got a SliMP3 [slimp3.com] for xmas from his parents. One of the *many* cool features is that it can act as an alarm clock. Can't wake up to music? Use an internet radio stream of a talk show, or record some obnoxious sound to use in a loop. It doesn't require a massive stereo either. You can easily hook-it up to a cheap-o pair of computer speakers. Either way, you get an alarm clock and a stereo for your room.

      Caveats: It doesn't fit in that "doesn't need a battery" category. It also doesn't fit in the
    • I have used a cron task to wake myself up for three years. Previously I had to move an alarm clock all the way across my room and obstruct it with objcts so I wouldn't sleep turn it off.

      Three years later, I am now able to login to my computer, open a shell, and kill the alarm task without ever properly waking up.

      Its an arms race I feel I'll be running the rest of my life.
  • Lights help, too (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dschuetz (10924) <slash@d a v i d . d a s n et.org> on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:38PM (#7883999) Homepage
    We've found that having a bright light on a timer (X10 does nicely) helps, too. There's nothing like having 150 watts of "oh my god turn that off" on your eyes to wake you up. Actually, I think it subtly starts the wakeup process, which completes when the loud alarm goes off a couple minutes later.

    Of course, if your wakeup time is after sunrise, this probably won't help much. :)

    You could always rig up a smoke detector buzzer, but that's probably not something you should really get sensitized to....
    • Re:Lights help, too (Score:3, Informative)

      by MountainLogic (92466)
      I've seen a number of clock radio alarms that have an AC outlet on the back. Nothing wakes me up like bright daylight. Depending on your schedule/environment leave your bed room curtins open and have daylight help you. Another goof-ball option for the smoke detector buzzer in the parent you could hook an alarm to start a toster set to "burnt" and have it set the smoke detector off.
    • I completely agree. I no longer have much trouble getting up (I go to bed on time and get up on time everyday - even weekends so I'm not jetlagging myself every week) but back in the day I had a small electronic timer and a compact flourescent bulb. The timer was set to come on about 10 minutes before the alarm clock and, since many CF light bulbs tend to get brighter as the warm up it provided a sort of ramp-up light. It also only came on on the weekend.

      Next, my clock-radio would start.

      Finally, as a back
  • by Captain Pedantic (531610) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:38PM (#7884004) Homepage

    While you are falling asleep, imagine a clock showing the time you want to wake up.

    I am a very heavy sleeper - to the extent that someone was able to get a locksmith to drill through the security lock on a door with me 10 metres (or 11 yards if you are a NASA scientist) away - but this works for me, and I just need the three chimes of a standard palm pilot alarm to remind me to get up.
  • 24 hours (Score:5, Interesting)

    by isorox (205688) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:39PM (#7884022) Homepage Journal
    Most people prefer a 24 hour day. I used to live a 26 - 26.5 hour day when I was a student, now I prefer about 25 hours. Thing to do is cycle round. Assume 8 hours sleep and need to be up by 8AM. Go to sleep at 9PM monday, 10PM tuesday, 11PM wednesday, 12PM thursday, then stay up all night friday, until arround 6PM saturday, then get 12 hours sleep and go to bed at 8PM sunday. Probably not healthy, but I've done it before, and when I start shift work in a few months I'll be doing something similar to get back onto days.

    Another thing: Turn everything off (even the PC) and lie in bed for an hour. You should be asleep unless it's ridicuously early.

    For waking up, I need to be up at 8:30AM at the moment to leave at 9:30AM. I set the 3 alarms on my mobile phone, 8AM, 8:15 and 8:25, and plug it in on the other side of the room. I also set my normal radio alarm clock to come on quietly at 7:30AM (when wogan comes on), and stay on until 8:30AM (meaning I have to get up to turn it back on).

    I used to have a cron job of "cat /dev/urandon > /dev/dsp" too, but I'm getting better now.

    Keep the clock out of reach, once you get up you'll stay up.
    • Unfortunately this is job-unfriendly unless you happen to be on flexitime. With my previous employer, which was a small company that didn't care when you turned up provided you worked X hours a week at home or in the office, I could and did try the 25-hour-a-day thing. Didn't work well for me, but I know others who have seen benefits. Now I have a 9-4 job, there's no fookin chance!
  • by BeatdownGeek (687929) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:40PM (#7884034) Homepage
    Google search [google.com].

