I can sleep. One time I slept for an entire 17-hour flight from New York to Taiwan in a middle seat. Another time I slept on a 12-hour night bus across India, through every bathroom break and even breakfast the next morning — when I woke up, everyone had deboarded the bus, and I was alone parked in a lot for no telling how long. And then there was the time a hail storm hit and blew my Brooklyn bedroom's window open, knocking my candles off my vanity and tearing down my curtain rod — I slept through that, too.
I can sleep. Through anything. It's a blessing and a curse, really. So it's no surprise that most alarm clocks don't work much magic on me.
So what is the best alarm clock for heavy sleepers like me, or what's the best alarm to wake up to if you don't want to drive everyone else around you crazy? There are tons of alarm clock apps from which to choose.
Here are 10 of the best alarm clocks out there that even almost turned me into a morning person.
SpinMe is an app that asks you to stand up and spin around twice. You can't just circle your phone around from bed. You have to actually place two thumbs on the screen and hold the phone flat, which makes it essentially cheat-proof.
"So far this app has gotten me up in the morning without me going straight back to bed," one user wrote. "Just make sure you have your system volume set high up a decent amount. I recommend this app for anti-morning people."
Barcode alarm is an app that asks you to scan a barcode and then scan the same barcode to turn it back off in the morning. The cons are that you can scan the barcode to an object close to your bed, which doesn't really require you to actually get up. But if you're wise, you'll use it to scan a barcode somewhere in your kitchen or living room, far from your bed.
Mathe Alarm will ask you a series of math problems at a variety of difficulty levels. You'll then have to turn off the alarm by actually solving those math problems — which is sometimes some serious algebra.
"I am the worst at waking up in the morning; I'm also really bad at math — but it's a good thing because the second this alarm goes off I have to make sure I think to turn it off," one user wrote. "So for about five minutes I'm doing math half asleep and by the time my alarm is turned off, I'm already alert! It's amazing. Once your mind starts working it's hard to shut off. And it gets better. If your good at math, they have different levels."
Step Out will have you actually getting up and out of bed to take a set number of steps before your alarm actually turns off. You have to do more than just walk around, however. You'll have to take a photo of a destination and then walk back there and take the same photo in order to turn the phone off. It detects cheating if you just shake your phone, and it'll only get louder the longer you wait.
Imagine if every time you hit snooze, you'd have to pay money. That's what'll happen when you use the Snooze U Pay app. You'll get five free minutes of snoozing to start but then it costs 99 cents for 10 minutes, $2.99 for 30 minutes, $5.99 for 60 minutes and $11.99 for 120 minutes.
You choose the level of difficulty for this app, and you'll have to memorize and repeat color patterns to turn it off. This app is relatively easy to turn off, but it does require some effort and level of brain activity, which should wake you up.
"I have used this app for at least six months and find it extremely effective," one reviewer wrote. "My stubborn brain got used to it so I had to up the difficulty level and set several alarms a few minutes apart, but it really works! I agree that the ads are annoying so I went ad free, but annoying ads can really wake up the sleeping brain."
Alarmy is a popular alarm clock that shows you the weather and the news all from one app. It also offers three options to getting you up and out of bed. The photo option makes you register a place or object of which you have to take a picture to turn off the alarm. The shake mode makes you shake your phone fifty times to turn off the alarm. And the math problem mode makes you solve math equations to turn off the alarm.
"I’ve been battling thyroid issues for years; one of the fun side effects of hypothyroidism is intense fatigue," one user wrote. "I live an hour from my office and commute every morning. With every other alarm I have ever tried, I would set my alarm for 5 a.m. with the best of intentions, and hit the snooze for an hour... or 2... and would inevitably show up 15 to 30 minutes late for work two to three times per week. I would also lose productivity in the mornings from my mad rush out the door. I have to use the 'take a picture' function because it forces me out of bed. I set my picture to something in the kitchen so that once I’m there, I can immediately start making my coffee and force myself to stay up. I can then take my time getting ready for work and actually look like a put-together professional rather than dragging in late with rumpled clothes and 'red-light rush eyeliner.'"
Wakie Community is a social platform with people from all over the world. You can ask people from anywhere in the world to give you a wake-up call. If there's no one available, the app uses a bot to make the call.
Sleep Better will track your sleep, caffeine and alcohol intake, as well as your exercise information, and keep a sleep diary for you. When you leave your phone by your pillow at night, it'll also track your sleep cycles. This way it's a smart app that will wake you up based on all of the information it compiles so you can get up with even more energy.
"The promise is in the name, and so far I haven’t been disappointed — I’ve tried every app like this one that I could find on the App Store, and this is by far 'the best bank for its buck,'" says one reviewer. "I’m sure you could find one that has more features, but for a monthly subscription. It does what it promises and wakes me up when I’m already close to waking, and it’s gotten me to work on time every day that I’ve used it. I feel significantly better on mornings when I use Sleep Better than on mornings when I don’t."
Walk Me Up is a pedometer-based alarm clock app that forces you to get up to dismiss the app. You'll have to walk a certain amount of steps to turn it off, though you can set the number yourself. There's also an "evil mode" that doesn't let you snooze the alarm until you walk those steps. You'll just have to get up and start moving your body, so you might as well stay up then.
"It's very good app with lot of customizations, I liked different type of alarm sounds," one user wrote.
AnnaMarie Houlis is a feminist, a freelance journalist and an adventure aficionado with an affinity for impulsive solo travel. She spends her days writing about women’s empowerment from around the world. You can follow her work on her blog, HerReport.org, and follow her journeys on Instagram @her_report, Twitter @herreportand Facebook.