This Unexpected Alarm Sound Could Help You Feel More Awake, Study Says
Science says waking to an upbeat song instead of a beeping alarm might help you beat morning drowsiness, and we’re on board.
Yes, you can blame your awful alarm sound for morning drowsiness—well, kind of. The real culprit is sleep inertia, the physiological state you occupy immediately after waking up, as the body makes its natural transition from sleep to wakefulness. This post-snooze phenomenon is the reason you often feel groggy, disoriented, and uncoordinated when you first get up, and it can last anywhere from four seconds to four hours—yes, hours—after waking. (Some research suggests that more intense and prolonged symptoms of sleep inertia are similar to being drunk: Poor decision making, reduced alertness, and impaired balance and coordination.)
RELATED: How to Stop Hitting the Snooze Button
The good news is, you might be able to kick daily drowsiness just by switching your alarm from the usual beeping or ringing to a much more pleasant noise. A recent study from RMIT University in Australia found that waking up to more melodic alarm sounds, whether it’s an upbeat song or a more musical alarm tone, can help counteract the negative effects of sleep inertia.
“[W]e found that the melodicity of a chosen waking sound does affect sleep inertia,” the study, published by BioRxiv, reports. “A sound that is perceived as melodic produces less sleep inertia in comparison to a sound considered to be neutral (neither unmelodic nor melodic).”
After analyzing 50 participants’ different morning routines, scientists found those who woke up to catchy, melodic songs, like “Good Vibrations,” by The Beach Boys and “Close to Me,” by The Cures, were much less likely to suffer from sleep inertia than those roused by typical beeping or ringing alarms.
So if you actually want to feel awake when your alarm goes off, maybe it’s time to say goodbye to the incessant beeping you’ve been hitting snooze through for years and try waking up to a song you like instead.