In reference to:


Both on-hold as "too-broad", I was thinking of trying to cook up a less-broad more direct question.

Something along the lines of:

Waking up in the morning when standard alarms fail

I tend to sleep through alarm clocks is there a reliable way to wake myself up in the morning?

I've tried setting the alarm to beep, music, talk radio, various volumes, using multiple alarms and so forth, but I still seem to be able to sleep through the worst of them. When they do wake me I tend to slap the snooze button and go back to sleep, without even remembering that I've done it.

I'm not interested in half baked ideas like pouring water on the bed, or buying expensive specialty alarms.

So... is there a safe, reliable way to wake myself up without spending much money?

I just wanted to check my thinking before asking a question and having another question on the topic closed.

So is this any better or does it need more work?

Here's the result: Waking up in the morning when standard alarms fail

17 hours later... The question is now on-hold.

After some generous salvage operations the question has been re-opened. Thanks.

  • 2
    Better, yes, but I'm not sure if it's quite on topic. Something is waking you up, but you're ignoring it and going back to sleep. How are we suppose to know what solution will wake you up enough that you don't go back to sleep? Dec 16, 2014 at 23:22
  • As for the general case, yes, it's good to make less broad questions if the original question was closed as too broad. A good example of a question that needs to be less broad but could easily become one or more smaller, valid questions is this refrigeration question Dec 16, 2014 at 23:24
  • 1
    @ZachSaucier Hmm... Good point. I was shooting for "waking up without a standard alarm clock and here's why..." Would removing that line be an improvement?
    – apaul
    Dec 16, 2014 at 23:24
  • Hmmm - this may still be on topic here, but sleep management is very much within the scope of Personal Productivity Stack Exchange. I'm not sure if it counts as life hacking, or just general known solutions for people who are not naturally early risers, but please have a look and see.
    – Rory Alsop
    Dec 16, 2014 at 23:38
  • Let's approach it in a different way; try to answer the following question: What type of answers do you expect this question to get? If all sorts of noises noises won't wake you up and (it seems) you're not willing to have something physically wake hit you (i.e. water on you), what will? Dec 16, 2014 at 23:38
  • @ZachSaucier I was planning to self answer, and have a pretty good method that should work for a variety of waking styles, but the point of the thing is to look for the less-obvious/unexpected/creative answers right?
    – apaul
    Dec 16, 2014 at 23:43
  • I was thinking of editing and answering lifehacks.stackexchange.com/questions/239/… but it would require a pretty drastic edit to narrow the scope so I thought a new question might be a better choice.
    – apaul
    Dec 16, 2014 at 23:48
  • I love the answer you got to this question, gave me a "who would of thought" and is definitely a hack.
    – Jon
    Dec 17, 2014 at 5:04
  • In a lot of ways, the waking up question amounts to a psychological lifehack. There might be a physical component to it, but it comes down to figure out which things for you as an individual user will motivate your lazy butt to actually fully wake up. If a standard alarm clock won't do it, even when placed across the room, I think the problem is more psychological than anything. And we have deemed psychological lifehacks to be off-topic.
    – Sterno
    Dec 17, 2014 at 13:45
  • @Jon I think this is another case where the life hack is defined by the answer not the question
    – apaul
    Dec 17, 2014 at 16:30
  • 1
    Disappointed to see this closed. I think the question is about alternative alarm clocks and not psychological. Would this question be on topic in a psych SE site? I am going to vote for a reopen.
    – Jon
    Dec 17, 2014 at 17:35
  • @Sterno I disagree, the question (as it currently stands) is about a physical hack: "Create something so unignorable waking that no one can ignore it." That should be on-topic. Dec 18, 2014 at 14:19
  • Maybe. But I, for one, don't know how exactly a blaring alarm clock is ignorable.
    – Sterno
    Dec 18, 2014 at 14:30

2 Answers 2


The problem with questions about waking up is that either:

  1. Waking up isn't the problem. That alarm wakes them up and they're wanting help getting out of bed which is a psychological problem and off-topic.

  2. They're not waking up in response to loud stimuli which is a medical condition that should be taken care of by a doctor, or they've conditioned themselves to sleep through their alarm which is psychological. Both of these are off-topic.

  • 1
    I would understand if the reasoning was more along the lines of "every answer is equally valid..." Because it is a reasonable assumption that different people wake to different stimuli, but claiming it is a physiological or medical issue seems a little far fetched...
    – apaul
    Dec 17, 2014 at 20:44
  • @apaul34208 Your question stated that you slept through all stimuli. That's a form of sleeping disorder, which is what would make it a medical condition. Dec 17, 2014 at 20:46

In the general case of closed questions for the reason of "too broad", yes, it's good to make the question less broad, at times by breaking it up into separate questions. We want questions to be reopened, but if they're off scope we simply can't.

A good example of a nearly valid question that currently needs to be less broad is this refrigeration question. It could easily become more focused by breaking it up into one or more smaller questions.

Now let's talk about the question you're talking about in particular.

The question you propose in this meta post is better than the others, yes, but I'm still thinking that it's off topic as too broad.

In your original version, something is waking you up, but you're ignoring it and going back to sleep. How are we suppose to know what solution will wake you up enough that you don't go back to sleep? The simple answer is that we can't.

When you take out the part about waking up but immediately going to sleep, it's again better, but I still think too broad. The difficulty with "waking up" questions is that no solution will work for everyone. Therefore it's very hard to make an on topic question for a Q&A type site related to waking up. Many solutions for us may not be solutions for you, which end up making the correct answer be different from person to person.

As such, unless you are very clear with your situation and what wakes you up (even then I'd have to judge based on reading it - I can't say for sure now), I think your question may be suited better for a different site than Lifehacks. As RoryAlsop mentioned, PersonalProductivity.SE may be a good choice but there are others as well.

Edit after your question was closed for being about a psychological issue:

That's what I thought might happen, but it was close enough that I wasn't quite sure and wanted to get see the how the community treated it. With that being said, it's not a clear line, but I think I have to agree with them that your question (meaning the subject of waking up) is off topic. That means you can't make it on topic as far as I can think of.

As I said before, it really does have a lot more to do with the psychology of waking you up because it's a choice to turn off the alarms and go back to sleep. As such, it doesn't belong on Lifehacks.

  • 1
    Do you think replacing the last sentence with: "Excluding using sound or ruining my bedding; is there a safe, reliable way to wake myself up without spending much money?" Narrowing the scope to Cheap, Not noise dependent, and non-destructive would work?
    – apaul
    Dec 17, 2014 at 1:05
  • It may not wake everyone, but having a resource for those who don't wake well with sound based alarms could be useful.
    – apaul
    Dec 17, 2014 at 1:06
  • 1
    @apaul34208 It's good enough to try it out :) Dec 17, 2014 at 1:15

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