Wake Up Easier By Adjusting Your Alarm

Mitchell Kay

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A pug wrapped up in a blanketPhoto by Matthew Henry on Unsplash

Everybody hates that deafening sound of their alarm. You might be exhausted from working the day before, suffering from a dreadful hangover, or maybe you just simply didn’t sleep well. But, that awful sound you hear in the morning doesn’t cause your veins to fill with rage for no reason.

In my personal experience, waking up has always been a struggle. Many people, like myself, set ten or more alarms to simply drag themselves out of bed for the day. That insanely awful default alarm sound on people’s iPhones has become absolutely appalling to hear, even when it isn’t coming from my own cell phone on my nightstand.

But what exactly has caused us to feel this way?

Background

Psychologists like a man by the name of Dr. Michael Gradisar have confirmed that the anger you experience from the sound of your alarm is a result of classical conditioning. Do you remember learning about Pavlov’s dogs in biology and psychology class? Well, you have started your own version of his experiment.

Classical conditioning occurs when stimuli are repeatedly paired together, resulting in a conditioned response. In this case, the alarm you set and your grouchy feeling when you wake up. According to Dr. Gradisar, it is especially irksome to hear your alarm out of the blue if you don’t consider yourself a morning person. In an article written in The Sydney Morning Herald, Dr. Grdisar reportedly claimed, “Some evening types may be setting their alarm at a time-inconsistent with their own internal body clock, such that the alarm sounds at the worst possible time of their 24-hour day.” Some people have even reported feeling sick to their stomach when the sound of their morning alarm goes off in any circumstance.

Over time, that sound you hear in the mornings has become associated with negative feelings of dread, anxiety, and lack of motivation that occur when you have to get out of bed. But how can you fix this?

1. Set a “snuggle alarm”

I know it sounds counterintuitive to set another alarm, but it is actually very useful. Set an alarm that first wakes you up and another when you have to actually get out of bed. This will make the second alarm much more bearable and will do wonders for your stress in the morning. Simply set your “snuggle alarm” thirty minutes before you have absolutely no choice but to get out of bed and use those thirty minutes to relax and snuggle up in your cozy blanket until it is time to get a move on. Not only will this give you a chance to gradually wake up and adjust, but it will also leave you less frantic and disoriented when you get up and start your day.

2. Try your best to get enough sleep

Last year I stayed up until somewhere in between three and five in the morning almost every night. This wreaked havoc on my daily routine and overall health. Your mornings will be so much more bearable if you actually try and stick to a sleep schedule, especially one that forces you to go to sleep before midnight. Staying up all night scrolling through the internet isn’t going to make your morning experience any less miserable. Sticking to a sleep schedule will make your body adjust accordingly and will get your circadian rhythm in check.

3. Switch the sound of your alarm every month if possible

If you are one of those people who have had their alarm sound set to the same sound for years, I recommend you switch the sound to something different and somewhat soothing. Switching the sound of your alarm monthly can result in less association of negative feelings towards the sounds coming out of your phone. Doing this may end up making you an early bird who is ready to seize the day instead of someone who screams into their pillow the second they open their eyes.

Conclusion

As they say, most millionaires wake up at four in the morning with a smile ear-to-ear, ready to conquer the world. They also manage to go grocery shopping, bench-press five elephants, attend three meetings, and run a marathon by the time the sun is up.

But really, nobody likes to wake up in the morning, especially if it is to go do something they don’t enjoy. Many people wake up feeling angry or pessimistic and this can affect the rest of your day. Personally, sometimes I can barely wake up before noon, and others I’m ready to go by eight. Either way, ensuring that you listen to your body and make adjustments accordingly will go a very long way.

References

Ward, Mary. “Why Does Hearing Your Morning Alarm in the Afternoon Make You Feel Sick?” The Sydney Morning Herald, 29 Aug. 2016, www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/why-does-hearing-your-morning-alarm-in-the-afternoon-make-you-feel-sick-20160815-gqsq2m.html?js-chunk-not-found-refresh=true.

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