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Have better mornings: alarm clocks for ADHD that actually work
raine taylor - adhd coach nz

Hi, I'm Raine...

An ADHD coach & advocate. 
I'm passionate about helping other ADHD adults like you, lead fulfilling and successful lives.

Your mornings have room for improvement right now, and you’re looking for alarm clocks for ADHD that actually work. In this article we are going to cover:

✔️ Why the best adhd alarm clock is different depending on the person… ie. not one right answer.

✔️ How youcan figure out what the best adhd clock might be for you.

✔️ Why your morning will be much better when you have the right alarm clock to wake up.

It’s common for ADHD brains to have sleep issues, whether it’s going to sleep, staying asleep and waking up.  You might just be trying to figure out: what is the best adhd alarm clock for me?

ADHD brains are different to neurotypical brains. And having attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is characterized by hyperactivity, impulsivity and difficulty concentrating.  

The Best ADHD Alarm Clocks to Wake-Up To in the Morning

If you're someone with ADHD, you know how tough it can be to wake up in the morning. But fear not! There are some specially designed alarm clocks that can help make this task a bit easier.

First things first, the best ADHD alarm clock is the one that works for you. Everyone's different, so it's important to find the clock that fits your needs. That being said, let me give you a rundown of some different types of alarm clocks that may be helpful.

For starters, there are visual alarm clocks. One example is a sunrise alarm clock that imitates the sunrise, allowing your body to gradually adjust to waking up before your sound alarm goes off. These are great because they work with your body's natural circadian rhythm. You can set the time to start about 30 minutes before you want to wake up. Another option is a flashing lights alarm clock.

If you're someone who needs a more tactile experience in the morning, a vibrating alarm clock might be the way to go. These alarms can shake the bed and provide a more physical sensation to help you wake up.

Customized alarm sounds are also a must. With a specially designed ADHD alarm clock, you can choose from a range of sounds including pleasant outdoor sounds, soothing music, and natural sounds like bird songs or waves crashing on a beach. This is important because it can create a more calming waking experience and reduce stress levels.

Another great feature to look for is visual cues. Brightening lights that mimic a sunrise can help your body's natural circadian rhythm and make waking up feel more natural.

By the way, did you know that there are some clocks out there designed specifically for adults with ADHD? They have some great additional features to help them stay organised and on schedule. Some even have a to-do list or a calendar included, and can remind you to take your medication. 

Here are 8 alarm clock for adhd ideas:

Sound | Sight | Smell: Hatch Restore Sound Machine and Sunrise Alarm Clock: This clock offers customizable sounds, a sunrise simulation, and a touch display. It also includes aromatherapy capabilities for those who find scent helpful.

Light | Sound: Philips SmartSleep Connected Sleep and Wake-Up Light: This clock includes a customizable sunrise simulation, calming sounds, and a touch display. It can also connect to your smart home devices and offer personalized sleep recommendations.‍

Movement: Vibrating Alarm Clock Watch: This watch vibrates to wake you up, making it a discreet option for those who don't want to disturb their partner.

Movement | Sound | Smell: Sense-U SMART Alarm Clock: This clock offers a variety of customizable sounds, a gentle vibration, and a built-in aroma diffuser.

Movement: Silent Vibrating Personal Alarm Clock: This small, portable clock vibrates to wake you up and includes a backlit display.

Sight | Sound: Lumie Bodyclock Spark 100: This clock includes a gradual sunrise simulation, a variety of sounds, and a touch display. It also has the ability to control the brightness of the display.

For the ADHD adults who are heavy sleepers:

Movement | Sound | Sight: Sonic Alert SBB500SS Sonic Bomb Extra-Loud Dual Alarm Clock with Super Shaker: This clock includes a bed shaker, a loud alarm, and bright flashing lights to help wake up even heavy sleepers. It also has a built-in USB charging port.

Movement | Sound: Clocky Alarm Clock on Wheels: This clock rolls off your nightstand and beeps loudly, making it necessary for you to get out of bed to turn it off.

