My oldest son is so difficult to wake up. He is definitely old enough to get himself up in the morning and manage the responsibility of an alarm clock but I just don’t trust him. However, I have to be a good parent and teach him the proper skills so he can adult effectively one day. I have gone on the hunt for the perfect alarm clock. And I have found some dillies!
- The Airborne Annoyance – The alarm goes off and releases a propeller that whizzes through the air. The propeller must be retrieved and replaced on the clock before the alarm will turn off.
- The Mobile Alarm – When the alarm sounds, the wheels begin to turn and the clock begins zooming around on the floor. The sleeper has to get up and find it in order to turn it off.
- Rocket Man – As the set alarm time arrives, there is a ten second countdown, just like a real rocket launch. When it is time for the alarm to sound, the rocket lifts off and must be retrieved and replaced back onto the clock in order for the alarm to be silenced.
- Target Shooting – For those who enjoy laser tag, this is perfect. Snoozers have to use a laser gun to hit the bullseye to turn off the alarm.
- Siren Alarm – Perhaps my favorite, because who would not come to full attention at the sound of a police cruiser’s siren? The lights flash, the siren screeches, and surely that would even wake the dead?
- Firebell – And, not to neglect other first responders, the firemen get their due with this great alarm clock. The resounding “clang, clang, clang” of a metal clapper on a metal bell will have your ears ringing and get you wide awake in a hurry.
- Stand To Attention – Another clever alarm clock is designed to look like a mat for wiping your feet. When the alarm goes off sleepers have to get up and stand on the rug to turn it off.
- Frustrating Puzzle – What could be more aggravating than still being in the fog of sleep and expected to solve a puzzle to turn off the alarm?
Complicated alarm clocks are definitely one solution to my son’s sloth-like speed in the morning. But is his condition common or a sign of something more serious? Scientists call this condition “sleep inertia”. And it is a normal biological response to our bodies’ sleep hormones that are still coursing through our veins from our previous night’s sleep.
Everyone has sleep inertia to some degree. It is unavoidable. However, for those who suffer from it to a greater degree, like my son, there are steps that can be taken to minimize the effects.
- Stop engaging with electronic devices at least one half hour before retiring to promote the production of melatonin, a sleep hormone, so that you fall asleep sooner.
- Don’t use the “snooze” button on the alarm. Most people set the alarm for ten or fifteen minutes earlier than when they have to awaken. Just sleep. Set the alarm for when you actually need to arise.
- Create a thirty minute bedtime ritual that conditions your body to begin to respond to sleep. Read a book, massage in moisturizing lotions, meditate with a candle, sip a warm cup of chamomile tea, etc.
Most extreme sleep inertia is caused by not getting a good night’s sleep the night before and the body is forced to wake up while still in a deep sleep cycle. So, the key to avoiding the worst of sleep inertia is to fall asleep faster and sleep sounder. There is much information available about the science of sleep and waking. My son’s waking problem may actually be a sleeping problem.