Getting woken up by an alarm clock is one of the worst feelings ever, despite it being something completely planned the night before. There is just something about an alarm in the morning that psychologically causes panic. It turns out that getting woken up by something other than an alarm clock is actually much worse.
Let's take a look at some of the worst things people have woken up to.
All posts have been edited for clarity.
Out of Town Neighbors
“The smoke detector started going off around four o’clock in the morning. I went to turn it off and there was water. I turned on the lights and there was water coming out of the smoke detector, the light fixture, bathroom vent, ceiling, light switches, cabinets, and the breaker box.
I woke up my roommate and then banged on the door to the upstairs apartment. There was no answer. I banged on the downstairs apartment’s door and warned them of the flood they would soon experience. I called emergency maintenance, and of course there was no answer.
I quickly grabbed my cat and put him in a carrier in my car. I unplugged all of my electronics and put them in my car while my roommate did the same. We got all of the art off of the walls and into the car, as well as photo albums and anything else irreplaceable. We called maintenance several more times, and there was still no answer.
I searched what to do in the event of a similar emergency and saw a lot of recommendations to call 311. The operator decided the fire department should come, because maybe the upstairs neighbor was injured and that was why they didn’t answer or stop the water. The fire department broke into their apartment and found a water line to the hall toilet broke and they turned off the shutoff valve. The neighbor appeared to be out of town. They also turned off the main electric breaker outside of the apartment because we had a completely soaked electrical panel and that was just dangerous.
Around seven o’clock in the morning, maintenance finally showed up and basically stood there in awe of what had happened. We had pushed all of the furniture away from the walls at that point because the water from the ceiling was slowly saturating the walls and it was dripping from the edges of the ceiling. We had furniture on the porch too. Of course, it started raining.
So then I took my cat and car full of belongings to my dad’s house. Then I went back and started packing, because there was no way the apartment was still habitable. Maintenance had already ripped up the carpet and padded up the whole place. Drywall was starting to fall in from the ceiling.
We packed and moved all day in the ninety-five-degree heat with no air conditioning, and the apartment was super humid from all of the water. Luckily, there was a vacant unit we could move to, and movers and a trailer showed up around four o’clock that afternoon.
We finally finished up moving, and I had my cat safely in my new apartment around eleven o’clock that night. That was an exhausting eighteen hours, and I had never loved a shower more in my life.”
Puddle In The Kitchen
“My husband woke me up at four o’clock in the morning to let me know our dachshund had peed brown in the middle of the kitchen. I knew immediately that it was blood. We knew she had been acting sick, but it hadn’t been anything too out of the ordinary. She had just been feeling sick to her stomach, so we had been feeding her chicken and rice.
The chicken and rice didn’t solve the problem that time. She had been fine the few hours before, but things took a drastic turn. She vomited twice, which hadn’t been entirely abnormal for her. She would occasionally scarf her food down too fast. We got worried when she started acting really lethargic. Like more than her usual napping. Then she kept bugging us to go outside, but she wouldn’t do anything. She wouldn’t go to the bathroom outside, she didn’t want water, and we couldn’t figure out what she wanted.
When my husband woke me up at four o’clock, I knew something was seriously wrong. We found the bloody pee, and we found her lying in the bathroom on a bath mat. We hadn’t seen her walk into the bathroom once but we found her in there laying on the bath mat.
We both had a horrible feeling deep down but neither of us wanted to admit it. I had always been hyper-paranoid about her health and always insisted that we take her to the vet anytime she seemed off.
Unfortunately, it turned out I was right this time. The worst thing was that the emergency vet wouldn’t take us in, despite their hours being listed as five o’clock in the evening to eight o’clock in the morning. We were calling at 7 o’clock in the morning, but they said that hospital patients take priority, and we wouldn’t make it there in time before closing.
So I frantically called our normal vet and left a detailed message. They called me back less than fifteen minutes later and told us we could bring her in before they opened, and they could squeeze her in between appointments that morning.