Common ADHD Sleep Struggles:

ADHD individuals are often a paradox. They can seem to be total opposites at the same time, sometimes even in the same person.  Here are some commonly reported ADHD sleep struggles:

  • It’s hard to wake up with adhd: Waking up in the morning is a transition, this is challenging for many ADHD people to make the transition both to sleep at night, and again to wake up in the morning.
  • Desire for novelty: ADHD is an interest based nervous system, those us with it like novelty and interest, which can make boring repetitive habits difficult such as sticking to a daily routine.
  • Sleep issues: A lot of ADHD adults have challenges with getting to sleep and staying asleep, which naturally makes it harder to wake up in the morning.
  • Oversleeping & grogginess: Snooze buttons can lead to feeling groggy, or not realising how many times you have pressed it leaking to oversleeping (guilty! and thats why I don’t use snooze anymore)
  • Mental health: Repeatedly not getting a good start to the day can start to weigh down on an ADHD adults mental health, they can begin to feel like why bother trying?
  • Traditional alarm clocks may not be effective for ADHD individuals: Due to typically only having one alarm and not enough customisation options.  Not to mention the obnoxious jarring buzzing which can be stressful to the ADHD nervous system. I remember the alarm clock I had as a kid, and it made my whole body tense up - a terrible way to start the day that’s for sure.

Does ADHD make you sleep through alarms? On it’s own probably not, but some people with ADHD do report struggling to hear or wake up to alarms that other members of the household can hear and do wake up to, if you have this issues you should look into a tactile or visual adhd alarm clock that flashes lights or vibrates.

How do you use an alarm for ADHD?

You will need to experiment to find the best way to use an alarm with ADHD. As the examples of adhd friendly alarm clocks above, you can see that each individual has a different need. And from my personal experience, and experience with my clients I know that sometimes something that works stops and you need to change things up.

Is ADHD worse in the morning?

Some people with ADHD struggle with the phenomenon called “sleep inertia” this is the groggy disorientated feeling that can occur on waking up.  Along with common ADHD symptoms such as motivation and initiation it can make it difficult to get out of bed and start their day. 

During sleep the brain transitions through different stages, and waking at the wrong time can increase feelings of grogginess and disorientation. This can be an extra challenge for individuals with ADHD vs neuro-typicals, as they already have executive functioning challenges.

Waking up is a transition and transitions can be challenging for ADHD people. I myself find I need a lot of support and scaffolding in place to help me with common daily transitions like waking up in the morning.  Such as an effective alarm clock system that works for me.

A strategy that helps many ADHD individuals who struggle with mornings, is creating an intentional morning routine. Something that you want to get up for and do, the opposite of eat the frog, go and do something nice first thing in the morning so you are more excited to wake up and have momentum for your day.

Exercise and mindfulness practices in the morning can help manage ADHD symptoms.

It is important to note that not all people with ADHD experience worsened symptoms first thing in the mornings, as I always say if you have met one ADHD person, you have met one ADHD person!

Why use an alarm clock instead of your phone?

  1. Reduce distractions. Lets not pretend here, Phones are a huge source of distraction for people with adhd. Notifications, the lights, messages and a bunch of stuff that isn't good for sleep hygiene.
  2. Customisation: If you use a dedicated adhd alarm clock, you have more options to create adjustable alarm tones and snooze times. If you need higher control over your morning routine and wake up time this is more important.
  3. Visibility: Phones are small and can be harder to see what you need to see, and once you are on your phone the chances of you not getting to bed on time significantly increase.  Some special adhd alarm clocks feature large easy to read displays that make it easier to set the time.
  4. Gradual wake up features: if you use a dedicated alarm clock that features natural and gradual wake ups, you wont be interrupted by your phones notification or messages.
  5. Reduced blue light exposure: Blue light on electronics is bad for our sleep people. Blue light emitted by electronic devices like phones can affect sleep quality and ability to get to sleep in the first place. An alarm clock is better for sleep hygiene.

Using a dedicated device to help you wake up in the morning can help you with sleep hygienec, help you get to sleep better, feel better rested and provide more option and flexibility for adhd individuals.

Wrap up of Alarm Clocks for ADHD 

ADHD can affect your sleep, and there may be a need for a dedicated adhd alarm clock device. For quality of life, its important to ensure that you work on your sleep hygiene. Done is better than perfect.


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