It’s Sleep Awareness Week, and today we’re talking about the part of sleep people usually like the least: the part where the alarm clock wakes us up.

Or, in the time before alarm clocks, the part where a person jarred people awake.

Human beings have been trying to get a jump on the new day for millennia.

It’s said that Plato reworked a water clock, which used the steady drip of water to mark the passage of time, so that it would start whistling when it was time to give a lecture.

Atlas Obscura wrote about a Buddhist monk in 8th Century China, Yi Xing, who built a clock that could set off gongs and show off puppets at the right times as it showed the movement of the cosmos.

It was called “Water-Driven Spherical Bird’s-Eye-View Map of the Heaven.”

In Europe, there were mechanical clocks with alarms by at least the 15th century, and American inventor Levi Hutchins came up with a personal alarm clock in 1787.

His device could only go off at 4am, though; the first alarm clock you could set yourself came from French inventor Antoine Redier in 1847.

In 1876, Seth Thomas became a big name in the time industry by mass producing alarm clocks in the US.

The electric alarm clock showed up in 1918, though Henry Warren’s invention needed a steady electric current to keep steady time, and the current wasn’t always perfectly steady.

But along the way, some people undoubtedly had to get up at a particular time before any of these inventors had put their creations out into the world.

So how did they do it?

There are stories that some people, including Native Americans, drank a specific amount of water before bed, relying on a full bladder to wake up at particular times.

Others used church bells or factory whistles to know when it was time to launch the morning routine.

And then there was the knocker-up.

People in Ireland and Great Britain would hire somebody else to drop by with a wake-up call, banging on the doors and windows (and hopefully not the clients) to rouse them from their sleep.

Though even back then people saw the flaw in the plan: they used to make up jokes about how if the knocker-up woke people, who woke up the knocker-up?

Today in 1963, the birthday of singer Bret Michaels.

Last fall the Poison frontman heard about a huskie named Bret Michaels who had saved the life of a kitten by donating blood.

The singer reached out to the Nebraska Humane Society to ask if he could adopt the dog.

One of their staffers noted, “Bret Michaels the human has experience with huskies.”

A 2,000-Year History of Alarm Clocks (Atlas Obscura)

Musician Bret Michaels to adopt dog who saved kitten’s life (3 News Now)

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Photo by Stephen Downes via Flickr/Creative Commons