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Alarm Clock

April 23, 2007

Me: My new alarm clock has a remote control on it. I’m not sure why anyone would want that.

Friend: Simple! That’s so you can put it all the way across the room from where you sleep.

Me: What’s the point of doing that?

Friend: So you have to get up and out of bed to turn off the alarm, of course!

Me: But it has a remote control.

Friend: Yes, that’s so you can put it all the way across the room from where you sleep…

There are many different alarm clock strategies, but I think they can be boiled down to two key items: alarm sounds, and use of the snooze button.

I choose the radio for my alarm sound. (Not some big-mouthed morning show DJ; I go with public radio.) Some people go with a beep or a buzz, but those are too annoying, and in my groggy stupor I might immediately shut them off – and end up sleeping too late. The radio I can choose to leave on for a few minutes. This allows me to wake up by degrees: one minute I’m in dreamland on a train going through a tunnel, but after a while I’m awake and listening to Renee Montagne discuss the news of the day on Morning Edition. (let’s not talk about those in-between moments where one blends into the other.)

Snooze button? You bet. I deliberately set my alarm much earlier than I intend to actually get out of bed. This allows me to either snooze it and go back to sleep for a bit, or leave the radio on and begin waking up. I often have enough time to do both in the same morning.

Here’s quirk: I leave my alarm set for the same time, every day of the week. Yep. Even on Saturday, my alarm goes off at 5. I tend to respond to it differently, mind you, and stay in bed later than on weekdays; but the goes off nonetheless. I find that unless I do this, end up sleeping too late and then I feel like I’ve wasted my morning sleeping. Couldn’t I set the alarm for a different time on weekends? Sure. But that’s a hassle, and then what happens if you forget? No, all that fooling around leads to errors and oversleeping emergencies. Who needs those? Not me. Too much stress.

What’s your alarm clock modus operandi?

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  1. When I was in high school, the cool thing to have was the alarm clock that would only turn off if it was thrown against a wall.

    I never owned one of those. I wish I had, though.

    I’m not a morning person. At all. In fact, I’d be happy if the whole world would just function on second shift. Just for me.

    Since that will never happen, despite my wishing, I have an alarm clock with a radio. Here’s the bad part. It has to be on full blast, half tuned in, half static. It is set for 7:20. That’s ten minutes fast. Has to be or I’m always late.

    Anything else and I’ll sleep through it. Hell. Sometimes I sleep through the static radio at full blast.

    Across the room? Did that in college. My roommate always turned it off and I always missed class, so it’s gotta be right next to me. How’s that for alarm clock modus operandi?

    Twisted. I know. πŸ™‚


  2. Alarm clock? Pfft. I have three young kids who are up at the crack of dawn every day…. Julie still can’t tell time, so we covered up the minutes on her digital clock with black electrical tape; if she sees a 6 she can turn on her light, and if she sees a 7 she can come in my room.

    But back in the old DINK days, Andy and I used the same alarm clock, which had “his ‘n’ hers” alarms — yep, two settings! He had to get up at 5:30 and I got to sleep in until 8:00. (At which point I got up, showered, got dressed, and drove to work, all by 8:30. I can be very efficient if it means more sleeping time!)


  3. My alarm has two ‘his and his’ alarms (i’m single).. I set the first to go off with a local radio challen 2 snoozes before I need to get up.. and I set the second with one of those truly annoying buzzer’s two snoozes and one minute after the first.. that way if I am sleeping so good that I don’t remember hitting the snooze the first (and/or second time) I still get up on time. On a normal day, I wait one minute in bed after the second snooze, hit the reset about 2 seconds after the buzzer goes off, then roll out for the day.. works (almost) every time..


  4. Oh, man that’s clever!


  5. I am the same way about wanting my alarm to be on for a few minutes rather than bug the hell out of me and shut it off immediately.

    As for the remote control, I really don’t understand that at all…


  6. Mine is pretty similar to yours, only I shut it off on the weekends. What’s best about waking up to NPR is that while in the shower I have all these news items in my head,not quite sure where I heard them. Then on the drive to work with the repeated hour of Morning Edition on, it all comes back to me. So even in my morning sleep stupor, I’m getting edumacated. πŸ˜‰

    I’ve always wanted one of those ‘zen’ alarm clocks, where there are deep chimes that ring, gradually increasing in volume. But on a gray Monday morning, I that gentle wake up won’t work on me until Tuesday.


  7. I have an alarm clock that lets me choose what days I want it to turn on and off so mine is set to go off only M-F then it shuts itself off on the weekends. This is very convenient since I always forget to turn it on or off otherwise. If I have to wake up early on the weekend I will use my cell phone so I don’t have to touch my alarm clock.

    My clock is set 3 snoozes ahead so I can wake up a little more each time.


  8. I find it interesting how technology has enhanced our awakening in the morning. I still remember waking up to the Westbend wind up alarm clock as a kid in high school. If I used one now, the ticking noise alone would probably keep me awake. (Oops- sorry for sounding like Andy Rooney)


  9. I do the same thing with the snooze which drives my wife crazy, but she has this annoying habit of setting the clock anywhere from 17-33 minutes fast. She likes not knowing exactly what time it is for some reason.


  10. My method has continuously evolved over the years. Once upon a time, as a single person, I could just hit snooze as frequently as I had time for. Then, when married, we both had to come to some type of arrangement. Unfortunately, I was married to someone who never even hear the alarm in the first place, so then I was awake, attempting to wake him up. I soon tired of being someone’s personal alarm clock, receiving about as much compassion as I assume you all give your disruptive devices. Sleeping single again, I relied on my children to wake me up, as they have this uncanny ability at a young age. (It goes away though.) That evolved to setting the clock ahead for some amount of time,(unknown to me), so I had no idea what time it really was. I had to get up and make sure the teen agers are up. Currently, I have set the clock to real time as I sometimes have an overnight guest who likes to know what time it really is, and I am living with it for now.


  11. I’ve been using the same Panasonic Clock/Radio/Alarm that my Mom got me some 30 years ago. The thing won’t die! Talk about solid state! It’s got a deep buzz that you can hear in the shower should you forget to turn it off when you get up. The tone of which can set up a resonance that’ll vibrate your teeth out! Not that I’ve EVER done that, of course…



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