Lose the snooze. What app makes you jump out of bed happiest?
To say I’m not a morning person is an understatement. A chronic abuser of the snooze button I’ve resorted to setting my alarm a good 45 minutes earlier than necessary. Every night I vow to break my snoozing habit. But, fearing my willpower will desert me and leave me late for work I continue set my alarm excessively early… just in case. Come morning and my willpower level is zero and the desire for just a five more minutes overwhelming. All thoughts of turning over a new leaf are instantly forgotten in favour of turning over to the cold side of the pillow! SHOCKER!
Fortunately, I can console myself with the knowledge I’m not alone. Turns out over 60% of us admit to abusing the snooze, spending on average 3.5 months of our lives doing exactly that. I guess those extra five minutes really do add up! But it gets worse. Aside from precious wasted time, studies have shown that hitting snooze plays havoc with our bodies circadian rhythm and natural morning release of dopamine (the chemical which tells our brains it’s time to wake up.) Yup, it would seem those additional zzz’s actually make the process of waking up all the more painful.
Time for change
Armed with this latest information, I decided enough was enough. Over two weeks I tried and tested various anti-snoozing alarm clock apps and hacks, in a bid to break my habit. Now, I share my findings with you. So, if you too are a self-confessed serial snoozer read on, I might just have the solution you’ve been searching for…
Science shows that when it comes to waking up refreshed, timing is everything! That awful feeling we all experience when the alarm goes off is due to the fact we’ve been woken up from a deep sleep phase. But, should the alarm sound during the lightest phase of sleep we feel far more refreshed, as though we’ve woken up naturally without the aid of an alarm. Sleep Cycle has tapped into this science to deliver an intelligent alarm clock which tracks your sleep cycles throughout the night to wake you softly at the optimal time during your ‘wake up window.’ For example, if you opt for a 15 minute wake up window and set your alarm for 8.00, Sleep Cycle will wake you sometime between 7.45 and 8.00 at the optimal time.
Did it work?
I was skeptical. I can’t recall a time in my life when I’ve not hit the snooze button, EVER, so my hopes weren’t high. But, I was pleasantly surprised. Unlike some alarms which give off a noise to closely rival a pneumatic drill, this one wakes you with a gentle melodic tune. The science holds up too, on several occasions I was actually on the cusp of waking up naturally as the alarm sounded, a much more pleasant experience than being woken from a dead sleep. But the big question, was I able to get up right away? Two of three days yes, one day I did hit snooze but just the once, not my usual 14 times (yes, 14. Really!) so a definitely improvement, however, I do think this app is more suited to the average snoozer than someone as bad as me. I needed something a little more brutal, and I found it.
- It’s a much more pleasant way to wake up.
- I woke each morning considerably more refreshed than usual
- It does significantly reduce your chances of hitting snooze
- It’s still too easy to hit snooze. All you have to do is tap the phone twice
- Better suited to the average snoozer than a dozing addict
AMP RATING: 3
Alarmy takes a very different approach to sleep cycle. Forget a gentle wake-up call, this one is brutal on the body and the brain! It works by forcing you to complete a task in order to turn off the alarm. Users have a choice of three alarm deactivating activities, including taking a picture of an object, shaking the phone or completing a maths problem.
Did it work?
Yes, but it wasn’t pleasant! I chose the math’s problem option. Math’s is NOT my thing! I struggle to calculate 61 x 8 + 12 at the best of times, never mind at 6am still half-asleep dealing with the incessant ringing of an alarm! Still, this was what made it work for me. By the time I’d finally figured out the answer I was well and truly awake, but I was also in a bad mood from taking so long to solve the problem. I guess everything in life is a trade-off.
- It’s definitely effective. I didn’t snooze once using it.
- It’s irritating as hell not being able to turn the alarm off easily, but that’s what makes it work.
AMP RATING: 4
Barcode alarm clock
An annoying but effective concept, Barcode alarm also offers a brutal wake-up call, forcing you out of bed to scan the barcode of a preselected item, in order to shut the bastard thing off! It’s more physically challenging than Alarmy, but is it as effective?
Did it work
The answer, YES! But unlike with Alarmy I was less irritated by the end of the process. Each night I preselected an object in the kitchen, usually cereal of some description. Choosing to force myself downstairs I also inadvertently complicated the process by triggering the house alarm once my feet hit the first step. It was then a mad dash to make it to the bottom before it went off and woke the whole house. Looking back, contending with a flight of stairs, two alarms beeping incessantly and legs that were still half asleep, things could have ended disastrously for someone as accident prone as me, but fortunately on each occasion I did manage to safely locate the cereal cupboard and scan the code. But, was I awake at the end of the process? Most definitely, plus I’d just set myself up for breakfast. Perfect!
- Very effective.
- Sets you up nicely into your morning routine, depending on what you choose to scan.
- It’s a pretty jarring wake up.
- The user interface could be more attractive.
AMP RATING: 5