We all need to get up early sometimes, and it always sucks. But it sucks even more for people who manage to sleep through their alarm, or turn it off without properly waking up. Luckily there’s the I Can't Wake Up! Alarm Clock app for just such a situation.
I’ll be honest, I’m not the target audience for this app. Chronic insomnia means waking up is something I do very well, often without any desire or provocation. However, I know plenty of people who struggle with the treacherous lure of the snooze button, or the dubious superpower of being able to turn off the alarm without actually waking up.
For the most part, I Can’t Wake Up behaves much like the alarm that comes with your phone. You can set different alarm times for different days, or a regular alarm that will go off every weekday, or whatever it is you need. The alarm starts quietly and gets louder the longer you leave it, much like a cat that wants feeding (which is also an effective device for waking someone up). To get the alarm to stop you have to solve a series of puzzles – you can’t just hit a button and roll back over to sleep. The logic is that if you’re conscious enough to solve some equations or a memory puzzle, you’re awake enough to realise that you should probably get out of bed. And if you don’t solve the puzzles, the alarm will keep on ringing until you do.
The puzzles range in style and difficulty, and you can choose what type and how many you’ll be required to deal with for your alarm. I can’t think of much worse than starting the day with maths equations, but for some people it’ll be the challenge they need to get their brain moving. For others there’s memory tests and visual challenges. Each of these can be set with easy, medium or hard difficulty.
As someone who likes simple-minded puzzle games on my phone, my worry is less that I won’t wake up, more that I’ll wake up but stay in bed for the next hour playing with my alarm. That game where you turn over tiles and try to match up the pairs by remembering where they are? That’s way more fun than whatever it is I have to get up to do. I’d rather stay in bed and do that.
That trivial complaint aside, however, this is a useful app and I’d recommend it. It won’t make it any more enjoyable to be woken up early, but it will at least make it more likely to happen.