We waited for about three hours after dropping her off, and we didn’t hear anything from the vet. I called them because I couldn’t stand it anymore. They told us it was really bad. At least they were honest. The vet told us that she could keep her for overnight observation, give her fluids, and do an ultrasound to see what was going on. But the blood tests indicated that there was a good chance that she had cancer and that her kidneys and liver were failing. There was a good chance that those things wouldn’t have even worked, and she didn’t want to give us that hope.
So my husband and I had to make the agonizing decision to put our dog down. She didn’t even make it that far. We took her home to cuddle with her and love on her for a while, and we were supposed to bring her in around three o’clock that afternoon, but she didn’t make it until then. We were home for maybe an hour before she passed away in my arms. It was the worst day of my life. My breath was ripped out of my lungs, and my face hurt for the days afterwards because I had cried so hard.
So yeah. The worst thing I ever woke up to was a puddle of pee.”
“Woke Up Dead One Morning”
“I had been woken up in the middle of the night by what felt like the worst heartburn I had ever had. I told my wife that if I didn’t feel better in the morning, I would go to the emergency room. She wanted to go right then, but I had no other symptoms, so thought it might be an ulcer or something.
I had been having heartburn off and on for months, but that time was really bad. I woke up in the morning and felt worse, so I drove us down to the local emergency room. We lived near a very small rural hospital. It was mainly there to stabilize people after accidents or X-Ray a possibly broken arm.
My wife described my symptoms to the desk nurse, who had been very puzzled by my symptoms. Thankfully, an old retired doctor had been working there part-time for some extra income. He overheard my wife, turned around, and immediately called for a crash cart. He hooked me up to the machine, and the alarm started going off immediately. I only had a partial heartbeat and I was coding.
I found that a bit concerning, but as I had been in no real pain other than the heartburn. I had none of the classic symptoms of a heart attack. I thought they were just getting a bit carried away, and maybe it was an error in the machine or something. I got a pretty dirty look from the nurse when I asked my wife to find me a spit cup.
They called an ambulance, and I was taken to the cardiac ward in the big city hospital near me. A catheter dye test was done and afterward, a balloon pump was placed to assist my heart in the hope of keeping it beating long enough for bypass surgery the next morning. When they injected the dye, it just pooled around the injection site. I heard the cardiologist mutter some swear words under his breath. I decided that it might be time to take it a little more seriously.
The room they had put me in to await surgery was pretty cool. It reminded me of being in the medical bay in Star Trek. There were monitors on the walls, the whole works, not like a normal ICU at all. I found out later it was the isolation room for people that were worse than ICU could provide for, and very likely to die. It was probably best I didn’t know that at the time.
My cardiologist told me that when I drove myself to the hospital, I was clinically dead. They could not understand how I was even still conscious, let alone driving, and talking to the doctor in the ER. I had the widow maker heart attack. The type whose main symptom was sudden death.
Due to going back to bed along with delays in treatment, I had been on the brink of death for 16 hours. I guess it just wasn’t my time to go. Of course, my sister said it was my time to go, but I was too stubborn.”
“It Scurried Right Across My Face”
“Last year I was living in a pretty rickety old college house with my buddies. Every morning we could hear little rodents running around in the walls and ceiling, but we had never seen one in the actual house. That was until one morning while I was still asleep, when a squirrel got into the house. It had gotten into the basement where my room was, and my roommate trapped it down there so he could try to catch it.
Well, he didn’t know I was down there sleeping and that it had ran into my room. I wake up right before it scurried across my face. Scariest thing ever. I went from sound asleep to on my feet in my birthday suit in the blink of an eye.
The worst part is we never even caught the thing. We set up traps and bought squirrel repellant but that thing never took the bait and lived in the walls for the rest of the year.”
Surprise Game of Fetch
“A few weeks ago, my pet rat died. I buried him under a fig tree.
A few days ago, my puppy dug him up while I was sleeping, came through the dog door with his decaying corpse, and threw it at me to play fetch. I woke up to being hit by my dead beloved pet, who promptly broke into pieces on me. It was a stench that I still haven’t managed to get out of my nose. I also had an incredibly disappointed pup who just wanted me to play with her and her fun new toy.
