I am not a morning person. I find waking up early in the morning to go to work one of the toughest challenges I face on a daily basis. It usually involves putting my alarm on snooze and then waking up late or turning it off and then falling back to sleep. Either way, it means I always set my alarm earlier than when I need to wake up to account for the time it actually takes me to wake up. I also always end up hating my alarm sound no matter what I set it to. I guess it’s probably because I end up associating the sound with the disruption of my rest.
We sleep in cycles and there are existing apps on phones and watches that utilise this and wake us up when we are in our light sleep to cause as little disruption to our sleep as possible. This could be an important aspect of the solution as long as it knows what time we need to be awake by.
If the alarm knows the best time to wake us up then the next stage will be to figure out how to be woken. This is usually done by sound but we have 4 other senses. Taste will be an interesting sense to use to say the least. Smell is also interesting but has been used in other solutions before. I have read some solutions say that the smell of breakfast can sometimes wake us up. It would certainly be a pleasant thing to be woken up by, but I just wonder if we will get sick of the smell if we smell it every morning. Sight might appear to be a redundant sense when trying to wake someone up, as our eyes will be closed, however it can be utilised the moment we open our eyes for the first time. I think that touch is perhaps the best sense to use when trying to wake someone up. If you were to wake someone up you’d usually call out to them, and then go over and tap on them if you’re close by. I think that gentle taps is perhaps the most pleasant way to be woken up.
In my experience, another disadvantage that a lot of alarms have nowadays is that you have to remember to set them and then remember what time to go to sleep to get enough rest. If an alarm could understand your calender and know when and what time you go to work or school then we might not have to do anything with it at all. The alarm could remind us when to sleep the night before in order to get the optimum amount and also confirm the time of the alarm.
Now that we have an alarm that can set itself, tell us when to sleep, when best to wake up and is able to wake us up using some form of tactility; it requires a form. It would be difficult to use the form of traditional alarms in the form of a clock on our bedside table and implement tactility. Many people use their phones as alarms nowadays, however they will also be difficult to implement tactility unless we keep our phone on our body when we sleep.
The best form will probably be in the form of a wearable device, which will also need to be comfortable so that it doesn’t hinder us from sleeping. Watches could be an option then, however most smartwatches at the moment do not have the battery life to be used during the day and night without being charged. So perhaps it could be in a similar form and use similar materials as a sweatband that would go on our wrist or arm, as they are comfortable to wear and can provide some customisability if the cloth material could be replaced.
Within the product would be a vibration motor which would give us the tapping sensation to wake us up, and perhaps even a strobing light to confirm that the alarm is going off when we look at it. The vibrations can then get stronger the longer it takes us to wake up, and will only stop once it detects that we have actually stood up and perhaps also walked a few steps. Another advantage of using tactile feedback is that the alarm will not wake up people around us who are still sleeping.
I guess this could be called a ‘night wearable’ which can be charged during the day and worn only when we go to sleep. As it won’t require a screen, it will most likely need to be paired with a phone which it will use to pull data from, and also push data such as when alarms have been set and perhaps even our sleeping patterns.
If you think you have a solution to this problem, or if you have a problem you would like me to try to solve then please feel free to comment it.