    I go to college with a large deaf population. You would need to be able to sleep through an earthquake to be able to miss this.

  • 113dB alarms (Score:5, Informative)

    by JasonMaggini (190142) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:41PM (#7884044)
    *Cough*Google*Cough*

    This site [sonicalert.com] advertises clocks for the hearing-impared that register up to 113 decibels, and have gadgets that shake the bed and flash lamps.

    These clocks [now-zen.com] seems a little more subtle, though.

    • This site [sonicalert.com] advertises clocks for the hearing-impared that register up to 113 decibels

      I got one of the Sonic Boom alarms for my wife, who manages to sleep through just about anything. It does the trick. Fortunately, I usually get up before her, but on days when she has to get up early I nearly fall out of bed when the damn thing goes off. She refers to it as the "Wake The Dead Alarm Clock".

      • Funny, I call my trusty ol' RadioShack VoxClock 3 the "Alarm Clock of the Apocalypse" because of the thouroughly-annoying alarm tone. It isn't a buzzer, it's a fanfare-style deal that seems like psyops torture to me and my wife.

        It has two alarms, and battery backup, etc. But it's DREADFULLY easy to deactivate the alarm instead of hitting Snooze. I need more than two hands to count the number of times I've been late because of it...

        GTRacer
        - If I have to lose a third of my life to sleep, can't we get so

    • I'll second the zen alarm clocks. They're a bit pricey (>$100 for some) but I always had trouble waking up until I got one of them.
      Another option is have an X-10 module gradually turn on a halogen lamp. "Good morning merry sunshine!"
  • Have you seriously tried going to bed before you get tired, and or having a set 8 hours each night. Say hmm I have to get up at 6am I will goto bed at 10 no matter how sleepy I am. Sure you won't fall asleep at first but you'll get used to it after a few days. Extra points for actually doing stuff during the day that make you tired. Anyways I love my alarm clock it sets itself automatically (from some radio signal or something not quite sure) has a good battery backup to keep your alarm settings. And you ca
  • RCA RP3715 (Score:5, Informative)

    by aspjunkie (265714) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:42PM (#7884066) Homepage
    I've got an RCA RP3715A, that i think was no more than $20-$30cdn, but does most of what you're looking for. http://www.rca.com/product/viewdetail/0,2588,PI459 18,00.html [rca.com].

    - Has two different alarms that can be set, and will then go off at those times every day without having to be reset. (Music and what I like to call Insane-O-Wake)

    - The "tone" (Insane-O-Wake) alarm starts quietly and gets progressively louder, and this thing is VERY LOUD, it wakes up both my roomates who are a few feet down the hall and on occasion think the alarm is in their room, if i'm i'm not there to turn it off (a downside to having it not need to be reset).

    - It has the option of a 9v battery to keep time if the power goes off
    - Large easy to hit snooze button, if you hold down the snooze button, the snooze duration increases..

    It's great, I'd highly reccommend it. Although my roomates might not.

    Cheers,
    • I have an alarm clock that looks a lot like that one, but has one less button on the top. Mine behaves in roughly the same way, but in order to turn the alarm off and have it on for tomorrow, I must hit the on/off button without hitting snooze (i.e., I can't hit snooze to get rid of the noise and then easily turn off the alarm until tomorrow). Is yours like that?
      • Nope, once mine are set, I can hit snooze all i want, as well as turn it off and everything's back to the same the next day. There's a cancel button on mine that you use to disable the alarms, so that they don't come on, but to use that you have to press Cancel, then choose the alarm you want to cancel. Unless you do that, the alarms will go off day after day.
  • Get a loud alarm clock and put it so far out of reach that you have to get out of bed to shut it off.

    (Don't get back into bed after doing that.)

