The dream: An alarm clock that helps me sleep
August 28, 2014 5:50 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone, preferably someone who's struggled with insomnia, recommend an alarm clock? Some details inside.

I have been using my phone as a clock for a few years now. It didn't cause any problems until now. I'm dealing with a lot of stress at work and it's causing me insomnia. The stress is temporary and should die down by December.

It's the kind of insomnia where I wake up in the middle of the night, feeling wide awake. I eventually end up checking the time on my cell phone, with the hope that it's at least 5 am. It usually is closer to 3 am. Problem with checking the phone is that I get (work related) emails push notifications on it throughout the night.

I need to stop using the phone to check the time. Can anyone recommend an alarm clock? I would like one that is minimal on technology, emits no light, and, since I am a light sleeper who doesn't snooze, preferably one that has a nice "alarm" - think classical music, chimes, etc. Also, budget is a consideration. Am hoping to spend less than 40$.
posted by Milau to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I can't recommend an alarm clock but my wife had this sleep issue and it largely cleared up when she did some mindfulness meditation every night after she went to bed. If you're interested PM me and I'll ask her the source of the mp3 she used.
posted by srboisvert at 6:06 PM on August 28, 2014

How do you feel about ticking? Something like this with just hands and an alarm would be an easy solution but the alarm sound isn't particularly nice. Something like this might be better along those lines. You have a lot of options but if ticking is a no-go you should consider that.

Relatedly, I found that the best thing for my stress-related insomnia was to never check the time in the middle of the night for any reason, and so I use my phone as an alarm clock and just put it across the room from me. Obviously you know what's best for you, but it might be worth seeing if that helps at all.
posted by jessamyn at 6:10 PM on August 28, 2014

When I've had that email issue, I've just put my phone in airplane mode at bedtime.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:33 PM on August 28, 2014 [4 favorites]

I turn Data off on my phone at night.


Alarm - keywords to search on are 'dimmer' or 'brightness' so you can find one with brightness control.
Then I'd possibly put some red over the top to dim further:

Then combine with something that takes mp3 recordings so you can choose your own: (with built in nature sounds)
posted by Elysum at 7:53 PM on August 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

I've got this one that I got mostly because the display is red (blue light can mess with your sleep). It's got a built-in li-ion battery backup, the alarm (beeps or radio) can start quiet and get progressively louder, you can set two different alarms and each one can be set to be weekday only, weekend only, or every day so you can set one of the alarms to get you up on weekdays and then just leave it on all the time (except for holidays/vacations) without having to remember to turn it on before you go to bed every night.

My SO has this "Sunrise simulator" that we like, especially during the winter months. My SO still needs an audible alarm (she uses the radio) but I think I would be fine with just the light (which is an option).
posted by VTX at 7:58 PM on August 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

I use a projection clock- the time is displayed on my ceiling. It helps me so much with my insomnia to know how much more time I have left in the night and I barely have to roll over to look for it. The light is minimal and is not distracting. These clocks always come with an alarm.
posted by myselfasme at 7:59 PM on August 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

Oh and my app of choice is iHandy's Alarm Clock Pro. You can pick your own sound or song for the alarm, and you can have it ramp up in volume.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:55 PM on August 28, 2014

I came to say that as an insomniac I really love my projection clock. I look up, see what time it is, assess. The not having to move helps SO much more than I expected. I keep the projection in red because it's the least light emitting.
posted by Nimmie Amee at 9:40 PM on August 28, 2014

Airplane mode at night is definitely the simplest, cheapest way to do this. You can also either turn off data selectively or disable push notifications, at least on Android phones, if you still want to get phone calls.
posted by Aizkolari at 2:47 PM on August 29, 2014

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