I am on a very weird sleeping schedule. Some nights I go to bed as late as 3 a.m. and other nights I’m in bed at 10:30 if it was a long day. More often than not it’s the former. I go to bed late and wake up late. I’ve been a night owl for quite some time now. But recently I began a search to find a solution that would help me slowly reverse that. I found Kiwake.
Kiwake is an alarm clock app for iPhone that doesn’t take no for an answer. It’s designed not only to wake you up in the morning, but keep you up. Don’t even think about a snooze button, you won’t find it. Instead, you’ll find the opposite: tasks that you’re required to complete to fully wake up for the day. Plus, they’re imperative to shut the alarm off.
So what is it that this annoyingly responsible app makes you do? A set of three morning chores. When you first set up Kiwake, you get to pick and customize a bit what these are. For instance, you need to find an object far away from your bed to snap a picture of. Then, every time Kiwake wakes you up, your first chore is to take a picture of that object again to verify you got out of bed.
Then you have to play one of five mini-games to wake up your mind and warm up those reflexes. Lastly, you need to look the motivational goals you wrote for yourself during setup and check them off once you’ve read them. It sounds like a long process but it only takes a minute or two tops. I guess it could also depend on how far away the object is that you choose.
A Typical Day Waking Up with Kiwake
I’ve been using Kiwake for about a week now so I’m happy to share my results. But first let’s run through Kiwake’s morning routine. I set my alarm for 9 a.m. Now you might laugh and think that’s what you wish you could sleep in to, but since I’m on a late schedule, it’s a rollback. I’m hoping that with time it trains me to start going to bed earlier in alignment with the rest of the human race.
When I go to bed, I have to set my alarm. Don’t worry, Kiwake lets you set multiple alarms too for different days of the week. Once your alarm is set and your settings are chosen, tap to enter Night Mode. This turns the alarm on and gets the alarm ready for morning. You can leave the app and lock the phone as long as push notifications are on, but I like to keep it in the foreground just as a precaution.
It wakes me up as promised at 9 o’clock sharp. I get a three-minute “cooldown” which is just three minutes to relax before Kiwake shoves its morning chores down my throat. (You can set this cooldown for as little as 30 seconds or as long as three minutes. Naturally I picked the setting that best enables me to prolong starting the day.)
Three minutes are up so the alarm rings yet again. My first task is to walk over to the object I snapped. That is a sign I have on my desk, so I woefully arose from my comfortable bed to take the picture. After doing that I got right back in bed.
Next up is a memory game. I had to complete three rounds of memorizing the tiles in a grid and tapping all the ones that were illuminated. These games are also customizable by the way. In advance, you can set the difficulty, which out of five games you want selected at random, and how many rounds it takes to complete. Kiwake only makes you play one game per day.
I struggled with the game a bit because my eyelids were desperately trying to close. I finally got through and moved on to my motivational goals. All I had to do here was slide to check each one off. It was a little silly.
After a week of using Kiwake, I’m pleased to report that it did dramatically boost my morning routine. I stayed awake and alert after the alarm went off almost every morning. Just once I fell back to sleep again and it’s likely because I didn’t get much sleep to begin with. While the first two tasks jolt me into a morning routine, motivational goals are too easy to skip over though. I just check them off every day without even looking at what I wrote.
One tip to leave you with: after you snap the picture, don’t get back in bed. Stay up through the whole process. That way by the end you’re a bit more alert and ready for the day than you would be.
Kiwake is a fantastic app for anyone who struggles to get up on time. It’s tedious and it might just annoy you in the mornings, but hey, it could just save your job one day. If nothing else, it helps restore balance and order to your sleep schedule. Kiwake is $2.99 in the App Store.