    JP

  • I use one of those old fashioned wind up alarms. The noise was loud enough in college that it would wake people down the hall (scarily enough, I could sleep through it!) The key to the trick though was to put it on the other side of the room- if I had to get out of bed to shut it off, I was ok.
  • Suggestion (Score:4, Informative)

    by Ianoo (711633) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:48PM (#7884145) Journal
    Something like this [oregonscientific.co.uk]?
    Gets progressively louder until snoozed. Starts louder with each successive snooze.
    Not quite, but the bleep noise is painful and they get more and more frequent until you shut the damned thing off.
    Max volume slightly painful, but not physiologically dangerous. An air compressor and train whistle is probably overkill.
    See above.
    Easy to snooze, but hard to accidentally turn off completely. Bonus points if turning it off means being cognizant enough to operate a screwdriver or tool of some kind.
    Snooze = hit the thing on the top, turn off = small button not easily found in the dark. The thing has two separate alarms, I usually set one about 30 minutes after the first.
    Snooze time gets geometrically shorter each iteration (e.g., half as long as the previous) so that there's a maximum total snooze time that can be approached assymptotically.
    Not quite that complicated, but since it has two alarms, you can set one after the other (see above), so if you space them sensibly you can approximate this equation ;).
    Has battery backup so that it will operate during a power outage, at least to keep time. (I _could_ just stick it on the UPS, but do I really want to spend a UPS outlet for an alarm clock?) This is a feature my current clock has (takes a nine-volt battery), but even better would be a rechargeable that will even operate the alarm during a power outage.
    It's battery operated.
    Has some kind of cool feature with geek appeal -- but not binary time display; I need to be able to read the time when mostly asleep.
    It projects the time on to a surface (such as your wall or roof) with big red numbers. If you focus it properly, and make it sufficiently far away so that it's nice and big, I can see and read the time despite being nastily shortsighted.
  • Puzzle Alarm Clock (Score:5, Informative)

    by nookieman (548184) <.kd.eikoon. .ta. .leik.> on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:48PM (#7884147)
    How about the Puzzle Alarm Clock [hard2buy4.co.uk] that requires you to solve a small puzzle in order to turn it off.

  • by wowbagger (69688) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:49PM (#7884155) Homepage Journal
    If you are having problems getting up, then DON'T USE SNOOZE!

    You are just training yourself in a bad habit - "Don't need get up. Go sleep more. Noise not important".

    Instead, put whatever you use to awaken yourself out of reach of the bed - preferably on the other side of the room. MAKE yourself get up and walk over to the alarm to turn it off. Then, KEEP MOVING - go fix your coffee or whatever you do when you get up.

    Speaking of coffee - should you be an imbiber of morning caffinated hot beverages, invest in a timer controlled coffee pot. Set it to start about 10 minutes before your alarm goes off. Put it in a place where the aroma of brewing coffee (or whatever) will reach you.

    Most people are training themselves to be insomniacs - watching TV or reading in bed, staying up to catch that "gotta see it" show instead of sleeping when they are tired, hitting snooze in the mornings. Beds should be used for two things only - sleep and sex. Anything else should be done elsewhere.

    I trained myself to go to sleep within minutes of hitting the bed in college, when I had Calc II at 7:30 and my next class was at 10:30 - go to calc, go back to room, sleep some more, then go to chemistry. I refined this when I was working 80 hours a week at my first job - go home over lunch, catch a 30 minute powernap, then back to work. As I understand it, this is also what the various military services train you to do - "Don't stand if you can sit. Don't sit if you can lie down. If you can lie down, go to sleep."
    • If you are having problems getting up, then DON'T USE SNOOZE!

      I totally agree with this one. It works best when you combine it with your body's natural alarm clock [bbc.co.uk]. Maybe this doesn't work for everyone, but I've found if I just think about what time I need to wake up in the morning, and how many hours of sleep that's going to entail, I'll wake up fairly close to that time naturally. Then I just set my alarm clock really loud and obnoxious for 10 minutes later, just in case, and the vast majority of the

    • Beds should be used for two things only - sleep and sex.

      You left out perhaps building a small fort, too!

      (Simpsons reference, if you don't get it, it should get out less)
    • I agree with this.

      If you have time to mess around with the snooze then set your alarm later and don't ever hit the snooze button. You'll get more quality sleep this way.
    • I once thought as you did. I desoldered the snooze button from my clock.

      I soon found that I would turn it off instead, and immediately go back to sleep. I also disabled the off switch. I would unplug it, and THEN go back to sleep. Switching to a battery-clock didn't help either.

      The only thing I can think of that would help is a clock with microswitches under the feet of the bed, so it _knows_ when I get up.
    • Beds should be used for two things only - sleep and sex.

