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Rise and whine!

I’ve been thinking I need a second alarm clock. I have one, which starts squawking annoyingly at 6:00 am, and continues to squawk incessantly until I smash it with my fist. This is fine for the days that I go running at 6:00 am – I hear the alarm, smash it with my fist, roll out of bed and into my running gear and out the door. However, I only run every second day, and on the other days I don’t have to get up until 6:45. Re-setting the alarm clock every night is a pain, and I have a love-hate relationship with the snooze button, so I’m thinking a second alarm clock is the way to go.

There’s a lot of choice these days in alarm clock technology – far more than there was 15 years ago when I bought mine at Big Bud’s for $4.99. I think people would do well to think through their needs and options when choosing an alarm clock. After all, it plays a significant role in our lives: it’s the first thing we interact with each day, and it sets the waking mood.

Not only that, but our alarm clock needs do not necessarily remain static throughout our lives. I, for example, am a morning person, but I don’t greet each new day nearly as enthusiastically as I did before I started having sleeping problems in January. Now I struggle to fall asleep and often spend the night repeatedly rising above the surface of sleep, and trying to sink back down into it again. Pretty much the only time I seem to sleep soundly is around 6:00 am when the alarm clock goes off, piercing my sweet dream with its demanding squawk. (It’s a good thing momma taught me that life isn’t fair and you might as well get used to it right from the get-go).

So what do I want from an alarm clock? Do I want to be alarmed? Do I want to be aggravated or shocked into the day? No, dammit! I just don’t want to be late for work and I don’t want to start the day off all resentful and surly. I want an alarm clock to be tender and gentle. I want it to snuggle up and stroke my hair and murmur gently and make me feel happy to be alive and awake. I want it to nudge me into the day and coax me out of bed. Is that so much to ask?? (Perhaps I’ve been single too long…)

Puzzle ClockKnowing myself as well as I apparently do, I would be wise not to choose the Puzzle Alarm Clock, which wakes you up by making noise and firing puzzle pieces all around your bedroom. It does not stop making its annoying noise until you get out of bed, find all the puzzle pieces, and return them to the clock. For a mere $52 US, I could make myself furious every single morning upon awakening.

Blowfly clockEqually irritating might be the Blowfly Alarm Clock, which operates on the theory that nobody can sleep when there’s a mosquito buzzing about. The Blowfly, at the appointed time, makes annoying noise and releases a mechanical insect which flies around your room. You must leap out of bed, catch the insect and return it to the clock before the clock and the insect will shut up.

Progression ClockAt the other end of the Alarm Clock spectrum is the Progression Wake-Up Clock. About half an hour before your appointed wake-up time, it starts to glow like a sunrise, gradually brightening over the next 30 minutes. As the light increases, the clock warms up and in turn warms the aromatherapy beads, releasing the aroma of coffee into the air. Fifteen minutes before wake-up time, soft nature sounds begin – you have a choice of Thunder Storm, Zen Melody, Mountain Stream, Songbirds, and Ocean Surf. And finally, when it’s time to get up, a soft buzzer sounds. (There is also a reverse setting on this clock, so it can put you to sleep at night by growing dimmer, emitting lavender aromas, playing Nightfall nature sounds, and so on.) This is a kinder, gentler alarm clock, and it’s cheaper than the stupid puzzle clock too, at $50.

It did tempt me, but at the same time I thought I’m Not a Complete Wimp, and besides, I’d probably resent smelling coffee that wasn’t there.

Zen clockThe Zen Alarm Clock simply chimes once and if you don’t turn it off it chimes again a few minutes later. One might expect a little more for $110 US, but that’s probably just me. After all, the value of zen lies in its simplicity, right? When less is more, I suppose it’s worth it to pay a little extra for what isn’t there.

Then there’s the ubiquitous clock-radio, which as you all know wakes you up with the radio instead of fingernails on a chalkboard. Myself, I’m not sure I could listen to the news and all the horrible things we’ve done to one another during the night, at least not until I’ve had my shower. Music, however, might be okay. Maybe the theme song from Rocky would be enough to get me to throw back the covers and leap from my bed, fully refreshed and eager to embrace a new day with renewed vigor and enthusiasm stay awake.

Clock radioIf I were to go the clock-radio route, I’ve heard the RCA RP3765 CD Clock Radio is very good, at $58. It has the added bonus of a CD player that can be set to wake you up to a specific song on your CD. Like Rocky. (I used to have a foster mother who would wake me up by poking her head in my room and singing “Good morning to you! Good morning to you! We’re all in our places with bright shining faces, good morning, good morning, good morning to you!” – as charming as this was, it would not be my first choice.)

I haven’t completely made up my mind which alarm clock to get. Recommendations, of course, are encouraged.

In the meantime, I think I’ll sleep on it some more.

5 comments to Rise and whine!

  • Dakota

    I have an alarm which allows me to set two wake-up times :) How great is that! However if I had to buy a new one I think I would go for the Progression Wake-Up Clock. That sounds so interesting. And you could go for another morning smell you know…. Energy, Stress relief or Lavander :)

  • I have a Sony alarm clock that has a poorly designed set of buttons, but it does have a couple of features that I like.

    One of them is that you can set a time for the radio to come on and a separate time for a buzzing noise.

    This means that I can give myself a gentle wakeup at 7:05 (after the CBC has finished talking about horrible things) and then doze a bit until the buzzer goes off at 7:18.

    You could use a clock like this and use the radio one morning and the buzzer the next.

  • Well I definitely wouldn’t do the puzzle or insect clock, though I’d like to see them in live action once or twice. But inevitably, both would get destroyed either by sheer velocity or a destructive amount of weight. The Zen clock is very nice – but probably a few too many bells and whistles that will eventually break down. If I needed more than one alarm every morning, or different alarms on different days — I think I’d look to my computer. If the computer wasn’t convenient, I’d pick out something really simple. Two alarms, no radio/cd-player – they just don’t make stuff like they did in the past – unless you spend a small fortune.

  • I like the idea of the single clock with two alarm times.

  • Peter uses his cell phone – it has some kind of alarm clock function on it.