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Published Oct 6, 2022 11:00 AM

If you’re a heavy sleeper, you can’t just use any alarm clock. You need one that is the sonic equivalent of getting dragged out of bed and thrown into a cold pond of water. It can’t be too loud, however, since you most likely have neighbors or roommates who you want to be respectful of. We’re not expecting you to be the most bright-eyed and bushy-tailed person in the room first thing in the morning—we just want you to not miss a meeting because you slept through your phone alarm again. Fall and winter can be particularly challenging for deep sleepers, and snoozing over and over again may provide short sleep satisfaction but leaves you drowsy during the day. The best alarm clocks for heavy sleepers will get you up and at ’em to get started on your day.

How we chose the best alarm clocks for heavy sleepers

I’m a heavy sleeper who is prone to snoozing too much. I have had full conversations with people in my sleep without remembering them, and have missed many a nighttime raging summer storm. Other than being a very capable and willing human guinea pig, I’ve also covered life-hack gadgets for Gear Patrol and PopSci, among others. With that in mind, I combined personal experience with critical reviews, peer recommendations, and user impressions in our quest for the best alarm clocks for heavy sleepers.

What to consider when buying an alarm clock for heavy sleepers

Why are people heavy sleepers? It all depends on genetics, lifestyle, and potential for sleep disorders. One study found that those with busier brains were more likely to sleep through loud noises. If you’re unphased by a storm while you sleep, or you’re someone who simply can’t wake up despite multiple phone alarms, there’s a good chance you’d benefit from an alarm clock for heavy sleepers. Here are the basics of finding a heavy-duty alarm clock:

Snooze no more

Heavy sleepers will know the pain of reaching to hit snooze, turning off the alarm clock completely, and waking up at 11 a.m. feeling like they traveled through another dimension and back. Slamming the snooze button is bad for your health. Plus, the sad truth is, you’re not getting much quality sleep in that extra nine minutes. On top of taking steps to improve your sleep hygiene, the best alarm clocks for heavy sleepers will make it harder to turn off the alarm accidentally and stop the snooze cycle in its tracks with loud noises.

Sounds and vibrations

Lighter sleepers can get away with using a sunrise alarm clock, which mimics the sun’s rising to alert your body to wake up. However, heavy sleepers might not be phased on light alone. An especially loud alarm clock, a wearable that vibrates you awake, and bed-shaking capabilities are features to look for in the best alarm clocks for heavy sleepers. Others would consider these alarms annoying, but you have to bring out the big guns if you’re a hard sleeper.

Brain work

Giving your brain some exercise when you wake up can give you that extra little oomph to get to the kitchen and turn on the coffee machine. Alarms that make you move or complete a problem to turn them off get you out of bed, which makes it easier to start your day. Some crazy alarm clocks for heavy sleepers even zoom off your nightstand, making you have to chase them down to turn them off.

The best alarm clocks for heavy sleepers: Reviews & Recommendations

It’s time to admit and accept that even the best app and phone alarm may simply not be enough for some to get out of bed. And that’s okay—there are plenty of people who struggle with waking up. Here is what we found in our search for the most effective alarm clocks for heavy sleepers. 

Best overall: Sonic Bomb Dual Extra Loud Alarm Clock with Bed Shaker

Roxicosly

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Why it made the cut: Nothing wakes you up like a serving of 113 decibels with a side of bed vibration and strobes.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 10.23 x 20.46 x 15.35 inches
  • Display type: Digital
  • Wake-up method: Alarm, vibration
  • Power source: AC adapter with battery back-up

Pros

  • Combines loud noise with vibration
  • Adjustable display dimmer
  • Red flashing strobe lights

Cons

  • Will wake up others in the house

If the Sonic Bomb doesn’t wake you up, you might need to talk to a doctor. The alarm rings at a pounding 113dB max—that’s just as loud as a rock concert (though volume/duration are adjustable if you’d not quite ready for an arena-level alert). If you’re looking for a relaxing sunrise alarm, this is not it: Red strobes nail in the point that you need to wake up. In case you needed another layer of rousing, the Sonic Bomb comes with a bed shaker that can be placed between your mattress and box spring or under a pillow for some classic shake-til-awake. And trust us: the vibrations are intense and difficult to sleep through. You can even record a personalized message to your sleepy morning self to wake up. An adjustable display dimmer makes it so that you sleep soundly when the lights are off since excess light can make it harder to sleep. If you are looking for a heavy-duty alarm clock that combines multiple ways to wake up, this is it.

Best vibrating: Roxicosly Vibrating Alarm Clock for Heavy Sleepers

Roxicosly

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Why it made the cut: Choose from standalone vibration or wake up with an alarm-bed shaker double whammy. 

Specs

  • Dimensions: 6.82 x 1.5 x 3.39 inches
  • Display type: Digital
  • Wake-up method: Alarm, vibration
  • Power source: AC outlet with a backup battery

Pros

  • Large digital screen
  • Built-in USB-A port
  • Four levels of volume

Cons

  • Vibration shakes entire bed

I personally have very clear memories of my mom walking into my room to shake me awake. But I am a grown adult who lives by herself four hours away from her childhood home, so I can no longer rely on a parent to wake me up. If you find yourself in the same boat, the Roxicosly Vibrating Alarm Clock can be your parental stand-in. Simply place the disk-like vibrating bed shaker in between your mattress and box spring or under your pillow, set your alarm, and enter a borderline coma. You can choose between bed shaker, an alarm, or a combo of the two to wake you from your deep, deep sleep. And, the vibrating disk has a 71-inch cord, meaning you have enough room to place the alarm clock far enough to walk to turn it off. All that’s missing from this alarm clock is a warm hug and scrambling to find a Mother’s Day card.

