Alarm woes

What do you do when alarm clocks actually don’t work for you anymore?

Everyday my alarm is set to go off at 7:00 am and everyday at 7:00 am my subconscious either hits the snooze or outright dismisses the alarm without my consent. I swear to god my body will hit the snooze 15 times without my ever having noticed it. I have trained myself to be immune to alarms over many many years. What to do about this?

I have tried changing up the sound. I regularly set new and excitingly obnoxious tones and songs in the hopes that one will be annoying enough to properly wake me up, but it doesn’t work. I’ve tried putting the alarm across the room and setting multiple alarms, but none of these things have been effective enough to stir me. Fortunately I mostly work afternoons and evenings so until now it hasn’t mattered much if I overslept, and generally I get to bed fairly early so I’m mostly awake at 8:30 or 9 which isn’t too bad. The problem is that in the coming weeks I have been scheduled to work at 7 in the morning which means I need to be up by 6 at the latest and that’s quite the jump from 8:30 or 9, you know? I prefer to run off my own biological clock. Now I’m scratching my head wondering how on earth I’m going to manage to wake up before the sun, which I hate. I seriously HATE when I wake up and it’s still dark. It feels wrong.

I remember once I had to leave to get to work at 4 am and man was that ever a disaster. I had to set my alarm for 3:30 but I was too afraid to sleep in case I overslept so instead I just stayed awake the whole night and spent the entire day exhausted and grumpy.

I follow this guy on instagram whose handle is Before5am. His tagline says “Success starts before 5am,” and I think there must be some merit to that so I’m always keen to read his thoughts on the subject. Recently he wrote a post with tips on how to wake up early and he offers some really solid advice like listening to music first thing, looking at your goals, using motivational images, or playing motivational videos… all of these things sound great. My struggle is that I don’t ever have that moment of consciousness whereby I can implement any of these strategies.

I’m the girl that needs the alarm that’s not really an alarm but rather a pair of robotic arms that come out of the wall in the morning and tip the mattress over to spill you onto the floor. I think that might work. Or every morning a pack of puppies is released into my apartment to wreak havoc and chaos. I’d get up for that, too. I’m sure we could brainstorm plenty of ridiculously innovative but impractical alarm scenarios like these, in fact we should.

In all honesty, though, I think it’s a smart habit to wake up early. I’d really like to get in the habit of waking up at the same time everyday. Do any of you have any tips for this? It would be great to have a proper morning routine. Wake up, write for a couple hours, post on the blog, enjoy some chai, then go to work. It would be very classical hipster, which I love.

Thoughts? Suggestions?



13 thoughts on “Alarm woes

  1. A revered instructor in Kung Fu was once asked by his class about how much sleep and when to retire for the night. His reply, “Every hour before midnight counts twice”…

    good luck with your sleep.. the puppy plan sounds the most fun.

  2. I just record myself saying “wake up Karl you worthless piece of shit, your life is one big failure now get in the shower and wash off the stink of shame” and sweet that as my alarm sound. And rig up my alarm clock to stab me repeatedly in the arm until I get out of bed.

  3. My wife and I use a clock / radio that has a big light on it, Heather. Half an hour before the radio turns on, the light comes on and gets progressively brighter, like a sunrise. Do you think light might give you the nudge you need? :- )

  4. Hey Red,
    The key to getting up in the morning is to be a morning person! (Since it’s genetic, good luck with that.) Otherwise, no matter what you do the night before, always get up at the same time each morning. That will set your biological alarm clock. (You can take naps to catch up on lost sleep later) A timer that brightens the light in your room really helps, and if that isn’t enough, there are bed shaking alarm clocks…

  5. I think so. If you NATURALLY find yourself waking early in the morning (5,6,7?), springing out of bed, singing, while having a great deal of energy and doing a lot of stuff in the morning, then getting tired and going to bed at 9 at night. You’re a morning person.

    If you NATURALLY find yourself waking up gradually around 9.10.11, grumpy, needing that cup o’ coffee and grousing about the roommate mentioned above, and find yourself full of energy about 9 at night. Then you’re an evening person.

    Being ABLE to consistently get up in the morning doesn’t count. It’s how you feel best when getting up. Here’s a link for some alarm clocks. Perhaps two? The ILuv TimeShaker Micro and the Philips Wake-up Light? You can get the ILuv at Walmart, Amazon, or

    1. I think I’m definitely in the latter category. Although I did manage to give up coffee dependance this year. I will look into those alarm clocks. Thanks Russ 😁

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