My dream alarm clock

2019-06-22

I’ve been fantasizing about building a special alarm clock.

I hate using my phone for an alarm because it means I have to touch my phone first thing in the morning. The second I shut off my alarm I start wasting time immediately, and I lose all connection to my constructive boredom.

But I still want to wake up at a particular time. Unfortunately an alarm doesn’t even help with that. Like many people, I’m a snooze button expert. Actually, I’m disciplined enough not to use the snooze button, but many years ago I learned to get out of bed, walk across the room, turn off the alarm, reset it to go off in 15-30 minutes, get back in bed and fall back asleep. All while semi-conscious.

I once proposed making an alarm clock which acts pretty much like you’d expect, except if you don’t get out of bed in the ten minutes after your alarm goes off it will literally kill you. Maybe the alarm triggers a big stone slab to start lowering itself out of the ceiling. It moves slowly but eventually it will crush you, unless you’ve gotten out of bed in time. Talk about motivation to wake up.

Someone I mentioned this to suggested that maybe when your alarm goes off, your bed could start sinking into the floor or receding into the wall. After ten minutes, the door closes and there’s no way to open it from inside. If you fall back asleep, that’s where you’re staying until your bed emerges again twelve hours later.

While those sound fun, I’ve been thinking of something more practical. It’s a standard bedside alarm clock, except:

  • You can only set one time for the alarm.
  • There is no snooze button. There’s only one button, and it turns off the alarm.
  • There’s a dead window beginning two hours before it’s scheduled, and ending four hours after it’s gone off. During the dead window, there’s no way to change the time of the alarm, or make any other changes whatsoever to the settings of the clock. The only button that works in the dead window is the button to turn off the alarm.

No snooze, no resetting. You only have two options: get up when the alarm goes off, or go back to sleep and wake up God knows when.

Would that be enough to get me out of bed in the morning? I’d be excited to find out.