      What is this 'sex' you speak of?
  • Apnea? (Score:5, Informative)

    by limekiller4 (451497) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:50PM (#7884162) Homepage
    I realize this isn't quite what you were asking, but consider going to a sleep clinic.

    Do you snore? Is your neck bigger than 16"? If either of these are true, odds are decent that you have sleep apnea. I do. Or rather "did." Had my uvula and tonsils taken out (plus had my septum straightened, it was heavily deviated).

    When I wake up, it feels like I'm drugged. Literally. I wish I knew why, too. Once apnea was diagnosed, I assumed that going through surgery would stop this drug-like trance from happening. It didn't, but it helped a little. Plus I don't snore at all any more. It used to keep my former girlfriend up all night.

    Sorry for rambling. I guess what I'm saying is that I'll be reading the replies to your post because I have the same needs/problems when it comes to waking. And checking to see if you have apnea could actually save your life while making your sleep a lot more restful.
    • My dad got one of those machines that applies mild air pressure to your nose all night long, keeping your soft palate from closing up when you exhale.

      He'd had all the surgery with mild results. He says the machine has changed his life. He looks like a translucent elephant when he wears it (and it looks like the weirdest sex toy ever, coiled next to the bed), but it lets him get restful sleep and it's ceased the wear and tear on his heart. Sleep apnea kills.
  • Most req's silly... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jrpascucci (550709) *
    Since cost is an issue, you're not going to get most of your (useless to the problem) requirements met. If I wanted to do so, I'd probably dedicate a (cheezy) computer to it and have to write the darn software myself. Luckily, I have more important things to worry about...

    I'd recommend the simple expedient of two alarm clocks.

    I went to Sears and bought a cheap Panasonic (iirc) alarm clock radio/cd with 2 alarms and progressive volume. (The progressive volume has a min setting and a max setting, but not a
    • I'm probably doing things wrong myself... but I go with the two clock setting.

      The first is set to the local country music station, I have to turn it off before I get a song stuck in my head(I don't like most country, no offense, just me). I get up, shower and crawl back under the warm covers again for about 10 minutes.

      The second alarm is unreachable from my bed, and is set half way between the local "new rock" station and the christian music station, so that you can hear both clearly on top of the other.
  • Amen, brother. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Elwood P Dowd (16933) <judgmentalist@gmail.com> on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:51PM (#7884181) Journal
    Easy to snooze, but hard to accidentally turn off completely. Bonus points if turning it off means being cognizant enough to operate a screwdriver or tool of some kind.

    I had exactly this problem. I solved it by getting an alarm clock loud enough to wake me up from across the room (RadioShack, $15 tops). Caltrops can be useful to make it so that walking across your room is difficult. Now I've trained myself pretty well to snooze rather than disable the alarm, but the walk across the room is helpful because it means that even getting up to hit snooze wakes me up a little.

    When I was in a smaller room (everything could be reached without getting out of bed), I wrapped packing tape around the off button on the alarm. I could only hit snooze unless I removed the tape.

    I can't tell you how many mornings I woke up struggling to remove that tape.

    The only way I've ever had decent sleeping habits was when I spent time outdoors away from any artificial light. Within 24 hours, I perfectly adjusted to falling asleep at sundown and waking just before sun up. Weird to think that I was going to sleep at 8:30 PM and waking up at 5:00 AM without any prompting.

    I wish I had the self control to do that normally.
    • I once (and only once) had an alarm clock where the alarm and snooze button were broken. The only way to stop the damned thing was to unplug it. It was working pretty well until I woke up one morning, and realized that I didn't have to go anywhere. When I tried to unplug it, it wouldn't come out - it was jammed behind the bed. So here I am, laying on my bed, eyes closed, slamming this clock against the basement floor, hearing it make sounds it was never meant to make. It finally died, and when I finall

  • I remember a USENET post from a few (10?) years ago from a guy that had trouble power-snoozing, so he wrote a program for his computer to play obnoxious WAV files continuously until he could successfully factor five random integers into their prime components.

    No, Google couldn't find the original post. (Sorry.)

    • I've tried something similar. The answer too often turned out to be the power cord.

