June 29, 2009
| by Lisa Montgomery
Now that summer’s in full swing, I find myself staying up way too late. In Michigan—which sits at the far west side of the Eastern Time zone—the sun doesn’t drop until after 10 p.m. That means I’m usually up well past 11 p.m. Needless to say, that 5:30 a.m. alarm has to work really hard to wake me up.
In July, iLuv will release what just might be provide the perfect solution to my daybreak dilemma. The iMM153 Desktop Dual Alarm Clock ($59.99) offers seven different ways to wake up. There’s the traditional beeper or radio alarm, music blasted from a docked iPod, but probably the most effective is the connected bed shaker. No bigger than a roll of duct tape, the black disc, which plugs into the iMM153, can slip right under your pillow. When 5:30 rolls around, the disc vibrates. If that’s not enough to get you out of bed, the shaker can be used in combination with the iPod, FM radio or buzzer.
An iPod-friendly, bed shaking alarm clocks isn’t the only high-tech way to rise and shine. Over the years, custom electronics professionals have shared plenty of alternative solutions with me that have worked wonders for families with heavy sleepers. Here’s a sampling:
Bring up the Lights. This one only works if the room is still dark at your typical wake-up time. By tying the bedroom lights to a timer, you can have them gradually brighten over a period of say, five minutes, which is a nice, gentle way to ease into your morning. If that doesn’t work, you could always have the lights flash instead.
Make an Announcement. What’s the most annoying sound you can think of? Is it a dog barking, fingernails scraping across a chalkboard or someone whining at your to “get out of bed.” Many whole-house audio systems and automation systems can be programmed to broadcast prerecorded announcements over the speakers in your bedroom, the kids’ bedrooms or throughout the entire house, if that’s more effective.
Open the Shades. Nothing says “get out of bed” quite like a blast of sunshine in the eyes. By connecting your window shades or draperies to a motorized roller or headrail, they can open automatically at a prescribed time of day (most motorized window treatment systems are available with built-in timers).
Stand Up. The fact that you can turn off an alarm by simply stretching your arm out is part of the problem. It’s too easy to just roll over and go back to sleep. If you actually had to get out of bed to stop the buzzer, though, you might not be so tempted to hit the sack again. An effective, economical way to accomplish this is to simply keep your alarm clock on the other side of the bedroom; but if you want to go high-tech, ask your custom electronics professional to place pressure sensors underneath the carpeting by the side of the bed. When the sensors detect that someone is standing on them, they can signal the alarm clock to turn off.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.