How To Wake Up Without An Alarm By Sticking To These 5 Simple Tricks
While it is effective to wake yourself up with the sound of a bugle coming from your iPhone, or perhaps Sia's "The Greatest" blasting from your bluetooth alarm clock, it can be, well, alarming to one's delicate state while we transition from sleep to the land of the living. While knowing how to wake up without an alarm seems the stuff of myths, or at least something only Navy Seals get trained to do, it is, in fact, pretty darn good for you. Not to mention, very pleasant. And, believe it or not, something we can all learn to do.
If you need more convincing that waking up au natural is something you should try, neurobiologist Dr. Benjamin Smarr, who works with Reverie, shares with me over email some specific benefits of waking up without an alarm.
"When you wake up naturally, your body is coming out of a bout of REM sleep," he says. "The sleep you're getting at the end of the rest cycle is needed to finish hardening your memories and refreshing your emotions for the new day. When you use an alarm clock, you break that REM sleep, and give yourself a jolt of stress instead of a peaceful awakening."
Dr. Smarr says that the the stress from that jarring wakeup sort of compounds with the loss of emotionally refreshing REM sleep. This can make your whole day feel much more stressful and hard to handle. And the wild part is, you probably don't even know it's happening.
"That's the kind of stress that can keep you up and make you need an alarm clock in the morning," says Dr. Smarr. Waking up naturally is more healthy because you let your body and brain finish doing maintenance before putting yourself back on the road, he explains. But it's also good as a signal that things are really on track with you, rest-wise. "If you can wake up without an alarm, then you're not accumulating sleep debt," he tells Elite Daily.
Below are some expert tips on how to wake up on your own, even before the rooster crows — or, you know, when your alarm goes off.
1. Get In Touch With Your Circadian Rhythm
"Every human has an internal clock that makes us feel sleepy or awake at different times of the day," explains Dr. Sujay Kansagra, Mattress Firm’s Sleep Health Expert, to Elite Daily. This is known as the circadian rhythm.
If you are accustomed to falling asleep later at night, Dr. Kansagra says, start slowly adjusting your bedtime up in order to help your body wake up naturally and refreshed each morning.
2. Eliminate Some Of That Artificial Light
Perhaps it's time for us all to revert back to living by candle light? Well, maybe not quite.
But limiting your exposure to artificial light will get you more in touch with the natural rhythms of the day and your own natural sleep cycle.
"If you expose yourself to light from televisions, smartphones and laptops at night, your brain thinks it’s still daytime outside, so tries to keep you up even later, and delays your circadian rhythm," says Dr. Kansagra. "The key is to avoid bright lights for at least 30 minutes prior to bedtime for a healthy start to your morning."
Very doable! Time to restart that nightly meditation habit, y'all.
3. Make Your Mornings Bright
Let the sun shine!
Dr. Kansagra explains that getting plenty of bright light in the morning helps keep your sleep timing on track, particularly if you have to wake up very early. "Try and adjust the amount of light to your sleep schedule to help create a consistent routine," he says.
Certified sleep science coach, Bill Fish, adds that a simple tip would be to only use a sheer curtain when you go to bed.
"This way you have the privacy, but plenty of light will enter the room as the sun rises," says Fish.
4. Create a Bedtime Routine
If you don't have one, friends, get one.
"Having a nighttime routine helps get our bodies in the mindset that it’s time for bed," says Dr. Kansagra. And you'll even start to crave the wind down.
Try something nice and easy at night, like putting on your PJs, doing a little meditation, having some tea, and listening to soothing music. It can be anything that will get you used to winding down regularly.
5. Whatever You Do, Be Consistent
If you're getting your body accustomed to waking up without an alarm, you gotta get it used to the new habit. It's necessary to the success of the whole operation, Caleb Backe health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics tells Elite Daily.
"It’s necessary to train your body to go to sleep and wakeup at consistent times," says Backe. "If you’re successful at keeping this regiment for around two weeks, your brain will have likely have adapted to this new schedule, and you should be able to wake up at the desired time naturally."