To wake up every morning, the vast majority of people rely on their alarm clocks. As many as 68.2 percent of individuals, according to one survey, rely on some kind of alarm system (clock, radio, or phone) to get them out of bed in the morning. Forgetting to set your alarm the night before might add extra stress to your day if you rely on it to get you up and going in the morning.
You may end yourself mindlessly scrolling through social media or YouTube if you use your phone as an alarm clock. Getting hit with a ton of information and stimulation from the internet and social media just as you wake up can have a detrimental effect on your day.
The alarm clock is being abandoned in favor of other methods, such as the establishment of a new morning ritual, as people seek to improve their sleep quality.
How Do Brains Tell Time?
Circadian rhythm and body clock are two terms that are commonly used interchangeably. However, the body’s internal clock regulates a pattern of physical and mental responses known as the circadian rhythm. The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) is a collection of around 20,000 nerve cells in the hypothalamus that serves as the body’s master clock, controlling when we go to sleep and when we wake up. Information from the eyes is one of the several channels via which the SCN gets input. The SCN sends messages to the brain as light levels drop, telling the brain to secrete melatonin and so promote sleep.
The SCN sends out signals that are interpreted by the circadian rhythm, which in turn reacts to the rise and fall of numerous hormones and proteins within our cells that promote or suppress sleepiness and alertness. Learning how your body’s internal clock, or circadian rhythms, works and creating a map of those cycles can help you gradually awaken without an alarm.
How Do You Know Your Circadian Rhythm?
You can probably guess your circadian rhythm based on how you normally behave. Learn more about your sleep-wake rhythm by keeping track of the times you feel sleepy and the times you feel alert.
What Can Disrupt your Circadian Rhythm?
To some extent, it may not come as a surprise that modern lifestyle habits, such as the prevalence of cellphones and the rise of the freelance economy, might interfere with a person’s natural circadian rhythm. Bedtime procrastination, now known as revenge bedtime procrastination, occurs when people reject their bodies’ signals and remain up later so that they can feel more in control of their free time. These and other habits and routines can disrupt your circadian rhythm and lead to health problems.
- Even if you sleep during your typical waking hours, working a shift during your normal sleeping hours will interrupt your body’s natural sleep-wake schedule. When you try to get some shut-eye throughout the day, you end up with a sleep schedule that is more like a night of fits and starts. High blood pressure and obesity are only two of the many health problems that can result from shift work’s disruption of your body’s natural circadian rhythm.
- If you’ve ever traveled across time zones, you know what it’s like to arrive at your destination and find yourself still reacting to your old sleep-wake schedule. The majority of the time, the body will adjust on its own after a few days. However, if you travel often or for vast distances in a short amount of time, your body may not adapt to the new environment, and you may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.
- If you have trouble falling asleep at a reasonable hour, you may suffer from delayed sleep-wake phase disorder (DSWPD). People with DSWPD often struggle to sleep until the early morning hours, no matter how hard they try to go to sleep earlier. Since their body is unable to acquire a full night’s rest within normal sleeping hours, this can lead to sleep deprivation and mental anguish.
- An early bedtime and early wake time without the capacity to go back to sleep characterize those with Advanced Sleep Phase Disorder (ASPD), a condition more prevalent in the elderly. Sometimes as early as 4 p.m., older persons with this illness go to sleep, and then wake up between 2 and 5 a.m., unable to get back to sleep.
- Multiple naps during the day and disrupted sleep at night characterize the sleep pattern known as irregular sleep-wake rhythm disorder (ISWRD). Someone with ISWRD appears to have a completely disrupted circadian rhythm. They get the recommended amount of sleep during a 24-hour period, but it is broken up into several shorter periods. Alzheimer’s illness, brain traumas, and developmental disabilities are all associated with an increased risk of ISWRD.
Ways to Wake Up Naturally Without an Alarm
Stimulate Your Brain
Use Cold Water
Use Essential Oils
Call a Friend or Relative
How to use light to shift your circadian clock?
Although Juda’s suggestions may not be practical for persons with specific conditions, like as shift workers and those with circadian rhythm abnormalities, they are useful for the rest of us.
- Even on cloudy days, it’s important to spend at least two hours outside soaking in natural light. The intensity of sunlight is many times greater than that of even a well-lit indoor room.
- The morning sun is superior. Juda suggests going outside within an hour or two of your natural wake up time, and he claims that 10 minutes of morning light is equivalent to four, five, or six hours of afternoon light in terms of regulating your circadian clock. She recommends getting as much morning light exposure as possible outside if you have trouble sleeping during the week. “Enjoy your morning coffee on the balcony. Investing as little as five to ten minutes a day can have a profound effect over time.”
- Night owls, who often sleep in later in the day, might benefit much from the morning light. According to Juda, this only serves to further delay their circadian clock, creating a vicious cycle. Reason enough to train oneself to stay in bed rather than rise early.
- People who reside in the western part of a time zone are more prone to suffer from sleep deprivation and obtain, on average, 19 minutes less sleep each night than those who live in the eastern half of a time zone since sunrise and sunset occur at later clock times.
- Juda advises using a sunshine lamp if it is still dark outside when you first get up. The result is an earlier bedtime in addition to an earlier rise time.
- Inside, use lights with warm tones and begin decreasing them three hours before bedtime. According to Judaism, our eyes are accustomed to daytime exposure to cool, blue or white light and evening exposure to warm, yellow or red light. Light in the evening prevents the body from making melatonin, the sleep hormone, which is released in response to darkness. With smart lighting, you may change the color temperature and set the lights to gradually lower. A wide range of color temperatures is available for LED bulbs.
- In contrast to the typically bright and white bathroom lighting, Juda turns to a night light during her time in the stall. This is an effective pre-bedtime ritual for reducing late-night light exposure.
- Utilize your window coverings to your advantage. At bedtime, Juda lowers the blinds to shield her children from the late-afternoon sun, but she raises them once it gets dark so that her children can soak up the morning rays. Try several things out and see what fits you best. Research has found that using an alarm clock that simulates sunlight can help regulate your circadian clock, and timers can be set on motorized blinds if that isn’t an option.
- Keep in mind that from March to November, we benefit from extra daylight hours thanks to daylight saving time.
Those who have the luxury of working from home may want to experiment with using light to better synchronize biological and social time now.
What to Do at Night to Get Up Easier in the Morning
Find Out How Much Sleep You Need
For optimal alertness, it’s preferable to awaken when you’re in the first stages of sleep. This is the time of day when you are least likely to feel drowsy because you are nearly fully awake.