While it’s not the worst thing that has happened, it was still a rather unpleasant way to wake up.”
Subconsciously Waking Up
“My family and I had always joked that the apocalypse could happen and I would sleep right through it. Nothing woke me up. But for some reason, I woke up at three o’clock in the morning one night. I couldn’t understand why, until I listened for a minute.
I could hear my mom frantically running up the hall to her and my stepdad’s room. She told him that her mother, who was staying in the room next to mine, wasn’t breathing. I heard her on the phone with the 911 operator as she pleaded with them to hurry, and then moments later as she ran outside, yelling after the ambulance.
‘They drove past our house,’ she cried from the front lawn.
It didn’t matter anyway. My grandma was already gone.
The only other time I’ve woken up from a dead sleep like that was when my mom fell in the bathroom last year. Her fall must’ve woke me up because I heard my stepdad come down the hall and knock on the bathroom door. I was already reaching for my phone when he opened my door and told me to call 911. Luckily, she was fine, just very sick but she had been too stubborn to go to the hospital earlier that day when we told her to. She made a full recovery, but I really don’t like it when I subconsciously get woken up in the middle of the night.”
“A few days before, I had surgery on my mouth. The bone on the roof of my mouth had been removed to get at some impacted teeth. Everything was healing well, but I had been sick of my liquid diet. The people responsible for creating the liquid breakfast meals should be imprisoned.
Idiot teenage me decided that I just had to eat an apple. No idea why. I obviously couldn’t bite into it, so I cut it up into small pieces. This would have been okay, except that I left the skins on. The corners of the apple skin on each piece turned out to be really sharp instead of extremely thin.
The apple skin cut the roof of my mouth and I bled like a stuck pig. I got it to stop and thought everything was kosher. I went to bed without a care in the world.
I woke up around five o’clock in the morning and felt sticky. I remember feeling something strange in my mouth. When I sat up to go to the bathroom to spit it out I found that I was covered in blood. It had been all over my chest, matted in my hair, soaked into my pillow. I had bled an impressive amount, probably around a pint. That thing in my mouth had been a giant blood clot.
When I got into the bathroom, I spit out the massive blood clot and looked in the mirror. My face looked completely normal, except for a little line of blood across my right starting at the corner of my mouth.
I am forever thankful that neither of my parents found me like that. They would have absolutely freaked because I am certain that I looked entirely dead. I cleaned up the mess and told them about it in the morning.”
“My mom woke me up with a soccer bag in her hand that I would put my weed in. I was seventeen at the time. I would drive her car more often than her, so sometimes I would leave my bag of weed in her car so I didn’t have to bring it inside.
I know it sounds stupid, but I had been good at covering my traces. My mom didn’t like going down the four flights of stairs at our apartment because she had a bad back, so she would always send me down. I was working at Baskin Robbins in high school, and I got off work early because I had a pretty good hangover, so I went straight home to take a nap.
She woke me and I saw that she was holding the bag. There was a half-ounce in that thing. When she asked me about it, I just told her it belonged to one of my friends.
I knew she wouldn’t believe me, so I admitted to smoking occasionally to lessen the blow. The look of disappointment on her face was the worst thing I’ve woken up to. The funny thing was the weed actually did belong to a friend. My mom was pretty laid back about the whole thing, and we didn’t talk about it much after.”
Nap at a Gas Station
“My sister and I were driving back from Coachella. It was about a fourteen-hour drive. She was asleep in the passenger seat and I could not drive anymore, so I pulled over at a random gas station and laid the driver seat down.
A little while later, I was jolted awake from the sound of crushing metal and the feeling of moving. My first reaction was to slam my feet on the brakes. I did that, still blind from sleep for the longest minute of my life, while my sister and I desperately tried to figure out what happened.
It turned out a guy pulling a camper trailer turned too closely and it hit my car. It was the worst feeling ever.”
