How to Choose an Alarm Clock

Two Parts:Choosing Options on a Traditional Alarm ClockExploring New Alternative Alarm Clocks

Alarm clocks have come a long way in recent years. Many people are relying on their smart phones to wake them, but alarm clocks offer many other options to effectively rouse you from your slumber. Find the best option to meet your needs and be sure you are alert and on time to your morning meeting.

Part 1
Choosing Options on a Traditional Alarm Clock

  1. Image titled Choose an Alarm Clock Step 1
    Determine whether you want an analog or digital face on your alarm clock. Beyond simply the look and style of the more modern, LED digital face or the classic ticking hands, you want to consider the effect your alarm clock display can have on your ability to sleep and wake up on time.[1]
    • The light from an LED display could brighten your room enough to make it more difficult to sleep.
    • If you wake in the middle of the night, you want to avoid looking at the clock and causing yourself more stress, making it harder to go back to sleep. LED displays could be harder to avoid than analogue clocks.
    • If you want to know the exact time right away, digital displays could be a better option for you.
  2. Image titled Choose an Alarm Clock Step 2
    Choose a model with a battery backup. Some clocks will run on batteries alone, while others plug into the wall. Plug-in models can reset in a power surge or blackout, so an alarm with a built-in backup power source will be more reliable.
  3. Image titled Choose an Alarm Clock Step 3
    Reduce the size for traveling. If you travel a lot for work, it's helpful to carry an alarm clock you trust on your work trips. There are many small travel alarm clocks which run on batteries and fit easily in your carry-on suitcase.[2]
    • Some travel alarm clocks fold into protective cases. This can be helpful in keeping it safe when you throw it in your travel bag.
    • Carry extra batteries and change them regularly to ensure your clocks keeps ticking.
  4. Image titled Choose an Alarm Clock Step 4
    Choose your snooze. Since the 1950s, most alarm clocks have been made with a snooze which lasts nine minutes. The reasoning comes from research which suggested snoozing for ten minutes would put you back into a deep sleep rather than achieving a restful snooze.[3]
    • If you prefer a longer or shorter snooze times, some clocks are being made with snooze options that you can adjust between five and fourteen minutes.
  5. Image titled Choose an Alarm Clock Step 5
    Wake up to music or talk radio. You may respond better and wake more easily by stimulating your brain with words or music rather than the traditional beep. In this case, try a clock radio which you can set to your favorite radio station or morning talk show.[4]

Part 2
Exploring New Alternative Alarm Clocks

  1. Image titled Choose an Alarm Clock Step 6
    Incorporate light to help you wake more naturally. Find an alarm clock which brightens the room and creates the illusion of a sunrise to initiate your body’s wake up system. Light triggers the body to create hormones like cortisol, which help your body wake up. The light also signals a change in your body temperature and reduces the production of sleep inducing chemicals like melatonin. [5]
    • The Rise and Shine Natural Wake Up Light increases the light in the room slowly as it increases the volume of the alarm, leading you gently into the day.
  2. Image titled Choose an Alarm Clock Step 7
    Force yourself into physical activity. One way to help your body wake up is to engage in physical activity right away. You get your blood moving when you get your body moving, making it an effective and healthy way to start the day.[6]
    • The Wake Up and Work Out alarm clock is a 1.5 pound dumbbell. It won’t stop sounding the alarm until you complete 30 bicep curls.[7]
  3. Image titled Choose an Alarm Clock Step 8
    Shake yourself awake. Several alarm clocks are incorporating a device which is placed under your mattress to shake you awake. The gentle shake can accompany an alarm sound or work on its own. This can be especially useful for the hearing impaired, or those who have trouble waking to the sound of the alarm.[8]
    • Smart Shaker from iLuv works with the alarm on your smart phone, by attaching via bluetooth to activate the shake. Sound is optional.
    • The Silent alarm clock avoids noises altogether and wakes you with a gentle shake. You strap a rubber band on your finger or thumb, which is wirelessly activated to shake when you want to wake up. You can snooze by shaking your hand, but will have to shake it more vigorously with each snooze.[9]
  4. Image titled Choose an Alarm Clock Step 9
    Adjust the volume level to your liking. Some people can sleep right through an alarm clock and others can’t stand the loud blast. While you sleep, your brain is still processing auditory signals. The deeper you are in your sleep cycle, though, the more noise you may need to draw you out of it. If you are waking at odd hours or tend to sleep through your alarm, try an alarm with increased volume.[10]
    • The Sonic Alert Loud Dual alarm clock allows you to adjust the volume up to 113 decibels. You can also make the alarm entirely silent and opt for the shaker option if you have company over and don’t want to wake them.
    • The Screaming Meanie can be set to loud, louder, or loudest (which reaches the volume of an ambulance siren). This is a great, small travel option which can also serve as a timer.
  5. Image titled Choose an Alarm Clock Step 10
    Force yourself out of bed with a carpet alarm clock. This clock is a carpet you place next to your bed. It comes with an LCD display that reads the time and does not stop sounding until you get out of bed and stand on it.[11]
  6. Image titled Choose an Alarm Clock Step 11
    Combine several elements to cover all your bases and be sure you don’t miss your morning meeting. You don’t have to settle for one way of waking up. Choose an alarm clock which utilizes several tactics to get you up and out of bed.[12]
    • Clarity Wake Assure Super Bright alarm clock sounds at 85 decibels, shakes the bed and attaches to your beside lamp to flash your lights.
    • For even more volume, try the Sonic Boom Super Shaker. Its display lights flash while it shakes your bed and alarms at 113 decibels, which is equivalent to the sound of a jackhammer.[13]


  • Be unique and use other clock devices for alarm clocks. Depending on the model, cell phones have built-in alarm clock features (you can choose the alarm as vibrate or one of your ringtones).
  • Some alarm clock displays dim after certain hours, like when the sun sets. If you prefer sleeping in the dark, you should seek out this feature.


  • If your digital alarm clock is an electronic and needs to be plugged in, every time it gets unplugged or turned off (due to a power failure, etc) it may reset to 12:00am and blink repeatedly. Unless it has an internal battery backup, it will need to be reset to the correct time.

Article Info

Categories: Improving Waking Up