Oh Christ. Where to begin?
Sonic Alert Inc., of Troy, Mich., is targeting a notoriously deep-sleeping demographic—college students—with the Sonic Bomb, the Sweetheart and, just in time for Halloween, the Skull. The three clocks have alarms that ring at up to 113 decibels—somewhere between “extremely loud” and “painful” and louder than a chain saw, as classified by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, a professional pathologists group in Rockville, Md.
Excellent. Piss off your neighbors. Perhaps destroy your hearing. Then hit snooze, and go right back to sleep. Repeat every nine minutes for the next hour or so. Because that’s what will happen, idiotic people who waste time and money developing this crap. Waking up isn’t the problem for most of us. It’s staying up that’s the problem. Staying up. Two very different things.
But fine. They misunderstand the problem. This can be forgiven, as clearly they don’t suffer from the problem. Where things really go wrong, though, is that they do understand the affect their proposed solutions will have on people.
Sound—particularly an annoying sound—will stimulate auditory nerves and send a message to the brain’s emergency circuits, which then stimulate production of adrenaline, akin to a fight-or-flight response.
Are you trying to kill us? Why, yes! Yes we are!
For someone in a relaxed, dreamy state, even a single jarring shock can have lingering effects, from increased anxiety to cardiovascular problems such as arrhythmia, where the heart rate jumps.
Look. I know you’re annoyed that you don’t sleep as soundly as I do, but threatening my heart health seems like an extreme reaction.
Medical experts say an ear-splitting burst of noise may not be the healthiest way to wake up.
The hell you say! In other news, medical experts also say that jumping off tall buildings isn’t the best way to stay alive. Arg. Anyhow. Okay. Early morning sonic boom isn’t the best idea. Let’s talk about another oft-bandied-about idea that doesn’t work. At all. Trust me.
Some clocks don’t rely on sound. “Dawn simulators” mimic the way early-morning light shines.
Something some of you know: I sleep with my shades open. I don’t need a dawn simulator. I experience actual dawn every day. And it doesn’t wake me up!!!
The “Peaceful Progression Wake Up Clock,” from Hammacher Schlemmer & Co., comes with aromatherapy beads in a variety of scents (“energy,” “morning café,” “stress relief” and “lavender”). At 30 minutes before wake-up, the clock’s light illuminates, warming the aroma beads and releasing the scent. (If that proves to be too soothing, you can choose to hear a beeping sound as well.)
Are these people high?? They even recognize that their solution might, in fact, be soothing. Soothing!!! So the logic goes something like this, I guess? “Beeping alarm clocks don’t wake people up. Let’s simulate the dawn and release the scent of ‘energy’ into the room. Once they’re really relaxed and happy, we’ll hit them with the same beeping that didn’t wake up when they were just sleeping like normal people.” Good God!
Other alarm clocks—made for snooze-button abusers—actually escape from the nightstand, forcing a person out of bed to turn them off. The Flying Alarm Clock, made by Princess International Inc., of Brooklyn, N.Y., has a propeller and flies into the air when the alarm rings—making a whirring sound similar to a helicopter’s. To make it stop, someone has to place it back on its stand.
Dear Princess International, Inc. of Brooklyn, NY: Last Saturday, I got out of bed at a semi-reasonable hour because I wanted to go to The Home Depot and buy a garbage can before the Notre Dame game started. So I did. I got out of bed at 11a.m. I went to the bathroom. I made a fruit smoothie. I watched NY1 for awhile. I checked Facebook. Then I got back into bed, passed out in jig time, and slept like the dead for another two hours. You think hopping out of bed for a second to retrieve an alarm clock that just flew across the room is going to keep me up? You think wrong. Love, Siobhan.
Let’s close with an idea that might actually work, if getting out of bed is your one and only goal:
Each [alarm clock] comes with … a vibrating pad to go under a pillow or mattress, where it shakes you awake.
Unfortunately, however, for most of us, getting out of bed isn’t the one and only goal of our bed-related activities. I’m 34 years-old. I’m single. And as much as I enjoy my own company, it’s occurred to me that finding a partner might not be the worst idea ever. I simply cannot have alarm clocks flying across the room making helicopter noises while my mattress shakes me out of bed. It just won’t work. (Although it would give me a novel response to the perennial, “How are you single?” question.)
Get back to me when you come up with something reasonable, alarm clock people. I’m available to talk, most days, around noon; sometimes a little later on the weekends.