Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Wanted: A Silent Alarm Clock

Has anyone yet found a good solution to the problem of two people sharing a bed, only one of whom has to get up a particular time in the morning? Several possibilities occur to me, but I'm not sure if any exist at present:

1. A cross between an alarm clock and a hearing aid or perhaps bluetooth earpiece. The latter would be easy enough to do--just set the alarm on your cell phone. But I'm not sure any of those would be comfortable to wear while sleeping.

2. A vibrating alarm. That's the standard solution for silent ringing on a cell phone. Could one make, or has someone made, a ring or bracelet or something similar that is comfortable enough to wear while sleeping and functions as a vibrating alarm?

3. The low tech solution—something sound muffling worn by the one who doesn't want to be woken up by the alarm.

Other ideas? Actual things out there?


Augustin Moga said...

Buy a dog. And make it a habit to take him out for a walk at whatever time in the morning you want to be waken up. (Which implies that until the dog is trained you still need to rely on some other awakening method.)

Of course, this is an error-prone solution. You'll have a hard-time training the dog to skip morning walks during the weekend, you'll surely have problems caused by DST (Daylight Saving Time), and in the end there's no guarantee that the person sharing the bed won't get licked now and then, especially if you don't always sleep on the same side of the bed.

Nevertheless, blaming the dog for the missed appointments is still one of the best excuses I can think of... :-)

Anonymous said...

There are vibrating alarm clocks designed for the deaf. These for example.

crasch said...

This vibrating wristwatch may be of use to you:


Anonymous said...

I've noticed that while sleeping I can tune out things that aren't important to me. If this is true of most people, then maybe if you both had separate alarms that made very distinct sounds and weren't too loud, the person A would not be woken by person B's alarm.

Anonymous said...

The early riser should get one of those CD alarm clocks and set the alarm to play Pink Floyd's "Time" song that starts with a horrific cacophony of discordant alarms.

After a few days, the late riser will no longer complain about a normal alarm clock!

On a more serious note, Home Depot sells cheap little timers for people to use to turn lights on and off while on vacation.

I can think of lots of things to plug into one of those to silently awaken someone:

1) A lamp or a focused beam could be placed on a nightstand to shine at one side of the bed.

2) One of those Chair Massage pads from the Sharper Image could be placed under a matress pad.

3) Better still, you could just take an old electrical cord, tape the ends to your arm and then plug the other end into the timer. If you're not that tough, you could insert a transformer to lower the voltage.

4) Set an old cassette player on Play and use those earbud headphones

5) Okay, okay. Here's the real solution: An Alarm Bed Shaker listed on Amazon.


Alex J. said...

There are electric blankets that have separate temperature controls for each half. You set the temperature uncomfortably high on the early riser's side and then plug it into the cheap-home-depot-timer Mercy mentioned. It would be silent and might actually do a good job of motivating the early-riser to get out of bed (compared to the snooze button).

Anonymous said...

Sleeptracker makes watches that have a vibrate alarm mode. They also monitor your movement and try to wake you when you're in light sleep mode (within a certain window), which I find helpful.

The vibrate mode is quite vigorous, and it wakes me up fine even though I'm a pretty sound sleeper.

Anonymous said...

Alex' solution seems like the best so far to me. Except that you might be soaked in sweat before you wake up: not good if you are not a morning-showering person. Or the temperature has to rise really quickly, but slow wakeups are generally more comfortable to me than fast ones.

But when you think about it, sleeping together is really insane from most ways you look at it. From snoring to kicking to waking up: it mostly seems like a cultural tradition borne out of material necessity.

Anonymous said...

But when you think about it, sleeping together is really insane from most ways you look at it. From snoring to kicking to waking up: it mostly seems like a cultural tradition borne out of material necessity.

I couldn't agree more. But when I tell my girlfriends this she thinks I'm crazy. I think the fact that many couples, especially older couples, do not sleep in the same bed is a testament to this.

Anonymous said...

Sleeping in the same bed allows for easier reconciliation (not necesseraly sex, merely physical proximity helps). Many people seem to think the same things.

As for waking up, if we must be original, there are directional sound devices availables that could be installed on the roof (look for holosonics)

Anonymous said...

Call me old-fashioned, but part of the experience of sharing a bed with somebody is that at least occasionally you have to be inconvenienced by their having to get up first, or vice versa.

You are kind of agreeing to the whole package up front.

EHillary said...

