The 10 Best Alarm Clocks for Heavy Sleepers
This wiki has been updated 15 times since it was first published in May of 2018. If you have a hard time getting up in the morning, you might need an alarm clock designed with heavy sleepers in mind. These devices use features like buzzers, super loud volumes, and simulated sunrises to convince your body that it's time to wake up. Some even have vibrating pads that will nudge you awake physically. We've ranked them here by their effectiveness, reliability, and ease of use. When users buy our independently chosen editorial picks, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
December 21, 2020:
Every person is unique, so we added some options that wake you up in less traditional ways. The Pavlok Shock Clock is a wristband model that's a good choice for commuters who tend to doze off on the train. The Clocky Original rolls around the room, so you have to catch it to turn it off. The Ruggie Carpet features pressure sensors, so you have to stand on it for a certain amount of time to silence its beeping.
May 30, 2019:
This category saw a few minor shakeups since our last ranking. The BeeTop previously at number eight was removed for availability issues, while the Superstar LED Wood was ejected due to problems with performance, particularly involving its limited adjustability. Two new additions to our list are rather exciting. One is a model designed to live completely inside your pillow, which can help wake you up without necessarily disturbing your sleeping partner. The other is a target shooting model from Sharper Image that is decidedly novel.
A Brief History Of Alarm Clocks
Or you can just sleep in until your boss calls you and tells you you're fired.
Forget jumping out of planes, climbing tall mountains, or swimming with sharks. If you want to truly live life on the edge and look fear in the eye, try going to bed on a weeknight without setting your alarm clock.
Now try to imagine that that's how people lived for most of human history.
The earliest known reference to an alarm clock comes from Plato in the 4th century B.C.E., who devised an elaborate water clock to wake himself up for his legendary dawn lectures. This device involved water dripping through several tubes until it finally filled a special vessel made with holes that would whistle, waking him up.
The next known attempt came several centuries later, in 725 C.E. A Chinese monk named Yi Xing crafted something that mixed Plato's alarm with a cuckoo clock. Xing's model was a water clock, as well, except it was designed to play gongs and even puppet shows at certain predetermined times.
Still, neither Xing's nor Plato's model were suitable for widespread use, and most people still relied on the sun, servants, or roosters to wake up on time. During the Industrial Revolution, factories in many towns had whistles loud enough to wake nearby sleepers.
In 1787, a New Hampshire man named Levi Hutchins made a mechanical alarm clock for himself, to wake him every morning at 4 a.m. Not because he had to be at work, mind you — he just felt that people should be up that early.
There wouldn't be a patent issued for an alarm clock until 1847, when a French inventor named Antoine Redler created an adjustable, mechanical model. Eventually, their use began to be more common, especially in urban settings where roosters were in short supply.
In America during WWII, alarms stopped being made as all attention was turned to the war effort. However, towards the conflict's end, they were one of the first consumer goods to resume production. That lull in manufacturing had caused many older models to wear out, and as a result many workers across the country were showing up late to their jobs.
Today, it seems like everyone relies on an alarm of some kind to greet the day on time. Many have dedicated models on their nightstands, while others rely on the ones included on their smartphones.
Or you can just sleep in until your boss calls you and tells you you're fired. Then you won't need an alarm at all anymore!
What Heavy Sleepers Should Look For In An Alarm
For some people, a regular alarm just doesn't cut it in terms of waking them up. Or maybe it does — for a week or two. Then they adjust to the sound, and figure out a way to sleep through it.
Fortunately, there are a few models out there that rely on something other than repetitive noises to rouse you from your slumber.
Don't get us wrong — some of these still use sounds to wake you.
Don't get us wrong — some of these still use sounds to wake you. They just make way more sound than you're accustomed to. Some are even as loud as your average rock concert. Of course, that means everyone else in your house will hear it, too, so you might find yourself getting thrown out of bed by angry roommates.
If you're one of those kindhearted people who doesn't want to share your early morning misery with everyone else, you can get an alarm that doesn't make any noise at all. Instead, these produce strong vibrations, and you put them under the covers with you until the shaking wakes you up. They're ideal for the hearing-impaired.
Others use flashing lights rather than noise to get you up. Some of these lights are incredibly bright, making it uncomfortable for you to stay in bed, while others mimic the rising of the sun, which is supposed to trick your body into wanting to get up.
That's a sensation we've never personally experienced, but who knows? It may very well exist.
Other Ways To Make Sure You Get Up On Time
Having a powerful alarm clock is a great way to make sure you don't oversleep, but it's far from the only strategy you can use. The techniques below can be used in conjunction with your alarm or, if you're especially daring, in place of it.
Having a powerful alarm clock is a great way to make sure you don't oversleep, but it's far from the only strategy you can use.
Sticking to a schedule is important. Go to bed and get up at the same times every day, even on the weekends. This trains your body's natural circadian rhythms, so that you should be waking up right when the alarm would be going off. To be sure you don't mess with those rhythms accidentally, banish any electronic devices from the bedroom, as the light can suppress the production of melatonin.
Speaking of light, let the sunshine in. If possible, angle your bed and open your curtains so that the sunlight hits your face in the morning, as this is another good way to properly set your circadian rhythm.
If all else fails and you still need the alarm, make sure it's not within arm's reach. If you have to get up to turn it off, you'll be less likely to fall asleep without at least thinking about it first. Also, no one wants to get up and walk across the room every 10 minutes, so it discourages snoozing.
That brings up possibly the most important point: actually getting out of bed. None of these strategies are likely to be effective if you linger in those comfortable sheets, so find a way to get yourself up and moving. Whether that's getting a dog that needs walking, buying a personal training package you can't afford to miss, or just brewing some premium coffee you actually look forward to drinking, you need a reason to hop out of bed.