      I've heard of people who set a cron job with 'rm -rf /' as serious incentive to get out of bed, but I don't have the balls.
  • by Organized Konfusion (700770) on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:55PM (#7884226) Journal
    Write a shell script to beep your pc speaker continually for 10 minutes after this time, it should preceed to rm -rf / *

    Set cron to start this script whatever time you want to wake up.

    When you hear the beeping you will run to your computer to send an interupt, the adrenaline rush will wake you up.
    • My similar idea was to use a nice quite alarm clock set for about 1 minute before one or more of those indestructable 120db monsters with no 'off' button is set to go off. After sleeping through it once and having to sprint from the room with hands over ears, the adrenalin rush upon waking to disable the loud clocks should be sufficent to keep you up.
  • I have exactly the same prob, and beside getting my mom to wake me up, what works is a radio on a timer for me. Its tuned to a news channel, and constant babble gets more of my attention and wakes me up much better than an alarm that I get USED to over time. The radio channel should be a news channel and not music, so theres some kind of talk that grabs your attention.

    Try this, else a clock with multiple alarms paced at 15 minutes. If you get up regularly daily for several months, you DO get tuned to that
  • A singing voice like hers can wake the dead.
  • by SolemnDragon (593956) * <solemndragon@ g m a i l.com> on Monday January 05, 2004 @04:58PM (#7884264) Homepage Journal
    Ten years ago, i used to be hell on alarm clocks. I had to put it on the far side of the room, because if i didn't, i'd just shut it off and go back to bed. (it's in the family; my brother can cheerfully sleep through an hour and a half of alarm clock, until somebody else in the household would get annoyed enough to go shut it off and kick him till he woke up.) I kept the one alarm clock plan in place until the morning i woke up smashing the thing against the shelf, because i couldn't figure out how to shut it off and wasn't really awake yet. It didn't work any more after that.

    Now, i have two alarm clocks- one at the head of the bed, and one across the room. The one at the head of my bed is my handheld, which has three alarms, each more annoying than the last. By the time the one across the room goes off, i'm ready to wake up... But in case i'm not, the handheld goes off fifteen minutes later, on the same set-of-three schedule. Eventually, it gets annoying enough to wake me completely.

    On an interesting side note, when we moved into a house that my family lived in some years back, one window was broken. Outwards. Lying in the broken glass- this was a real 'fixer-upper' of a house- was a rusted alarm clock. We looked at it for a moment, realised what had happened, and just laughed. (Remembering how early i've had to wake up for some of the times i've moved, i can honestly say it's only luck that i've never done the same.)

  • but my body tends to want a day longer than 24 hours,

    You and everybody else. Welcome to the human race, where the default normal physiology is perfectly adapted to a 25 hour day. Actually something like 24h 50-odd minutes, I think. Why 25 hours and not what actually exists? Nobody knows, but there are lots of theories (all untestable and unprovable).

  • 30 7 * * * zcat aumix -v30 ; madplay -z /media/music/*/*.mp3 &
    33 7 * * * zcat aumix -v35
    35 7 * * * zcat aumix -v40 .. and it's loud enough. I have a nice amp and speakers (150W RMS per channel).

    To switch it off I have to log in and "killall madplay", so I'm usually fairly awake by then.
  • for your needs. . .or not. A friend of mine uses a programmable X10 controller to gradually ramp up the room lights and stereo volume starting 30 min. or so before desired wake-up time. Required: the controller, either clock- or PC-driven; the newer lamp dimmer module(s) that'll start from "off" (the older ones have to start at full "on", then dim); X10->IR interface & emitter for the stereo. Browsing SmartHome [smarthome.com], it looks like the IR coupler for volume control is the expensive part; everything else
  • What I did for a while worked pretty good for a while, then my subconcious learned a way around it :|

    I had an old Performa 630 with a TV Card in it, had the TV app turn on at startup, and had the computer turn it self on abit before I wanted to wake up. Then I took the keyboard and stuck it in another room, so I'd have to take a small walk to shut it off. Now I have this nice GE clock radio with 2 alarms in it next to my bed along side a $10 "Super Loud" one I got from CVS, another one of those in the opis
  • Waking up in the morning is a matter of self-control !

