Alarm recommendation requested!
July 11, 2016 1:56 PM   Subscribe

I am the world's heaviest sleeper, while my housemate is the world's lightest. I need an alarm that will wake me up, but not him.

He sleeps in the bedroom across the hall with the door closed and a white noise machine on, but my alarm wakes him while I sleep through.

An ideal solution would involve a app for an android phone, or other similar low cost option. That, and tips for how to stop sleeping through my damn alarm. Thoughts? Suggestions? He has already been 1000% more patient than I would have been.

posted by Space Kitty to Grab Bag (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried a vibrating alarm? I've seen versions that either attach to the body or that have a "bed shaker" mechanism, but I don't have personal experience with either one.
posted by Aleyn at 1:59 PM on July 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

Have you tried a motion alarm? You place a little device in your bed and it shakes you awake. Silent but effective!
posted by stillmoving at 1:59 PM on July 11, 2016

An incredibly bright sunrise alarm clock (ie, one that turns on lights at the wake-up time) would not affect your housemate at all, and might supplement the effectiveness of your other alarm strategies.
posted by janell at 1:59 PM on July 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

There are vibrating alarm watches.
posted by rhizome at 2:07 PM on July 11, 2016

Happy to try either the light or vibrating alarm. If anyone has personal experience with them, I would love to hear it.
posted by Space Kitty at 2:08 PM on July 11, 2016

I had some success with a sunrise alarm clock but the real issue for me turned out to be that I was getting terribly low quality sleep due to suspected but untreated sleep apnea. Eventually that lead to a feedback spiral of interrelated issues that caused some very serious medical conditions (now successfully treated, fortunately.)

I obviously know nothing about your health, but if you have other indicators that might point towards sleep apnea or other sleep issues, consider discussing with your doctor whether a sleep study is indicated. They're not fun but sleep problems can be a lot more serious than many people realize (including myself, previously).
posted by Nerd of the North at 2:20 PM on July 11, 2016

Fitbit wrist bands have alarm settings, I've never been able to sleep through it.
posted by lepus at 2:39 PM on July 11, 2016 [2 favorites]

Are you actually getting enough sleep regularly if you're that hard to wake up at the time you need to wake up? How about one of those alarms (apps) that tracks your sleep cycles and wakes you up when you're in your lightest sleep cycle?
posted by taff at 2:42 PM on July 11, 2016

Happy to try either the light or vibrating alarm. If anyone has personal experience with them, I would love to hear it.

The phillips one works for me and my wife. Especially when we need to get up at an unusually early hour.

I second the point about going over your sleep hygiene, btw.
posted by sebastienbailard at 2:55 PM on July 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

I'm an average sleeper. I like my light, but it doesn't wake me up if: I'm exhausted AND I set it to turn on at a time the sun's already up.

If it goes off while it's dark out and I'm not exhausted it is perfect.

Maybe you could try a mix of these methods. Or rig up something to dump water on your face. :)
posted by ramenopres at 3:08 PM on July 11, 2016

I've had this vibrating alarm for 3 years now. It's flat enough to fit comfortably under my pillow, but strong enough to wake me up. It's impossible to sleep through (and I'm a heavy sleeper).
posted by saturngirl at 3:12 PM on July 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

I have one of the Phillips light alarms. I also have a lifetime of experience sleeping far past the sunrise. The light on its own will not wake me, but it does help other alarms do so, particularly in the winter. So I'd recommend trying it in conjunction with a vibrating alarm.

The cheapest vibrating alarm is a smart phone with the alarm set to vibrate shoved under your pillow. If you need to charge your actual phone overnight, you can possibly just re-purpose an old one or pick one up for next to nothing on Craigslist.
posted by Candleman at 4:24 PM on July 11, 2016

I got a Mi Band, which costs $14.99 and has a great vibrating alarm in addition to a number of the FitBit's features.
posted by scrittore at 4:28 PM on July 11, 2016

I'm a big fan of the Sleep Cycle app. It tries to wake you up when you're at the more wakeful part of a REM cycle. I feel way less awful when I wake up now that I use it - no more being jolted out of the middle of a dream. You tuck it under the corner of your sheet so it's right next to your head, and if you turn up the volume, it will have the combination of better timing and better volume/placement.

You could also use something else as a backup.
posted by radioamy at 4:58 PM on July 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

Hubby uses the FitBit for this. Has never failed to wake him and has only woken me in the odd instance where his arm happened to be on me when it went off.
posted by MandaSayGrr at 5:06 PM on July 11, 2016

Do you have the bedroom with the south-facing window?
posted by aniola at 5:31 PM on July 11, 2016

I've also been using Sleep Cycle (for iOS) for a couple of years. It works well for me, but I'm not as heavy of a sleeper as you are describing. But the idea is that it wakes you up at the best time for your own sleeping in the 20 (or 30, or 40) minutes before your alarm is set to go off. If you don't wake up to the quiet music, then at the set wakeup time it will vibrate your phone; since it's next to your pillow, that's pretty good at waking you up. I think it's like $3 for the basic app. I don't need any of its fancy features. (I also never bother to tuck my phone under my sheet, I just put it near where my head is. Mostly it doesn't end up under the pillow.)
posted by leahwrenn at 6:42 PM on July 11, 2016 [1 favorite]

omg I can set my phone alarm to vibrate, can't I?
posted by Space Kitty at 8:42 PM on July 11, 2016 [5 favorites]

My thoughts on a vibrating alarm as an extremely light sleeper with an extremely heavy sleeper who gets up 2 hours before me as a husband.

Please, for the love of god, get a fitbit. Even that still wakes me sometimes but only if his wrist is laying directly on the bed or my pillow. The nice thing is that is doesn't jar me awake like an audible alarm does so while I do wake under some circumstances I can go right back to sleep immediately.

A vibrating alarm under his pillow would wake me every single day. That vibration isn't contained to just your head. We've done a lot of things and he has been very accommodating as far as finding a good solution (probably because he likes me better when I've gotten a full night's sleep :) ) and the fitbit is, by far, the best solution we have found.
posted by magnetsphere at 7:43 AM on July 13, 2016

A vibrating alarm under his pillow would wake me every single day.

But in this case they're not co-sleeping, they're roommates sleeping in separate bedrooms -- if a silent vibrating phone under a pillow wakes him up in a bedroom across the hall with a white noise machine on, there's really no hope at all.
posted by andrewesque at 12:40 PM on July 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

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