Don’t Be Alarmed! It’s Just a Puzzly Wake-Up Call!

[Image courtesy of The Huffington Post.]

There’s nothing quite like the grating blare of your alarm clock to rouse you from a sound sleep. But for some people, the alarm isn’t enough.

If you’re adept at whacking the snooze button or shutting off the alarm entirely — intentionally or not, since I’ve definitely done one or both in my sleep from time to time — you might need something a bit more devious to ensure you get up in the morning.

Some place their alarm clock out of reach, so they have to get up to shut it off. One buddy of mine, an adept snooze button-smasher, would return to bed after getting up, so this technique didn’t work.

We found an alarm clock that actually shot a small rocket across the room, and refused to stop beeping until you retrieved the rocket and placed it back on the alarm clock’s launchpad. That seemed to do the trick for him.

But the question remains… how do you make an alarm clock that ensures you’re awake?

As it turns out, puzzles are the solution!

[Image courtesy of I Can’t Wake Up for Android.]

The app is called I Can’t Wake Up, and it requires you to complete a series of puzzly tasks before the alarm shuts off. These can range from memory tasks and placing numbers in order to retyping strings of gibberish or repeating a sequence of clicks Simon-style.

Essentially, you control the difficulty and complexity of the tasks you’re required to solve. So, if you know you NEED to be up for an important meeting in the morning, you can set the alarm to be louder and more diabolical.

I suspect this will start a trend in puzzly alarm apps, where you have to solve a crossword, conquer a Sudoku, or even decrypt a random message in order to stop your alarm.

Either that, or it will become the perfect tool for vengeful wives, husbands, significant others, parents, roommates, and others who are affected by the unreliable morning wake-ups of others.

In any case, I look forward to hearing about it.

[Don’t be like this unfortunate stormtrooper… Image courtesy of Pinterest.]


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Puzzles to the rescue once again!

Puzzles. They improve our vocabularies, mitigate our boredom, keep our minds keen and our detective skills in fine working order.

I’m always expounding on the many benefits of a puzzly lifestyle, and wouldn’t you know it, I’ve discovered yet another way that puzzles make our lives better.

Apparently, according to researchers at Western Washington University, they can also help us fight back against the musical scourge known as earworms.

Earworms are also known as those pop songs that get stuck in your head and play over and over, driving us nuts while we try to concentrate on other things. But Dr. Ira Hyman of WWU says that puzzles can engage enough of your cognitive resources to force out the offending tunes.

Sudoku puzzles are effective (so long as they’re not too difficult) but verbal puzzles like anagrams proved the most effective, keeping enough of the brain busy with 5-letter alternatives to prevent those annoying songs from maintaining their grip on a subject’s attention.

So the next time the latest obnoxious pop hit crawls into your brainspace, grab a puzzle book and fight back.

(Naturally, as a proper puzzle scientist, I can’t wait to independently confirm their findings by locking some friends in a room with a few puzzle books and blasting Cotton Eye Joe over and over again. That’s just due diligence. *smile*)

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