Ever since the reign of smart phones commenced, it seems that, in addition to being an immediate Instagram resource, they have taken on the role of our alarm clock. We’re sure many of you can relate to the excruciating pain of starting your day with the common, appallingly loud standard alarm. This shocking, high-pitched sound rarely fails to get us out of bed. However effective this method may be, not only are we waking up abruptly— and obviously angrily—but we could be making ourselves sleepier throughout the day.
Typically, when your alarm clock goes off in the morning, it is waking you up from your REM stage of sleep—this is the final phase when you are in your deepest snooze. When you arise suddenly from REM, you are disrupting your body’s sleep inertia, the natural system your body uses to healthily wake itself up. You will emerge to an immediate surge of adrenaline causing you to become disoriented and experience stress that could leak into the rest of your day.
Studies, such as research conducted by the National Institute of Industrial Health in Japan, demonstrate that every day in which we wake up by that gruesome alarm, we are putting our bodies through consequences that can affect attitude, weight, blood pressure and ultimately overall well being. So how about we try waking ourselves in a more wellness-minded manner? Here’s a list of alternatives that could prove to be a healthier, and gentler, way to start your mornings:
1. Let’s start with the easiest option: Use a gentle alarm ringtone at a low volume. If you’re worried it won’t do the job, have a backup, alarm just in case. The problem isn’t necessarily the presence of the alarm clock itself but the way we are reacting to it. The goal is to turn your waking experience into a process, the way your body is programmed to do.
2. Use the natural sunlight to your advantage. This is the way nature intended your body to greet the morning. Try leaving your blinds open and position your bed in a way that would force you to come into direct contact with the light. If you can’t find a way to effectively use the sun, perhaps set your bedrooms light to automatically turn on at a specific time.
3. Feeling high-tech? Try a Sunlight Simulator. It works with your body’s natural rhythms to wake you up, step by step. This light therapy “alarm clock” helps you fall asleep with a light dimmer and gentle sound. In the mornings, the alarm mimics the sun by gradually becoming more intense. If all else fails and you’re still stuck in a deep slumber, there is a backup beep sound. The idea of this innovative invention is to wake you up gradually, leaving you feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world.
4. Download a vibrating alarm clock phone application. If you have roommates, this can also be considered a courteous type of alarm. Brrrr Alarm is a popular iPhone app that allows you to wake up in the morning and not disturb the people around you. Try keeping your phone under your pillow and you’re in for a subtle awakening.
5. We will now leave you with the most difficult and most important solution: Actually get a full night’s sleep! Your body is a machine that you must sustain, and sleep is an important form of fuel. If you get more sleep, not only is it easier for you to wake up in the morning, but you’re likely to be nicer, healthier and better functioning.
Author: Mariel Sahad