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Living Intentionally

How To Change Your Alarm Clock So You Wake Up Feeling Energized

Be A Conscious Consumer

It’s 4:45 AM on a Wednesday and my 2008 iHome begins to blare its high-pitched BEEPs at me. This Steve-Jobs-era Apple device has no chill…within seconds, the slow BEEP BEEP’s escalate to a rapid-fire BEEPBEEPBEEPBEEP. It is intentionally placed just beyond the reach of my lanky arms so I have to get up to turn off the torturous sound.

I could just set it to play FM country radio so I can wake up in a more peaceful state – to a Luke Combs love song probably – but that’s not the way I want it. To me, an ALARM clock has one function: get me out of bed. Period.

If my bed had a feature where it could buck me off at 4:45 AM, I would consider it…

This is what works for me, and I wake up most days feeling energized. I know that most people don’t use their alarm clock this way, so I wanted to see what science had to say about the best way to wake up.

Here’s how to intentionally use your alarm clock to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to go.

1. Quit snoozin’

It seems that most people use the alarm on their phone, and they keep said phone in bed with them at night. They know they want to get up at 7:30, so they set an alarm at 7:00, planning to snooze a few times. “Two more snoozes until I ACTUALLY have to wake up!”

I’ve always found this silly, and science backs me up – you should stop using your snooze button. Why?

According to Amerisleep, you go through sleep cycles every night. REM sleep is the cycle when your brain is highly active and you experience dreams. It’s important because it’s highly restorative, and getting enough REM is crucial for feeling sharp the next day. When your alarm goes off in the morning, you’re usually nearing the end of your last REM cycle.

Wake up and get yourself out of bed, and the REM cycle ends. Hit the snooze button and go back to sleep, though, and you throw yourself right back into the REM cycle. When your alarm goes off a second time, it wakes you up in the middle of REM instead of at the end of REM. As a result, you end up feeling foggy and disoriented.

There’s more reason not to use snooze! If you went to bed at a decent hour the night before, your body’s internal clock is ready to wake up once the alarm goes off. But when you hit snooze and go back to sleep, you send your whole system into a confusing tailspin. Before long, your body isn’t sure when it’s time to wake up and when it’s time to go to sleep. This leads to less quality sleep which means heightened stress, increased inflammation, and lowered immunity.

Instead of setting your alarm early so you can ‘progressively’ wake up, just set your alarm at the actual time you need to wake up and don’t hit snooze. You may feel groggy at first, but after a few minutes, you’ll feel refreshed and ready for action!

2. Keep your alarm out of reach

When your alarm is in your bed or on your nightstand, it’s way too easy to hit snooze or turn it off without even opening your eyes. Avoid this by keeping your alarm out of reach so you have to get up and walk over to it. You’ll be forced to put your feet on the floor and open your eyes, which will wake you up.

If you use the alarm on your phone, charge your phone on the other side of the room or in your bathroom, NOT in your bed. This will also make you stop looking at your phone before bed, which helps you fall asleep! Or you can buy a true alarm clock and place it far from your bed. (You can still buy iHomes…who knew!)

Bonus: If your alarm sound is super annoying like mine, you’ll jump up and shut it off ASAP.

3. Keep your wake up time consistent

If you wake up at 6:00 some days and 8:00 other days, you mess up your circadian rhythm. Try to set your alarm within the same 15-minute window every day so your body can keep its internal rhythm. This will help you sleep better and feel more energetic throughout your day.

My iHome lets me set my 4:45 alarm for all weekdays, so I never have to change it. Choose a time that works for you, and make sure you’re getting 7-8 hours of sleep! Snooze-free sleep…

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