Wake-Up Alarms


I have an old Timex Indiglo alarm clock that I used in high school, then I took it with me to Germany, and then after I returned to the U.S. I continued to use it through some of college.  It now sits on my desk, and it still lights up dimly when a button is pressed, but I can't see the display any more since the battery has just about run out of power.  (I guess it's about time I finally replaced the battery since it hasn't been changed since the late '90s.)

The clock's shrill alarm is incredibly annoying.  In fact, it's so annoying that I discovered a long time ago that if I kept it next my bed, instead of across the room on a shelf, I would instantly hit the snooze button to get the horrible noise to stop and imediately go back to sleep, thus effectively sleeping through my alarm.

These days, I use my cellphone as an alarm clock.  Most cellphones come with a variety of default alarm tones which, although musical, are still too annoying to wake up to.  There's something about being woken up in an annoying manner that just starts your day off wrong.  In fact, researchers have found that annoying alarms raise blood pressure, increase stress, and impare cognitive abilities[1].

A long time ago I decided that I needed an alarm that wasn't so alarming.  Rather than purchasing a specialty product like a sunrise simulation alarm when I was a poor college student (I don't know if these things were even easy to find back then) I made a “gentle” alarm by looping a 3-and-a-half-second tick-tock segment from the beginning of Shino Lin's 無疾而終wu ji er zhong and made that my alarm's ringtone.

無疾而終wu ji er zhong is a gentle melody that wakes me without being disturbing — or waking up the baby.  (This also happens to be one of my favorite songs.  The clock rhythms are almost hypnotic, the melody is fantastic, and it's a slow song that manages to crank up the energy during the chorus without disturbing the mood set at the beginning.)  You can download this ringtone here.

For when you want a silent alarm, not necessarily for waking up, but your cellphone does not have a “no ringtone” option, I also made a silent ringtone.

But for those times when you need a horrible alarm because it's critical that you not oversleep, but you're worried that you will, perhaps after pulling a late-nighter, I made one of the worst ringtones ever:  Weird Al's “Bite Me.”  You can download this one here.

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