Things are really getting better for those of us who are hearing impaired. There are many types of assistive devices including what you are looking for. Specifically, I use the "Sonic Boom" alarm clock with the pillow vibrator. You can google the name and find it and others like it. A great Tampa and Sun City Center, FL recource for assistive listening devices is http://hearinganddizziness.com/

Take care,

Brian Dunbar said...

I have an alarm clock that allows two wake-up alarms.

In practical terms what works best for us is the large dog solution. Dog has been trained that I - and I alone - am the designated 'let me out' person.

This has several benefits; unlike a snooze alarm, the dog will not reset. Nor can I unplug the dog. The dog is very persistent. I know the failure for not letting the dog out is unpleasant and smelly.

Anonymous said...

A friend of mine with normal hearing had a deaf roommate for a while; she said the deaf roommate's vibrating alarm clock was extremely loud. It makes sense to me - why bother to make such a product quiet?

Thus, I suspect vibrating alarm clocks for the hearing-impared aren't the way to go, unless there's a special roommate-with-normal-hearing version, or unless you test a few before buying and find one that happens to be quiet.

Steve_Roberts said...

There are soundless bright light alarm clocks, designed for deaf people. Set one for the early riser, while the late riser has a conventional alarm and eyeshades.

Anonymous said...

How about a bracelet on your wrist that gives a very light electric shock?

I read many years ago about a study of lucid dreams. These are the dreams where the dreamer is aware that he is dreaming and often can control the events of the dream. In the study, the researchers used a very mild electric shock at the wrist to induce lucid dreaming in subjects.

So maybe our novel device would have three settings:
- Off
- Lucid Dream
- Wake

Justin du Coeur said...

A bit blue-sky, but I gather that the science of focused sound (essentially audio lasers) is beginning to mature. That suggests that, if both people are fairly consistent about where on the bed they sleep, you could build an alarm that is pointed specifically at one of them...

Anonymous said...

This reminds me of a trivia question I heard recently.
Q: Da Vinci invented the first Alarm Clock, how did it wake you up?
A: By rubbing your feet.

So the first one satisfied this need apparently.

Anonymous said...

Hmm stumbled across this post while searching for alarm clocks...

Anyways I've seen a show about railroad conductors in Asia (Japan or China, forgot which one). They use this device, which is pretty much a inflatable pillow connected to a timed air pump. They put these deflated pillows beneath the sheets and they wake people up by pushing them out of the beds gradually. Most people would wake up from that before the pillow is even fully inflated.

Anonymous said...

I've speculated a little about using lights to deal with my morning situation. Until I married, about 9 months ago, I would wake up to Morning Edition and whatever was on before Morning Edition. This worked very well for me as a heavy sleeper, because I could become vaguely aware that morning was coming without actually completely waking up. The radio stayed on for two hours, with a one minute pause in between, which allowed me to gauge how far along the morning was. If the radio turned off before I arose, it was getting too, and I'd better hurry up.

It didn't occur to me that other people couldn't pull off this trick until my wife moved in and insisted that I shut off any noise at all immediately lest she get a headache.

So, my current unimplemented thought is to have a series of ever brighter lights turn on as the morning progresses. I think I'd be able to be at lease vaguely aware of the ever increasing light marking the time.

Anonymous said...

i just recently put together an alarm clock with a wireless bracelet and wireless earpiece (whichever you prefer to use) that vibrates (earpiece also emits tone) the clock has multiple alarm settings so you won't wake up your partner if they are on a different schedule! if you're interested at all, send me an email: leondas_paul@hotmail.com. it's patent pending and all legal beagle.

Unknown said...

Silent alarm clocks are used for more than one reason:
• Roommates on Different Schedules
• People who are Hearing Impaired
• Cat Nap Commuters
• Deep Sleepers Who Defeat Conventional Alarms
• People Who Prefer a Kinder Wake-Up Alarm

ShakeAwake a Vibrating alarm clock with unique features help those peoples.

Jennifer said...

I'm dealing with this right now because my husband gets up at 6:50 to meditate and I don't have to get up until 8:00. I like the timed light idea, although I'm afraid the light would wake me up (I can't sleep with a sleep mask). I also wonder if you could just set a cell phone alarm to vibrate and put it in the waker's pillow. I'm going to try both.

Unknown said...

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Nick said...

i compromise half way between the two and use a silent alarm clock. Shakes and wakes me up whilst not annoying anyone else!

Anonymous said...

i think there should be a alarm clock that you put on your bed and it moves slowly vibrating from side to side with some clasical music low and slowlty to loud