Best device in 2017 to wake me up without waking my wife and baby?
March 17, 2017 5:45 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for some sort of alarm I can use to wake up in the morning without waking my wife (in the same bed) and especially our toddler (in the next room).

When my alarm goes off, it wakes my wife often (she doesn't mind that much, she can get back to sleep) and somtimes wakes our toddler (we both mind that - we like him to sleep more).

Is there a good device I can use to wake myself up? I tried a casio watch with vibrating alarm, but the vibration is too weak to wake me up. (I think it's more meant for, like, reminders in meetings than for waking sleeping people)

I am not a super-deep sleeper or anything. Just need a regular thing to wake me. Simimlarly - my wife is not a super-light sleeper. So I don't think a vibrating alarm on my wrist would bug her too much (though I guess you never know)

Ideally, I'd like something

- Relatively easy to set and use
- With a powerful enough alarm to wake an average sleeper.
- Would be nice to have a snooze feature
- I think I could comfortably spend up to $75 USD or so on something like this if it's great. Happy to spend less. Willing to spend more if there's a really good reason to.

I'm in Canada, so some products that are available/cheap in the US may not be here. I have a Samsung Galaxy S7, if that affects smart-watch recommendations.

There were some questions about this on MeFi in the past (here), but I think there's been a lot of change in the market in the past few years (since a lot of the answers are about fitness watches or smart watches. A while a go, a pebble seemed like a good choice, but I gather they are going out of business, which may (or may not?) make it a less appealing purchase.
posted by ManInSuit to Shopping (23 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Alternate hack: Can you put your phone on vibrate and under your pillow? I find that that is usually enough to wake me up (but I do not have a magnificent pillow stack, and am not a violent sleeper)
posted by larthegreat at 5:47 AM on March 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

You might want to look into vibrating pillow alarm clocks, mostly used by the deaf, but also by people who don't want to disturb someone else. Check out this example on Amazon. Hope this helps!
posted by katemcd at 5:50 AM on March 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I sleep on a lot of pillows and move around a lot in my sleep. So I am guessing a pillow-vibrating thing would not work great for me (or if it did, would have to be super-strong, and would wake my wife every time). Maybe there is some sort of wrist strap or something I could use to wear the shake-awake that katemcd linked to?
posted by ManInSuit at 5:57 AM on March 17, 2017

Pick yourself up a pebble time smartwatch on amazon for $59. Its got a optional smart alarm (where it senses movement in the time leading up to your wake-up time) which i like. Plenty of strength to wake me. Has a cool little sleeping graph. The company has failed but ive had my pebbles for years and they work great. This feature is standalone and doesnt need a server or background company to work so no fear on lack of support and buy through amazon means if you have a problem they sort it out. Cant recommend enough.
posted by chasles at 6:07 AM on March 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

I didn't intend it as a Homer gift but I got my wife a wake-up light and it generally wakes her up 95% of the time. The other 5%, it plays some gentle seagulls-at-the-beach noises that barely filter through my sleep. It is GLORIOUS. It's a Philips.
posted by ftm at 6:07 AM on March 17, 2017 [3 favorites]

My Fitbit's wrist vibration is plenty strong enough to wake me up. Not necessarily suggesting you go out and buy random wrist gadgets until you find one that wakes you up, but maybe you know a friend with a Fitbit who'd lend it to you for a couple of days to try out?
posted by Stacey at 6:15 AM on March 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

Does anyone know - would an original Pebble watch perform this function as well as a pebble time would? On amazon canada, I can get a pebble for $79 (Canadian) but a pebble time costs $109.
posted by ManInSuit at 6:17 AM on March 17, 2017

My Fitbit vibrates strongly enough that it wakes my husband up, too. I would try to borrow somebody's vibrating watch to test it out before you buy one.
posted by something something at 6:19 AM on March 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

re pebble:

This is what I use. Well, I use a pebble time - but I know for a fact that the regular pebble also vibrates. It's a fairly strong vibration and I can't remember sleeping through it.

I will also suggest a dawn-simulator/wake-up lamp, though. (This is the one I have. They make less expensive ones.) Morning grogginess (even after DST!) is not a thing with these lamps.
posted by INFJ at 6:34 AM on March 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Oh. I should also say that the silent alarm (vibrating alarm) is why I bought my pebble time.

Pebble was bought by fitbit. On their website:
Active Pebble watches in the wild will continue to work.

Functionality or service quality may be reduced over time, and Pebble watches are no longer covered by or eligible for warranty exchange. We don’t expect to release regular software updates or new Pebble features. Our new mission will focus on bringing Pebble’s unique wearables expertise to future Fitbit products.