    To help to the task, my old Nokia 6150 was very loud for the bell volume when used as alarm clck. Its rings gradually got louder until really loud and annoying. My current 6310i isn't quite as loud, which is a pity.

    The trick is to keep the phone sufficiently close to the bed that it will bother you enormously if you don't stop it, but far enough that you can't just extend your arm and turn it off without having to get up first. One person's desk (if

  • If you were going to go the route of building a cheap computer to do this, what software would you use to do it?

    Use a computer you're alright with having on all night, and find an alarm clock program that plays Mp3s at a specific time. Then crank your speakers up, it's sure to wake you up.

    If you have a Mac, there's a good one out there called Mp3 Alarm Clock [sugarcubesoftware.com] that has the features you wanted (reducing snooze time, gradual volume increase).

    I've been scaring myself awake for a couple of years now, and I'm
  • I have that problem too. I'm able to turn off the alarm clock without really being fully awake, and not remember ever doing so. It's a loud alarm clock, and I've put it out of reach where I have to get up and walk to turn it off, but I think it's just made me a better sleep walker.

    No extremely practical solutions come to mind though. Perhaps two alarm clocks on opposite sides of the room, set to go off maybe 20 minutes apart.
  • by iamsure (66666) on Monday January 05, 2004 @05:30PM (#7884606) Homepage
    I had at one point 3 alarms, at opposition points in the room for this very purpose.

    No more.

    Instead, I use a system tray application that plays mp3's as an alarm.

    Now heres the kicker - you have to right click on the icon in the system tray for it to deactivate.

    When your resolution is 1280+, and its first thing in the morning, you generally *will* wake up in the process of:

    Turning the $(*^ed monitor on
    Moving the sleeping cordless mouse
    Moving it to the system tray
    Right clicking the CORRECT icon

    As in that wasnt enough, I have two scheduled: one for early, and one for "I'm going to be late for work!".

    The controls to deactivate one or the other is not the kind of thing you can do without waking up.

    For the record, the MP3 I play is the sound clip from "So I married an Axe Murderer", in which Mike Meyers does the great routine about a kid with a huge head..

    "HEAD! PAPER! NOW!" (and it goes on for ~ 20 seconds and then loops).

    Very jarring, very loud, and yet, after over 100 days of hearing it, I still laugh when he says.. "That was offsides.. yeah, he's going to cry himself to sleep on his HUGE PILLOW".
  • I have the same problem. I'm going to go in for a sleep study, but until then, I rotate alarms. For me, it seems that after a while, I will get used to an alarm's sound and learn to ignore it. After selecting a new alarm sound (alarm clock beep, radio, palm pilot alarm, cel phone alarm) every 2-3 weeks, I wake up faster. Also, having something that lights up or vibrates helps, too.
  • by hal9000 (80652) on Monday January 05, 2004 @05:43PM (#7884741) Homepage
    I tend to be a heavy sleeper and lazy waker. When I was younger, the alarm volume used to get progressively louder (bumping it up a notch after sleeping through something important) until I had my stereo probably close to all the way up. Still overslept. The key, for me, was mind practice.

    When I go to sleep, I no longer just lie down and thoughtlessly drift into sleep. When I do that, I tend to wake up in the same state of mind: thoughtlessly drifting. When I lie down to sleep nowadays, I make my plan for the next morning. Even if it's the routine plan, I force myself to think about what time I need to be up and out of bed by. Bring it all to the front of my mind. What I've found is that, when I wake up after having done this, I feel prepared for the day and spring out of bed -- without residual sluggishness.

    And a cool side effect? My alarm clock radio is barely audible. It's as if preparing myself to hear that sound, the night before, makes actually picking it up from the depths of sleep really easy.

    Only time I oversleep anymore is when my liver needs a little extra rest.

    YMMV of course.
  • I found it much easier to wake up in the morning after I started to exercise. Also, losing weight helps since you don't have to get as much moving in the morning. ;)
  • This is the most common cause of not waking up on time, still feeling tired in the morning, and repeatedly waking up later in the day.

    In short, you are breathing incorrectly at night causing the effects of heavy sleep. your nasal passages are not getting any air for some reason or another and you are breathing through your mouth. If you wake up with dry mouth and/or clogged sinuses you more than likely have Sleep Apenia. Check with your doctor if you suspect that this is the problem.

