Can a Shocking Alarm Clock Really Wake Up a Heavy Sleeper?

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Waking Up the Hard of Hearing and the Heavy Sleeper: A Week With Extreme Alarms

Heavy sleepers know the struggle: your phone’s gentle chimes are mere background noise, easily ignored in the depths of slumber. For those who require a more forceful wake-up call, extreme alarms have emerged, offering a range of solutions from puzzle-solving apps to bed-shaking contraptions.

These unconventional alarms are not just for those who snooze through anything. They are also a valuable tool for individuals with hearing loss, providing alternative methods of waking up through different sound frequencies, pitches, and even vibration.

As a chronic snoozer myself, I embarked on a sleep-shattering journey. I tested a variety of these extreme alarms, each with its unique approach to the morning battle. My quest? To find the most effective way to banish slumber and conquer the morning, all while documenting the experience, both the triumphs and the trepidations.

Before diving into the alarm-filled abyss, it’s important to note that my experience was subjective. What worked for me might not be ideal for everyone.

This journey explored:

  • Sound-based alarms: Encouraging active participation and engagement to jolt the sleeper awake.
  • Physical alarms: Literally shaking you out of bed to combat deep slumber.
  • Combination alarms: Utilizing both sound and movement for a multi-sensory wake-up call.

While some morning routines were met with a surge of adrenaline, others left me feeling anxious and startled. Here’s a breakdown of the alarms I tested, their quirks, and my personal experiences with each:

1. The Puzzle-Solving App: Alarmy (Android & iOS)

Alarmy is like a digital escape room for your morning routine. It forces you to solve a series of challenges before silencing the alarm.

Challenges include:

  • Taking a photo of a specific object. I chose to photograph my coffee machine, ensuring I had to actually leave my bed for the alarm to stop.
  • Solving a simple math problem. This, unfortunately, did not require me to get up, but it did force me out of the groggy zone.
  • Scanning a barcode. My barcode challenge involved scanning the label of my toothbrush, which, again, involved getting out of bed.

My Experience:

Alarmy was an effective wake-up call. The need to complete a task before silencing the alarm pushed me out of bed and into action. However, the repetitive nature of the challenges began to feel mundane after a few days.


  • Interactive and engaging wake-up experience.
  • Customizable challenge options.
  • Free with in-app purchases for additional features.


  • Can become repetitive after a while.
  • Challenges might be frustrating for some.

2. The Rolling Alarm Clock: Clocky (Available online)

Clocky is the infamous alarm clock on wheels that has been featured on various talk shows and online media. The concept is simple: Clocky will roll itself across your room, forcing you to get out of bed to catch it.

My Experience:

The first morning with Clocky was a whirlwind. The alarm blared, and the little robot wheeled across my floor, its plastic wheels clattering on the hardwood. I leaped out of bed, the adrenaline rush a far cry from my usual sleep-drenched morning. It definitely made me active, but it also had me feeling anxious all morning. This was exacerbated by the fact that I’d forgotten to shut the door, and Clocky rolled straight out of my room and into the hallway, making me fear being caught by the landlord.


  • Guaranteed to get you out of bed.
  • Adds an element of fun to mornings.


  • Can be disruptive to roommates or family members.
  • The rolling alarm may be difficult to grasp in dimly lit rooms.
  • May not be suitable for those with mobility issues.

3. The Bed-Shaking Alarm: Wake Up Shake (Available online)

This alarm incorporates a vibrating pad that sits under your mattress or top sheet, shaking you awake. It’s a discreet method that avoids disturbing anyone else in the room.

My Experience:

The first few mornings with Wake Up Shake were genuinely disorienting. The vibration was strong and unexpected, jolting me out of my sleep in a way that felt more like an earthquake than an alarm clock. However, I found that it was effective in getting me out of bed, as I couldn’t sleep through the consistent shaking.


  • Discreet and non-invasive.
  • Versatile for those who share a bedroom.
  • Suitable for people with hearing impairments.


  • Can be a jarring experience for some.
  • May not be powerful enough for deep sleepers.

4. The Light-Assisted Alarm: Lumie Bodyclock (Available online)

This sunrise alarm clock mimics the natural rise of the sun, using a gentle light to wake you up gradually.

My Experience:

The Lumie Bodyclock had a calming effect, easing me out of sleep with a soft, gradual increase in light. It felt less jarring than the other alarms, but I did find myself hitting the snooze button a few times.


  • Promotes a more natural wake-up experience.
  • Can help regulate your sleep-wake cycle.
  • Relaxing and calming.


  • May not be effective for deep sleepers.
  • Pricier than other alarm methods.

5. The Shocking Alarm: SleepCoach (Available online)

This wrist-worn device, similar to a fitness tracker, uses a gentle shock to wake you up. It allows for customization and can be set to alternate between vibration and shocks.

My Experience:

The SleepCoach was the most unsettling alarm of the bunch. I was hesitant about the shock function but felt compelled to try it. The first shock felt disconcerting, and I quickly switched to the vibration mode. While I didn’t find it completely unpleasant, I ultimately felt more anxious than refreshed.


  • Highly customizable, allowing you to adjust the amount of vibration and shock.
  • Discreet and portable, meaning you can take it anywhere.


  • Can be jarring and uncomfortable.
  • May be anxiety-provoking for some.
  • Requires consistent charging.

Beyond the Alarm Clock:

These alarms are just one tool in addressing sleep issues. Here are a few additional tips for improving your sleep:

  • Establish a consistent sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends, helps regulate your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine. A calming routine, such as taking a warm bath, reading a book, or listening to calming music, can help signal to your body that it’s time for sleep.
  • Optimize your sleep environment. Your bedroom should be dark, quiet, and cool for optimal sleep.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol consumption before bed.
  • Regular exercise is beneficial but avoid strenuous activity too close to bedtime.
  • Seek professional help if you experience persistent sleep disturbances.

The Takeaway:

Using extreme alarms can be an effective method for waking up, especially for those who struggle with traditional alarms. However, it’s important to choose an alarm that suits your individual needs and preferences. Remember, the goal is to find a wake-up call that effectively gets you out of bed while minimizing any potential negative effects on your sleep quality or mental well-being.

My personal experience with these alarms highlighted the importance of experimentation and finding what works best for you. I discovered that the most effective method for me was a combination of alarms, using Alarmy to get me out of bed and Wake Up Shake to ensure I stayed awake. However, I also learned that these extreme measures shouldn’t be a permanent solution to sleep problems. Addressing underlying sleep issues with professional help and lifestyle adjustments is crucial for long-term sleep success.

Article Reference

Sarah Mitchell
Sarah Mitchell
Sarah Mitchell is a versatile journalist with expertise in various fields including science, business, design, and politics. Her comprehensive approach and ability to connect diverse topics make her articles insightful and thought-provoking.