Serious Q: What's the Best Type of Alarm to Wake Up To?



There are a lot of things you learn to put up with when you're in a long-term relationship. Maybe your partner snores so loud they could guide ships through the wharf. Maybe they scrape their fork so loudly on their plate that the very thought of them eating sends shivers down your spine. For me, one of the most eye-opening annoyances has been my boyfriend's morning wake-up ringtone. He uses the abort-mission "alarm" sound that's programmed in an iPhone—you know, the one where if you don't turn it off, there's a high probability your phone might blow up? He gets up much earlier than I do, so somehow, my body has become immune to it, but on mornings when we're synched, I'm five seconds away from throwing his phone out the window.

I met someone else recently who told me she uses the same god-forsaken blaring alarm to get up in the morning because it's "the only sound that works" for her. At first, I had to tell her my theory that only sociopaths employ this sound, my boyfriend perhaps being coupled in this category, but she seems very normal and stable, so maybe this is just a thing. Wake-up alarms are highly personal, and what works for some may be triggering for others. Personally, and because every ringtone seems off-putting, I've arbitrarily chosen to wake up to iPhone's "radar," a generic vibrating ring sound, but this tone probably wouldn't make my boyfriend flinch. When it does sound in the morning, though, my skin crawls. And forget about hearing it outside the bedroom—it's been conditioned in my brain to be a massive annoyance that jolts me from my peaceful slumber, so I immediately wince and retract when I hear "radar" in the wild.

Thus, every morning that I smack my fingers down on my phone to shut off my alarm as fast and painlessly as possible, or any time I hear my boyfriend's alarm and think enemy vessels are about to attack our ship, I wonder: There has to be a sound that's actually pleasant to wake up to. Perhaps there's even science behind the most optimal wake-up sound. Desperate for a better start to my mornings, I reached out to two sleep experts for their recommendations.

While we're on the subject, doing this each morning will help kick-start your day even further.