Would you pay money to be electrically shocked awake every morning?

By Margaret Eby
Updated February 13, 2018
EC: The Most Sadistic Alarm Clock of All Time
Credit: Photo courtey Pavlok

Perhaps in this year of escalating horrors, it is appropriate that, just when I thought I had found the world's most aggressive, least fun alarm clocks, another contender, far more unpleasant than its competitors, should appear. It doesn't seem possible. There were alarm clocks on that list that ran away from you beeping, one by wheels and one by air. There was an alarm clock that actually connected to your bank account to take money from you every time you hit snooze and donate it to an organization that you hated. There was one that woke you up to doing math. And yet: this alarm clock is much, much worse.

The alarm clock in question is the Pavlok Shock alarm clock. It is what it says it is. It is a wristband that you wear to bed and, at the appointed time, administers an electric shock to jolt you awake. And, oh dear god, there is a "multi-zap" option for anyone who would prefer not to just be woken up by electric shock, but to be continually assaulted by electricity once awake. It seems like the weaponry of a Batman villain, but, in fact, it is available for you to purchase for $99.99.

What is it like to wear? One brave Fortune writer decided to find out. "The shock isn’t painful, but it is an unpleasant feeling," wrote Erin Griffith, who should earn a medal, honestly. "As I prepared to go to bed, the only thing I could think about when I looked at the bracelet was not wanting to feel another shock. It was the same tension and dread one might experience looking at a giant needle at the doctor’s office."

Cool. Cool, cool, cool. That is exactly the feeling that I want before I go to bed! Especially since there are no other stressors in the world! You just have to impose some on yourself, you know? But, spoiler, the reporter is such a deep sleeper that she sleeps right through the zap. She finds the Pavlok more effective to self-administer shocks to dissuade her from partaking of the office snack bar.

To each their own and all, but I have thought long and hard about this. I am myself a light sleeper and an insomniac. No special equipment is needed to jolt me awake. But if I were a deep sleeper, and if the options were between being late to absolutely everything or shelling out $100 for a device that shocks me awake? Yes, please just assume that when I say "I'll meet you at 7:00" I mean "See you at 7:15."