    My problem was that
  • It's not that I don't get enough sleep (I go to bed at night when I get sleepy), but my body tends to want a day longer than 24 hours, and I have to use an alarm to keep myself on a constant schedule with the rest of the world; otherwise, I get up a little later each day and pretty soon I'm sleeping till noon.

    Logically only one of the following two things can be true given your description above:
    1) If you hold your bedtime constant, you sleep later and later each day until you are sleeping 24/7
    2) If y
  • My roomate in college used to have horrible problems sleeping through things.

    On extra important occasions, he'd activate the "Super Soaker Protocol"--

    Ten minutes before the designated wake-up time, I'd start loading the super-soaker, and every minute on the minute I'd give him a warning. Then he'd get a count-down for the last 30 seconds... and if he wasn't on his feet by the time the countdown hit zero, he knew damn well that he'd get soaked.

    He never once failed to get up... but I never gave up hope
  • 1. Go to your favorite cheep-o-discount store and pick up a timer that will handle a good wattage and a cheap smoke detector. Don't worry about how sensative it is, just get the loudest one they sell. Also might not be a bad idea to grab a fire extinguisher.
    2. Purchase a basic set of stereo speakers (ensure that they are of a lower wattage than your stereo can put out).
    3. Plug your stereo into your timer, turn the volume all the way up and remove the volume knob. (Do this while the timer is OFF). S
  • I have an alarm clock with numbers that are about 3 inches high, because I can't see very well without my contacts or glasses (even the distance from my bed to the alarm clock, less than a foot, is too much to read a normal clock).

    The makers of these clocks seem to think that because I'm blind, I'm also deaf. I have layers of black tape over the speaker in the back, and it's STILL quite loud. The first time I used it without black tape, my roommate and several neighbors were all trying to turn off their
  • A friend of mine is notorious for sleeping through alarm clocks.

    One day, as a gift, he received an alarm clock that was super loud. It looked like it was made in the 70's, it was huge and had that same "plastic that looks like wood" sort of decoration that my 83 Monte Carlo has... Nowadays, electronics are all smaller, more streamlined, more "japanese" feeling.

    Anyway, when I first heard it, I said it sounded like a foghorn, and that name, "The Foghorn", stuck, although it was a bit of a misnomer. On th
  • Screaming Meanie (Score:3, Interesting)

    by theonetruekeebler (60888) on Monday January 05, 2004 @06:52PM (#7885462) Homepage Journal
    Forget waking up gently. Get a Screaming Meanie. This is what truck drivers and endurance motorcyclists use to wake up. It's a timer, not a true clock, and it is way the hell loud. You can find one at any truck stop or buy one online for about twenty bucks.

    Don't bother snoozing. It's self-indulgent and offers less real benefit than going to bed twenty minutes earlier. If you have a very hard time waking up, you probably aren't sleeping as well as you should. Possibilities include excess sugar, caffeine or alcohol; sleep apnea; depression or anxiety; attention deficit disorder; or simple lack of exercise. Chances are that adjusting your caffeine intake and going for the occasional walk will make a substantial difference.

    The best thing about a Screaming Meanie is setting it for one hour and hiding it in somebody else's room. The second-best is that it is physically tough enough to throw violently across the room without suffering any damage.

  • Easy (Score:3, Funny)

    by Quirk (36086) on Monday January 05, 2004 @07:33PM (#7885888) Homepage Journal
    Kids
  • by phorm (591458) on Tuesday January 06, 2004 @01:37PM (#7892760) Journal
    I've found that sometimes setting my alarm up a few hours early helps. I get through the stumble phase, get some clothes rather, things set by the door, flop back to bed under a light pillow until alarm #2. For some reason this seems to satisfy my desire to "go back to bed" so that I feel better on the second waking. Also nice if you aren't sleeping well as you can adjust you comfort levels for the addition 2-3h sleep.
  • by bill_mcgonigle (4333) * on Wednesday January 07, 2004 @12:07AM (#7899835) Homepage Journal
    There was a news story a year or so ago about a german girl who invented an alarm bed lift. Basically, it lifts two legs of the bed a bit at a time until it dumps out the occupant. Her dad was an oversleeper, IIRC.

Never test for an error condition you don't know how to handle. -- Steinbach

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