Best without waking roommates: Shock Clock 2

Shock Clock

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Why it made the cut: Break your snooze habit with this wristband that wakes you up silently with a sequence of vibrations or zaps. 

Specs

  • Dimensions:
  • Display type: N/A
  • Wake-up method: Vibration
  • Power source: Battery

Pros

  • Connected app with sleep tracking
  • Helps break the habit of snoozing
  • No snooze

Cons

  • Very powerful at even 50 percent power

If you’re a heavy sleeper but live in group housing—whether it’s with your family or roommates—multiple loud alarms can cause some divides. Since it’s a shared space, you want to be as respectful as possible, especially when it comes to not interrupting people’s sleep. Maybe you’ve tried the haptic alarm on your Apple Watch but it’s not enough. Enter the Shock Clock, which uses vibrations, zaps, or beeps to wake you up. And, this thing has no snooze—the only way to turn it off is by completing some jumping jacks, solving a puzzle or riddle, or taking a picture of a QR code in another room—talk about getting up and staying up. Despite being a heavy sleeper, go easy on the Shock Clock settings when getting used to it. It’s very powerful, and getting zapped at 100 percent … is intense. Trust us. But, if you’d like to free yourself from the snooze overlords without making too much of a ruckus, you’ll be Pavlov’d by the Shock Clock.

Best for very heavy sleepers: CLOCKY Alarm Clock on Wheels

Clocky

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Why it made the cut: You can only snooze once with this alarm clock, which jumps from your nightstand and rolls around if you don’t shut him off.

Specs

  • Dimensions: 5.25 x 3.5 x 3.5 inches
  • Display type: Digital
  • Wake-up method: Alarm, movement
  • Power source: 4 AAAA batteries (not included)

Pros

  • Limited times to snooze
  • Gets you out of bed
  • Durable

Cons

  • Annoying

Much like McGruff the Crime Dog, sometimes you need a cartoon character to motivate you. Meet Clocky, a crazy little guy who entered this world in 2006 thanks to Gauri Nanda, who was attending MIT at the time. Her plight is similar to many heavy sleepers: snoozing too many times or sleeping through alarms or missing classes. You’re only allowed to snooze once with Clocky. If you don’t shut him off before shutdown, he will leap up to 3 feet from your nightstand and roll away, leaving you to catch him. This gets you out of bed and will be sure to keep you out of bed. If you are especially not a morning person—and waking you up is like poking a sleeping bear—you can disable Clocky’s wheels and use it like a regular alarm clock so you don’t smash it into the wall out of anger when it rolls away. He is durable, but don’t push his limits … or yours.

Best budget: Peakeep Twin Bell Alarm Clock

Peakeep

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Why it made the cut: Take it old school with this alarm clock that features an analog face with a classic loud bell. 

Specs

  • Dimensions: 4.5 x 2 x 6.25 inches
  • Display type: Analog
  • Wake-up method: Alarm
  • Power source: Battery

Pros

  • No snooze
  • Loud
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • No ticking sounds

Cons

  • No snooze

Being a heavy sleeper is painted in … not the best light. Bed head? A pool of spit? Snoring? The slander must stop! Those who can’t wake up deserve to have some aesthetic representation: think nightcap-dressing gown-Honk shoo mimimimimi-Sleepy Time tea vibes. Enter the Peakeep Twin Bell Alarm Clock. This alarm clock doesn’t use vibration to get things going—just the power of a loud bell and the heightened stakes of not having a snooze button. Setting the alarm is just a knob turn away. The clock face glows in the dark, and there’s no ticking for a peaceful sleep. If you really need to check the time at night, just hold the light button in the back. It’s cute, it’s cheap, and it’s loud. What more could you want in an alarm clock?

FAQs

Q: How much do alarm clocks for heavy sleepers cost?

The best alarm clocks for heavy sleepers start at $15 and get into the $150 range. An electronic wearable with app connectivity is going to be more expensive than an analog clock with a loud bell.

Q: How do I wake up without waking my partner?

A silent alarm will let your partner rest easy while you rise. However, as a heavy sleeper, you have to consider what silent options will get you up. Consider a bed shaker on your side of the bed, headphones for sleeping for alarms right in your ears, or a wrist wearable that uses vibrations to alert you to get up.

Q: Do light alarm clocks work for heavy sleepers?

Yes! In fact, a light alarm clock could be just as beneficial as one that’s very loud. Light alarm clocks help you get in tune with your circadian rhythm, which makes it easier to wake up and fall asleep. If you’re worried about sleeping through the light alarm, find one with sound options, like the Philips SmartSleep Wake-up Light, which has 20 brightness settings.

Final thoughts on the best alarm clocks for heavy sleepers

If you’re a person who needs to move a mountain to rise and shine, consider an alarm clock for heavy sleepers, which takes extra measures to get you awake. Whether it’s through a loud alarm, bed shakers, or a vibrating wristband that makes you do jumping jacks to turn it off, there are plenty of options to prevent sleeping through another alarm. The best alarm clocks for heavy sleepers can help pull the throttle on your day sans hiccups. Your circadian rhythm will thank you.