Personal Alarm Clock
April 7, 2005 1:28 PM   Subscribe

I have to get up earlier in the morning than my bedmates. How do I wake myself up without also disturbing my spouse and our light-sleeping 7-month-old daughter?

Sleeping with headphones connected to a clock radio alarm is a bad idea. I toss and turn and it just seems so lame.
posted by Cassford to Human Relations (20 answers total)
If it's just the cords that are driving you nuts, perhaps a pillow speaker would help?
posted by shepd at 1:33 PM on April 7, 2005

I set my cell phone with three alarms: The first is audible, but fairly quiet. I quickly shut it off and hold onto the phone. The other two are on vibrate and set to go off 10 and 20 minutes later (I like a few snooz cycles). My wife always complained when my clock radio went off too many times, but the phone going off audibly only once doesn't wake her.
posted by Doohickie at 1:34 PM on April 7, 2005

If you've got a cellphone, set the alarm, and turn it on vibrate. Then, just stick it under your pillow, or hold on to it, or something. That's how I do it, and we do family bed as well.

If your cellphone doesn't have an alarm, you could arrange for someone to call you, I suppose.

If your cellphone doesn't have a vibrate mode... Well, I'm sure there are other things in the house that vibrate (trying to avoid making some sort of snarky comment, here)
posted by thanotopsis at 1:36 PM on April 7, 2005

It is possible to learn to wake without an alarm. I learned some years back by reading the clock before setting my head down to sleep; repeat the time in your mind's ear. Then tell yourself you will wake at hour "x". You will be amazed to find yourself waking before your alarm goes off.

In the meantime, the family that rises together, is grumpy (or cogent) together. Do they now not just, grumble, roll over and go back to sleep?
posted by Dick Paris at 2:00 PM on April 7, 2005

Do they now not just, grumble, roll over and go back to sleep?

I sure wish this were the case. As I'm sure Cassford knows, little people tend to be interested in whatever's going on when they wake up instantly. If you've got a nursing child, they tend to wake up and want Mommy now.
posted by thanotopsis at 2:01 PM on April 7, 2005

Sleep in a different bed. Seriously. If you need to be up at a drastically different time from others you're sleeping with, and don't want to disturb them at all, and one of them is a light sleeper, it's the only reasonable thing to do. It's either that or move the light sleeper to her own bed.
posted by kindall at 2:15 PM on April 7, 2005

Agree with Kindall. My poor hub can't get back to sleep when he's awakened (awoken? woken up? lord), but I can, and some nights (sick kids, early meetings), we are better off in separate rooms.

No judgement on cosleeping, but I will say anecdotally that we slept better once the kids were out of my bed, even if I ended up in their rooms occasionally.
posted by SashaPT at 2:31 PM on April 7, 2005

Nothing to back me up right now, but I've read that almost everyone sleeps better on their own than with spouses, etc. We might think we do sleep better next to our loved ones, but we sleep deeper and with more REM sleep without them. I'm not sure about that for children though, seems like it could be the reverse.
posted by agregoli at 2:33 PM on April 7, 2005

Our child does not just "roll over and go back to sleep." My wife, sadly, does not either--she's a very light sleeper. Even if I slept in a separate bed (which I have for most of the last couple of years), my showering, shaving, and dressing wakes her because of the design of the house--that's far worse than the alarm. Just another data point. I tend to try to not use alarms. I sleep through them a lot and either have to get someone to wake me or set two or three in different spots.
posted by RikiTikiTavi at 2:37 PM on April 7, 2005

i've found that a light on a timer is enough to wake me. maybe if you used a bedsite light (and assuming you stay on that side of the bed), it might work?

also, unless you're exhausted, it's easy to learn to wake early and check a clock. so if you had a clock you could read in the dark, you could learn to use just that (at least, that's been my experience).
posted by andrew cooke at 2:38 PM on April 7, 2005

I have a little travel alarm clock that I got for about $5 at a drug store when I was in college and had to get up at 2am for nighttime dorm duties - I put it in my pillowcase, but under my pillow. Never woke my roommate that way, and it should be quiet enough even if you're in the same bed with someone (I've never gotten complaints from bedmates about the alarm). This, of course, assumes you and your spouse basically stay with the same pillows at night.

I actually still use this alarm a lot of times, either as a double alarm or when I want to be woken up using a "softer" alarm than the radio clicking on - the pillow does a nice job of muffling the beeps without covering them completely.
posted by bibbit at 3:37 PM on April 7, 2005

Work out at a gym in the morning, and shower and shave there?
posted by matildaben at 3:51 PM on April 7, 2005

Wake up at the very same early time every day. Eventually you will not require an alarm. You can always set one as a back-up to go off 15 minutes later and then turn the back-up off when you wake up naturally at the correct time. Works for me.
posted by caddis at 4:38 PM on April 7, 2005

Unless you're incontinent, drink about a glass and a half of water before you head to bed. The need to pee in the morning will force you out of bed quite early. You might have to experiment with how much water to drink -- not enough and you'll just ignore the urge, too much and you'll get out of bed in the middle of the night. But once you've got it figured out, it's a very reliable method.
posted by randomstriker at 4:39 PM on April 7, 2005

I can't speak from personal experience, but here's a product I wish I had cause to try. It's a watch that monitors your sleeping patterns, and claims to wake you during alpha/REM sleep, when you're "close to being awake". (i.e. In a window you specify, not an exact time.)

I don't see mention of a vibrate mode, which would be smart, but the manual says: "SLEEPTRACKER® is unlikely to disturb anyone else around you, because it only takes one or two beeps for the alarm to rouse you when you’re almost awake." This is seconded in a review: "The alarm is not loud – it is audible only because it usually goes off when you are in a light sleep mode."

I'd suggest trying some of the excellent low-cost ideas here first, but just wanted to throw this in. If anyone has any experience with this watch, I'd love to hear it.
posted by trevyn at 7:44 PM on April 7, 2005

You could try a moonbeam clock or some other type of light-based alarm clock.
posted by anastasiav at 8:09 PM on April 7, 2005

What randomstriker said. Experiment with the amount of water needed to drive yourself out of bed in the morning. Sleeping in another bed is also a good idea.

The other option is to go to bed much earlier. How much sleep do you need? 7 hours? 8? If you need to be up at six, go to be no later than 9:30. (If 8.)
posted by unixrat at 8:43 PM on April 7, 2005

Something like this vibrating watch?
posted by taz at 11:42 PM on April 7, 2005

The Shake Awake clock functions like the cell-on-vibrator. It's cheaper, the batteries last forever, and I can personally testify that it wakes me from a drugged sleep while being imperceptible to others in the room.
posted by pricklefoot at 2:47 PM on April 8, 2005

Thanks for all Iof the great ideas. First, I tried the cell phone idea (I didn't even know the cell phone had an alarm until now...jeesh). It woke me enough to shut it off -- it doesn't have a snooze button, alas. And I snoozed. I'm thinking I'll try the shake awake clock or the vibrating watch -- I don't want to give up the snuggle time, I have an amazing bladder, and I can't go to bed earlier.
posted by Cassford at 10:00 AM on April 11, 2005

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