It isn't unusual for customers to ask us our opinion on various sleep products--special alarm clocks, sleeping aids, herbal remedies, sound nullifiers, eye-masks, scented candles, etc. etc. Most of these products don't fall under our expertise, but I thought it would be fun to do a little impartial product testing. I will only select products that do not compete with ours, made by companies that do not make products similar to ours. Don't want to come off as biased, after all.
To start things off, I decided to try the Sonic Boom Alarm Clock. Now, this product doesn't help you fall asleep, but it does help you wake up from sleep, something I have struggled with in the past. The alarm clock is made by Sonic Alert, which makes products for people with hearing issues and, in this case, sound sleepers.
The clock looks nice enough--a classic digital alarm clock, not offensively techno or faux retro. It’s a slim silver rectangle on its long edge with a gentle curve. The screen is nice and big, and the numbers are a relaxing green as opposed to the more common, and more arresting, red. Overall it's small, simple, and somewhat elegant. But most importantly, it’s unobtrusive, which I like in a bedside clock.
Lots. I went with the simplest version, without AM/FM or phone hook-up, since I don't need yet another device to distract me. You can set the volume of the 113 db alarm from one to ten, a big departure from the usual nothing or "high," "low." Plug-in and battery backup, as well as selectable snooze time and alarm duration, round out the more standard features. Less standard, the Sonic Boom also comes with a 12-volt “bed shaker” which plugs into the clock. This shaker can be placed in the pillow or under the mattress to shake you awake if need be, either to keep noise down or as a double-whammy.
I was wrenched from sleep by the mattress shaking me off like an unwanted insect while my tiny little alarm clock bellowed so loudly my own screams of terror were barely audible by comparison. I can honestly report that I have never gotten up quite so quickly or started crying quite so early in the morning.
Shaking, saucer eyed, and frantic, I flailed at my bedside table from my new position on the floor which is when I discovered how inconveniently small the snooze button is. My ham-fisted, blurry-eyed swats failed to produce the desired effect, and the air siren on my nightstand continued to sound as my bed cowered nearby, trembling like a scolded dog.
Taking evasive maneuvers, I rolled under my gyrating mattress to regroup and strategize. I had to act fast, as I was sure my neighbors would soon start streaming from their homes, lipstick-smeared and coffee-stained, looking for a place to take shelter during the blitz. Gathering my strength--and what was left of my frayed wits--I dove over the mattress, which was like clambering over a small group of ticklish seals, and pounced on the Sonic Boom, stifling its cries after hysterically punching every button I could find. The bed quieted, my clock wound down, I was able to take in my surroundings. Collateral damage includes: desk lamp, previous alarm clock, pajama pants, anonymity, and psyche.