Don’t Set Your Alarm To Your Favourite Song

Don’t Set Your Alarm To Your Favourite Song

When you use your phone as your alarm clock, you might think that you want to wake up to your favourite song. You do not. The first couple of days you’ll enjoy it, but then the effect will reverse itself. It won’t be “I wake up to my favourite song”, it will be “sometimes iTunes plays my alarm”. Every time your old favourite song comes on, you’ll feel antsy or anxious.

It’s Bad.

If you switch to another song, the cycle will continue, leaving a trail of ruined songs in its wake, and you’ll take months to recover your joy for these songs. (All of this also applies to ringtones.)

If you really want a personalised alarm, try something ephemeral, a kind of song that you wouldn’t normally listen to for pleasure, but which brings back memories, such as a commercial jingle or video game theme. Or a song you wouldn’t usually listen to, but has some novelty value for you.

But really, you should find an alarm that isn’t musical. Sound effects are nice and hard to ruin; maybe play the sound of a zombie mob or a mysterious numbers station. The iOS clock app includes a great birdsong track hidden inside its “bedtime” feature. The birdsong starts quiet and rises in volume second by second. It’s a nice way to wake up. And somehow it doesn’t make me hate birds.


  • I just use the radio on an good old alarm clock to wake me up, but the same thing happens with ringtones on your phone, as @Darren says.

    For a decade, my ringtone was one loop of the chorus of Spiderbait’s version of Black Betty (originally because it was the loudest thing I could find), but I also had the song in my normal playlist (I liked the song, which is why I chose it).

    So every time the playlist randomly cycled through to play it, the instant recognition meant it took a second or two to realise it wasn’t my phone ringing, just the song. Because the song has a LOT of repetition of the chorus, it really came down to recognising the opening guitar riff to trigger it wasn’t the phone.

  • In contrast to this, I highly recommend using a favourite song for an alarm when you are travelling/holidaying – I’ve done this a few times now and hearing these songs takes me right back to those memories and feelings.

    Great audio trigger.

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