Neural adaptation is our brain’s ability to gradually ignore sounds, smells, and other stimuli we’re routinely exposed to. It’s what allows people who live in crowded urban settings to tune out all the noise at night and sleep, and then continue sleeping right through a familiar alarm clock sound in the morning. Odd Alarm is a new app that almost guarantees you won’t sleep in by offering a list of unorthodox sounds your body will find impossible to ignore.
Odd Alarm (available for iOS and Android) isn’t chock full of new features as far as alarm clock apps go, but the interface is pleasant, and the app replicates everything your smartphone’s stock alarm clock can do. So why bother installing an alternative? Instead of pleasant chimes, jaunty tunes, or your favorite artist coaxing you out of the bed in the morning; Odd Alarm offers unpleasant sounds like cats fighting, gunshots, and an excruciating clip of a dog getting ready to puke. The effectiveness will vary from user to user, but growing up with animals I know my brain would find it all but impossible to sleep through the sound of a potential carpet scrubbing in the making.
If disgusting sounds don’t work, a game of skill serves as a backup to wake you up.
Cat Fight, Dog Barf, and Glass Breaking are all sounds included with the free Odd Alarm app, but 17 other sounds — like someone frantically banging on your front door or a smoke alarm blaring — can be bought. As hard as it is to believe, there’s always the risk that eventually your brain will tune out sounds like a vomiting dog, so Odd Alarm also includes a “chase the morning sun” feature requiring users to drag an Off button onto a moving sun target in order to turn off an alarm’s sound. It’s not a particularly challenging request, but it’s also not something you’re going to be able to do while half asleep. So even if your brain isn’t immediately startled awake by the sound of an incessant rooster, you’ll still have to drag yourself out of slumber to silence your phone.