For best results, make sure your watch is running the latest firmware and managed with the latest mobile app (see below).
Everything still works great on my watch and the pebble app. I expect I'll continue to use mine until they pry it from my cold dead fingers.
posted by INFJ at 6:40 AM on March 17, 2017

I also use my Fitbit for this. I find the vibrations strong enough to wake me up every time (though it is a bit too easy to turn off and then roll over and fall back asleep since it's attached to my wrist and I don't have to get up and turn an alarm off) and it usually also causes my husband to stir (but he's a deep sleeper and I don't think it actually fully wakes him).
posted by soren_lorensen at 6:58 AM on March 17, 2017

+1 to Fitbit. I have a Fitbit Flex 2 that's more use to me as a vibrating alarm than it is as a fitness tracker. It doesn't wake my partner, though she's a pretty deep sleeper.
posted by themadthinker at 7:05 AM on March 17, 2017

Ditto. I use my Fitbit Flex 2 as my alarm and it doesn't wake my co-sleeping toddler.
posted by Kriesa at 7:15 AM on March 17, 2017

I'll second ftm about the Phillips wake-up light alarm. My husband wakes up 1.5 hours before me and it was a low-level persistent conflict in our relationship because he needed a loud and abrupt alarm to rouse him and it would always wake me up with a pounding heart. When we had a kid (actually, when I was pregnant and in danger of murdering him from waking me early), he switched to the wake-up light and I'm shocked at how well it gets him up without waking me, or at least rousing me so lightly that I can easily fall back asleep. It never wakes up our toddler in the next room, despite the fact that our house is tiny and old with thin walls.

It's over your price range ($113 on Amazon right now, although I'm also seeing some off-brand knock-offs for $30 or so that look like they do the same thing), and I rolled my eyes so hard at my husband spending 3 figures for an alarm clock, but the difference in the quality of everyone's morning has been worth several multiples of that. I have few products that I feel like I'm an evangelist for and this is one of them!
posted by iminurmefi at 7:25 AM on March 17, 2017 [2 favorites]

I use an app called "Sleep Time" (by Argus/Azumio) that has a vibrating alarm. Slip my phone into a rubber band safety-pinned to the sheets at the corner of the bead (under the pillow a little but not even under my head) and it works great. Plenty of vibration to wake a heavy sleeper. Ostensibly it's a sleep tracker (your movement indicating phases of sleep) and has a "dynamic alarm" to wake you in the right phase but I don't use either.
posted by achrise at 7:35 AM on March 17, 2017

I use the Sleep Cycle app on my iPhone sitting on a bedside table. The alarm is low-key enough, and adjustable, that it wakes me but usually not my wife and certainly nobody in nearby rooms. I'm a fairly light sleeper though.
posted by LoveHam at 7:36 AM on March 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

If you sleep with an arm around your partner, a Fitbit One is a good alternative to a wristband. I clip mine onto the waistband of my pajama pants, facing in. It doesn't have a snooze feature, but if you don't turn it off, it'll keep vibrating every few minutes until you wake up. It did come with an optional wristband for sleep.
posted by beyond_pink at 8:34 AM on March 17, 2017

The Sonic Boom alarm clock comes with a vibrating thing that can be slipped under the mattress. My understanding is that you can turn off the siren and flasher.
posted by WCityMike at 9:04 AM on March 17, 2017

Thanks! These are all great and helpful answers. I went with the pebble over the fltbit because it looks like the alarm functionality on the pebble is a little more robust, including ajustible vibration settings. Sound like the thing for me!
posted by ManInSuit at 9:51 AM on March 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I don't have any ideas for primary non-baby-waking alarms beyond what has already been suggested, but I did want to mention this idea: If you go with something you aren't sure will be 100% reliable at waking you up, you could always set a conventional alarm for something like 10 minutes after the silent alarm is supposed to go off.

Yes, that will wake the wife and baby, but at least you won't be late for work in case the main alarm fails to wake you.
posted by Juffo-Wup at 12:19 PM on March 17, 2017

I say try the fitbit also. I had the fitbit charge HR and had an alarm set for vibrating and it was strong.
posted by Sara_NOT_Sarah at 12:39 PM on March 17, 2017

I use the iOS app called Pillow for this purpose. I strongly prefer its alarms (and it has a white noise feature for going to sleep), and when it's under my pillow the combination of gradually increasing alarm + vibrating phone wakes me up. I genuinely love it.
posted by hijinx at 2:48 PM on March 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

I got a pebble. It does indeed work well for this! The alarm wakes me up easily without bothering anyone else. (Plus I get to play around with a smartwatch, which is kinda fun)
posted by ManInSuit at 12:24 PM on April 16, 2017

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