Why Do I Always Wake Up Before My Alarm? Experts Have The Answers
Up until I got married, my father was in charge of making sure I would wake up for work because, while I always set the most soothing alarm I could find on my phone, continually pressing snooze button to shut it up basically became my regular defense mechanism each morning.
There's nothing natural, or soothing, about waking up to unyielding sounds blaring mercilessly from your bedside table, whether your subconscious expects it to happen or not.
Natalie Dautovich, PhD, an environment fellow with the National Sleep Foundation tells Elite Daily,
Waking up naturally is best for your health, since it's your body's way of telling you that you have slept enough, and it's time to wake up refreshed and alert. Contrast this to being forced to wake up by a loud noise, which is interrupting your sleep when you may not have finished sleeping, you wake up feeling groggy and still sleepy.
But, for most people, alarm clocks are a necessary security blanket -- an insurance policy that ensures you'll wake up at a time that allows you enough time to get ready and be off to work, school, or any other daily obligations you may have.
Even though you're likely accustomed to this daily routine by now, why do some mornings still feel so jarring and uncomfortable?
Every body has a natural circadian rhythm, a 24-hour cycle that controls when you feel tired or alert, based on internal workings and external elements, such as time of day or temperature.
When the natural sleep cycle is interrupted by jarring alarms, it can cause you to feel sluggish for the remainder of the day.
Ilene M. Rosen, program director of the University of Pennsylvania Sleep Medicine Fellowship, assistant dean for graduate medical education, and the president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), tells Elite Daily that constant reliance on an alarm is an issue in and of itself, and that “dependence on an alarm clock is a clear sign of sleep loss.”
And that brings us to the obvious solution: keeping a regular sleep schedule (and no, naps don't count).
Here are a few ways to alter your sleeping habits so that you wake up happy, and naturally -- no alarm necessary.
1. Figure Out How Many Hours Of Sleep You Need To Function Properly
Though it's recommended you get at least seven hours of sleep per night, there's really no minimum or maximum amount of sleeping hours that works for every single person.
Depending on what activities make up your schedule from day to day, and the quality of sleep you're getting, it's really subjective to the person in question.
Find out what works for you, and aim to get at least that many hours of sleep every night.
2. Transition Gradually
Slow and steady gets the sleep schedule back on track.
For better or worse, your body is already on some sort of schedule, so don't assume if you're regularly going to bed anywhere from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. that you'll be fast asleep by 10 p.m.
Rosen suggests giving your body time to adjust by moving your bedtime up by 30-minute increments for a few weeks until you drift off earlier and more naturally.
3. Establish A Bedtime Routine
Pamper your tired mind and body by establishing a nightly ritual that eases you into sleep-mode.
Every night before I get comfortable in bed, I wash my face with warm water and go through a few steps of skincare, such as applying serums and creams, a five-minute sheet mask, and more.
I find that going through these sensory motions is both soothing and therapeutic for my too-busy mind.
Read a book, take a long bath, light a few candles, and find your inner zen. This will help relax and de-stress the mind to ensure negative energy won't interfere with the quality of your sleep.
4. Wake Up On Your Own Terms
Wash your face, make your bed, turn on some pump-up music, or, at the very least, open the blinds.
There's always a chance that you'll wake up on the wrong side of the bed. Establishing ways of gently waking up the body and mind will help you get back on track.