Bars on Bedroom Window
I had bars over the bedroom window, which was in the backyard at my last house. I heard noises and woke up to find the bars were unlocked and swinging open. I locked them back up and figured they must have been left unlocked last time the windows were cleaned. Maybe they had just swung open in the wind. The only set of keys was dangling off of the cord to the blinds, so I figured I had nothing to worry about.
It happened again three more times over the next couple of weeks. Every time I woke up and saw the bars were open, my heart would stop. There was no way the lock could have been picked, it was so difficult to open even with the key. Eventually, a friend changed it out. The consensus was that one of my exes must have made a copy of the key and was trying to frighten me, but they didn’t actually want to break in. Mission accomplished for them. I barely slept for weeks and kept clothes in my car, in case I had to make a quick escape.
The second worst time was having a dream I was drowning, and I woke up to my cat standing on my throat. She was upset because she ran out of water. My throat hurt for two days, I’m lucky she’s only a four-pounder!
“I woke up to find a burglar in my room at three o’clock in the morning. It was the morning of one of my final exams in high school.
I was living on the fourth floor of my building, and as any good kid would have done, I analyzed if I could ever sneak out of my bedroom window and climb down the drain pipes and sneak out as a teen. I thought it was impossible. Oh, how I was so wrong.
I went to sleep, and halfway through pre-exam stress nightmares, I found a dude three meters away from me, rummaging through cameras and laptops at my desk. I woke up and didn’t know what the heck was going on, so I literally flew out of bed as my fight or flight mechanisms kicked in. I charged at the dude, who ran straight out and jumped over my balcony, only to land on the concrete four floors below.
Since we were living in a condo, it took me a while to grab a bat, run around, and find the dude who I had last seen rolling around in agony, probably with a broken leg. By the time I had got out of the house and to where he would have been lying, he had already run off into the national park behind my house.
Obviously I couldn’t sleep after that, so I studied a bit, went to my exam, and aced it. I think it gave me a good adrenaline rush.”
“I used to live in a tiny bedsit room in an illegally converted two-up, two-down house in a dodgy part of London. Tenants would come and go regularly, so inevitably we ended up with a pretty severe bedbug infestation. Aside from the bites and the itchiness, the psychological effect of knowing they’re waiting for you to turn out the light takes its toll.
In an attempt to stave them off, I wrapped the entire mattress and bed frame in plastic bin liners. That didn’t seem to help a great deal, but I was on the waiting list for the council’s pest controllers, so it was all I could think of at the time. I left the bin liners in place for several months and forgot about them.
Eventually, winter came around, and as we had no central heating in the building, I bought one of those electric three-bar heaters. I was having a nap one afternoon when, in my sleep, I must have accidentally kicked on the heater. I awoke to find the foot of my bed completely aflame. The plastic bin liners had caught fire, along with the mattress beneath them.
In a state of shock and still half asleep, I quickly attempted to put the fire out with the only thing I had at the moment, my hands. I had melted, burning plastic running through my fingers, but fortunately I managed to put it out. The fire alarm went off and the whole place stank of acrid burning plastic, so one of my neighbors knocked on the door.
Out of embarrassment, I told them everything was fine. Then I sat on the floor with my hands in the fridge-freezer for about an hour in too much pain to call an ambulance or my mom for help on the phone. I think the fact that I went from a deep, peaceful sleep, to having both my hands on fire in the span of two seconds must have left its mark on my psyche. Ten years later, I often wake with a start, sure that I can smell the smoke, and even feel the heat.”
“The landlord had hired contractors to do pipework. In the room above my bedroom, a jackhammer started hammering at seven o’clock in the morning. I was a student at the time and typically slept until ten if I didn’t have morning classes.
I knew a jackhammer was loud, but that was the loudest thing I had ever heard in my life. The house had converted into one giant resonance box. That thing could have just as well been in my bedroom for all I cared.
I tried putting a pillow over my head, and then it stopped. I almost fell back to sleep when it started again. It was painfully loud, and hurt my ears.
Eventually, I left the bedroom and fell asleep on the couch with two pillows over my head, because it was extremely loud out there as well.
I had a good glimpse of what sleep deprivation torture would be like. That was awful.”