What Are “Girl Alarms,” and Why Is TikTok Obsessed With Them?

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Are you someone that has to set multiple alarms before going to bed? If so, welcome to the world of “girl alarms,” where setting multiple alarms, and we mean multiple, has never been more popular. 

“Girl” trends have been taking off on TikTok the past couple months, whether it’s “girl dinner” or “girl math.” Now there’s a new one to add to the list called “girl alarms,” and it might be the most widely adapted trend yet. (1)

TikToker Ash posted a video showing off her friends’ multiple alarms and captioned the video, “meet girl alarm.” While it might seem normal to have a few alarms to wake you up in the morning, the “girl alarms” take this to the extreme. 

Any alarm you’ve ever set is still there on your phone, waiting to be used. That random 2:31 a.m. alarm you set to wake you up for the airport? Still on your phone just in case that ever comes up again. The 11:59 p.m. alarm to wake you just before midnight? There for every midnight awakening you may encounter. 

The top comment sums up “girl alarms” perfectly saying, “can’t delete old alarms, I might need them again.” (1)

How many are too many alarms? Well according to “girl alarm” discourse, there can never be too many. One person commented that she had 52 random alarms, while another said she had 377 alarms. 

While it might seem unreasonable to have so many alarms, “girl alarm” reasoning explains, “why make a new alarm for 9 a.m. when I have 8 options between 8:57 a.m., 9:02 a.m, 9:12 a.m., and 9:18 a.m.” (1) Snoozing your alarm has also never been more popular, perhaps due to the fact that so many professionals are working at home.  

There are a few different styles surrounding alarms. You’re either a part of the trend, having upwards of 10 plus alarms, or you’re making a new alarm as needed and deleting ones you no longer need, or you have one alarm and change the time to fit your needs. 

Despite these different approaches, it seems the majority of the comment section follows the “girl alarm” trend with people saying, “I didn’t know this was a universal experience, I love being a girly,” or “I’m so happy we’re all the same at the end of the day.” (1)

We love that alarms are getting their time to shine, but can too many alarms be harming your sleep? We spoke to a sleep expert all about alarms and if this trend is just for the TikTok girls. 

An Expert Weighs In

Setting an alarm to wake up is nothing new, but the method that we use to set alarms can vary person to person. Stephanie Hewitt, a certified sleep coach and founder of Rise & Rest Parent and Sleep, told Sleepopolis that the act of setting multiple alarms is primarily driven by the fear and anxiety of oversleeping

Whether you’re worried about missing work, an appointment, or, for teenagers, she explains it could be the fear of missing school or a sports game, setting multiple alarms could put your mind at ease while going to sleep. 

As Hewitt explains, another reason is that some people have a harder time waking up in the morning, which could be due to disruptions in their sleep at night, staying up too late, or having an inconsistent schedule causing their body’s circadian rhythm to be off. 

“These people use multiple alarms as a backup because they know it takes them longer to get out of bed,” Hewitt says. “Multiple alarms can also provide a psychological safety net for a more gradual wake-up process. When alarm number one goes off the individual knows they still have extra time, there’s no pressure or rush to jump out of bed.” 

While the trend online for having a multitude of alarms is associated with girls, Hewitt explains there’s not a significant gender-based difference, saying, “alarm-setting habits are influenced by individual factors like personality, sleep quality, and daily routines, rather than gender.” 

Are There Downsides To “Girl Alarms”?

“Girl alarms” can help to ensure you’re waking up in the morning, but they unfortunately have their downsides. By having too many alarms set, your sleep cycles can be disrupted

“It can also create a false sense of timing; people who set multiple alarms can tend to be more stressed as their morning goes on because they think they have more time built in,” Hewitt said. 

Not to mention that multiple alarms can also be irritating to your spouses or roommates, versus having just one alarm go off in the morning. 

Additionally, multiple alarms can fragment your sleep. Being jolted awake during deeper sleep stages can leave you feeling groggy in the morning, rather than refreshed.  

If multiple alarms aren’t doing their job in waking you up on time or you find yourself waking up more tired, Hewitt recommends the following: 

  • Smart alarms: Some apps and devices analyze your sleep cycle and wake you during a lighter phase, making waking up easier. 
  • Light therapy: A sunrise alarm clock can mimic the natural light progression, helping you wake up more gently. 
  • Wake-up music: No more waking up to a blaring alarm. Instead, set your favorite soothing or motivating music to gradually increase in volume. 
  • Establish a consistent sleep schedule: Going to bed and waking up at the same time daily can regulate your body’s internal clock, making waking up easier.
  • Ashleyxngo on TikTok. TikTok. September 4, 2024. https://www.tiktok.com/t/ZPR7LCQR4/.

  • Hewitt, Stephanie. Personal Interview. September 2024.

Julia Medina

Julia Medina

Julia is a Staff News Writer for Sleepopolis. From sleep news and education to the latest sleep trends, her goal is to keep you informed about what's going on in the world of sleep, dreams, mattresses, and more. Julia graduated from Wake Forest University with a degree in communications and minors in film and sociology. In her free time she loves exploring new cities, relaxing with a good tv show, and getting some good quality sleep.

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