Why Do Dogs Make Such Good Alarm Clocks?

Like most everyone else, I enjoy the occasional brief distraction from whatever serious thing I’m doing by popping up a quick funny video during breaks. A friend recently sent me this little clip of dogs forcing their humans out of slumber and out of their beds in the morning.

As fun as these videos are, there’s something instructive about them:  they reveal some hidden but important messages about sleep.  Here are a couple things you can learn as you enjoy watching them:

1.  Animals have sleep cycles like humans do.  In fact, even the most primitive creatures on the planet demonstrate some form of simple, behavioral rest with measurable regularity, and usually with timing that relates in some way to the earth’s 24-hour day-and-night cycle.  Why does your dog always awaken you at 6 a.m., including on days in which you want to sleep in?  Probably because she regularly awakens shortly prior to 6 a.m. every day, right in keeping with her body clock, and wants to play.  That’s what our Maltese, Molly, does.


2.  Your dog awakens you in the morning when you want to sleep in probably because you’re sleep-deprived.  There’s likely not a lot of published literature support for what I’m about to write here, but I would venture to guess that most dogs, not having to toil every day at work or staying out late with the guys, are usually “sleep-sated,” meaning that they get as much sleep during a 24-hour period as their bodies and brains require–through nocturnal sleep and/or by napping during the day when the humans are away.  The amount of sleep a dog needs depends on his age, size and breed.  However, the vast majority of human adults require between 7.5 and 8 hours of sleep per night–and on a regular basis–to feel fully rested during the day.  How many people do you know that get that much sleep per night most or every night?  If you routinely get less than 7-8 hours of sleep per night, chances are good that your body and brain will attempt to “make up” the lost sleep by trying to “sleep in” when they get the chance–on weekends and days off, for example.  In other words, your dog is doing what you should be doing–getting proper amounts of sleep–and he is now on your bed, lapping at your ear to remind you that obeying your innate biological needs is the natural thing to do, the best thing to do.

I say dogs make great alarm clocks:  you can’t get too mad at them, there’s no “snooze” button, and they make sure you know you should wake up and get up not only sonically, but also tactilely:  with paws, claws, and slobber.  Have you ever awakened briefly at your usual time in the morning, following a long period of sleep deprivation and though you intend to sleep in, and wondered why you awakened at that time instead of sleeping straight through?  That’s your circadian rhythm telling you it’s your natural time to wake up.  Look at your dog as a big furry biological clock “by proxy:”  she obeys her body clock every day and wonders why you’re not doing the same.  Just another reason to love your dog:  she can teach you to love your sleep and respect your sleep needs!

Finally, certain dogs, like pugs and boxers (dogs with thick necks) are also predisposed to snoring and obstructive sleep apnea, but I suppose that is a topic for another day.  Enjoy the remainder of your weekend, this first weekend of 2015!  Cheers!

April Fool’s Day Wake-Up Pranks

Happy April Fool’s Day, everyone!


Nothing serious to write about today, really.  Instead, in honor of this very special day, I present to you some videos of people being punked awake.

Before you click on the videos below, however, please read and heed the following disclaimers:

1.  You must have a reasonable sense of humor to watch these.  If you don’t, please do not click on them.

2.  I do not condone these pranks, and I definitely do not recommend that you try any of these or similar pranks at home.

3.  A couple of these clips feature some harsh language.  Consider yourself warned.  Do not click on these videos if you’re sensitive to such things.

With all that said, let us begin, shall we?

Firecrackers can be very effective alarm clocks. (There are a couple of bad words here)

Here’s another example of the utility of firecrackers:

Air horns are also excellent awakening tools.

Sometimes an air horn wake-up prank can go terribly wrong, however–particularly if your victim happens to be a judo master.  Witness if you dare:

Not interested in getting clocked while executing your practical joke?  Well, if you don’t have access to an air horn, a machine gun allows you to awaken your loved one from a safe distance.

How about awakening to find an unfamiliar face in your bed?  (There’s a naughty word or two here)

Here’s a great one involving an “oncoming truck:”

Finally, here is my all-time favorite video wake-up prank, also from a moving vehicle.  The victim’s facial expression is priceless.

Be careful where you sleep tonight.  Cheers!