How do people wake up just before their alarm goes off?

How do people wake up just before their alarm goes off?

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I can wake up less than 2 minutes before my alarm goes off regularly.

I read the common wisdom on the subject which says "circadian rhythm; PER proteins; internal clock". I am skeptical of this for two reasons:

  • I go to sleep at night at different times ranging from 11:00 to 2:00 and rarely check the time, so if I don't even know the sleep start time, how can my body measure out the duration of sleep and get the end time right?
  • People's chemical levels vary from day to day depending on a ton of variables (food intake, physical activity, stress, etc). It appears that we are not deterministic machines that are constant from day to day to that level of precision

I have a few hypotheses that I haven't heard before:

  • Maybe the subconscious is queuing off the light level in the room? (this a unique property of the specific minute of wakeup, as there would be less light a minute sooner and more light a minute later)
  • Maybe while sleeping, the eyes periodically open, view the clock, process the numbers, and wake up accordingly (just like people can sleepwalk and use their eyes to process where the walls and doors are)

Any thoughts?

The biological answer is presumably cryptochromes. The foregoing applies to humans who have CRY2 blue light receptors in the inner retina (the neural layer, not the photoreceptors). I've seen claims these respond particularly well to the light before dawn, though I didn't track those down just now.

That said, a proper skeptic would dismiss this as confirmation bias, at least until proven otherwise.

Up Before Your Alarm? When to Get Up and When to Go Back to Sleep

Do you ever wake up early, before your alarm goes off? Find out why this happens and whether it’s better to hit the snooze button or just get up.

Many people think of insomnia as the inability to fall asleep. However, being unable to stay asleep and waking early are also types of sleep disorders when they occur often enough to interfere with your daily life. So what should you do when you wake up early? Modern medicine has the answers.

How to Get Up Right Away When Your Alarm Goes Off

When your alarm wakes you up in the morning, is it hard for you to get up right away? Do you find yourself hitting the snooze button and going right back to sleep?

That used to be part of my daily awakening ritual too. When my alarm would blare its infernal noise, I’d turn the damned thing off right away. Then under the cloak of that early morning brain fog, I’d slowly ponder whether or not I should actually get up:

It’s nice and warm under the covers. If I get up, it’s going to be cold. That won’t be too pleasant.

Oh, I really should get up now. C’mon legs… move. Go, legs, go. Hmmm… that isn’t how I move my legs, is it? They don’t seem to be listening to me.

I should go to the gym. Yeah. Hmmm… I don’t really feel like working out right now though. I haven’t even had breakfast. Maybe I should have a muffin first. Banana nut. Now that’s a good muffin.

Maybe I’m trying to get myself up too early. I’m still sleepy, aren’t I? Maybe getting up with an alarm is unnatural. Won’t I function better with more sleep?

I don’t have to get up right this minute, do I? Surely I can relax another five minutes or so. The world isn’t going to end if I don’t get up right now.

I’ll bet my wife is toasty warm right now. She told me she hates it when I try to snuggle her at 6am, but so what… she loves me enough to forgive me, right? I know… I’ll start massaging her back and shoulders first. She can’t resist a good massage, even so early in the morning. Then I’ll transition to a head scratching. Yeah, that’ll do it. And then slide right into the spoon position. Won’t that be a pleasant way to start the day?

Me: What time is it? I don’t even remember the alarm going off. That was a good snuggle though. Oh well, guess I’ll have to skip exercise today.

Wife: Why do you keep setting your alarm if you aren’t going to get up when it goes off?

Me: Oh, did you think that was my wake-up alarm? It’s actually my snuggle alarm.

OK, so I wasn’t really intending for it to be a snuggle alarm. I had intended to get up when it went off, but my foggy brain kept negotiating me right back to sleep.

Fast forward to present day…

My alarm goes off sometime between 4:00 and 5:00am… never later than 5:00am, even on weekends and holidays. I turn off the alarm within a few seconds. My lungs inflate with a deep breath of air, and I stretch my limbs out in all directions for about two seconds. Soon my feet hit the floor, and I find myself getting dressed while my wife snoozes on. I go downstairs to grab a piece of fruit, pop into my home office to catch up on some emails, and then it’s off to the gym at 5:15.

But this time there’s no voice inside my head debating what I should do. It’s not even a positive voice this time — it’s just not there. The whole thing happens on autopilot, even before I feel fully awake mentally. I can’t say it requires any self-discipline to do this every morning because it’s a totally conditioned response. It’s like my conscious mind is just along for the ride while my subconscious controls my body. When my alarm goes off each morning, I respond just like Pavlov’s dogs. It would actually be harder for me not to get up when my alarm goes off.

So how do you go from scenario one to scenario two?

First, let’s consider the way most people tackle this problem — what I consider the wrong way.

The wrong way is to try using your conscious willpower to get yourself out of bed each morning. That might work every once in a while, but let’s face it — you’re not always going to be thinking straight the moment your alarm goes off. You may experience what I call the fog of brain. The decisions you make in that state won’t necessarily be the ones you’d make when you’re fully conscious and alert. You can’t really trust yourself… nor should you.

If you use this approach, you’re likely to fall into a trap. You decide to get up at a certain time in advance, but then you undo that decision when the alarm goes off. At 10pm you decide it would be a good idea to get up at 5am. But at 5am you decide it would be a better idea to get up at 8am. But let’s face it — you know the 10pm decision is the one you really want implemented… if only you could get your 5am self to go along with it.

Now some people, upon encountering this conundrum, will conclude that they simply need more discipline. And that’s actually somewhat true, but not in the way you’d expect. If you want to get up at 5am, you don’t need more discipline at 5am. You don’t need better self-talk. You don’t need two or three alarm clocks scattered around the room. And you don’t need an advanced alarm that includes technology from NASA’s astronaut toilets.

You actually need more discipline when you’re fully awake and conscious: the discipline to know that you can’t trust yourself to make intelligent, conscious decisions the moment you first wake up. You need the discipline to accept that you’re not going to make the right call at 5am. Your 5am coach is no good, so you need to fire him.

What’s the real solution then? The solution is to delegate the problem. Turn the whole thing over to your subconscious mind. Cut your conscious mind out of the loop.

Now how do you do this? The same way you learned any other repeatable skill. You practice until it becomes rote. Eventually your subconscious will take over and run the script on autopilot.

This is going to sound really stupid, but it works. Practice getting up as soon as your alarm goes off. That’s right — practice. But don’t do it in the morning. Do it during the day when you’re wide awake.

Go to your bedroom, and set the room conditions to match your desired wake-up time as best you can. Darken the room, or practice in the evening just after sunset so it’s already dark. If you sleep in pajamas, put on your pajamas. If you brush your teeth before bed, then brush your teeth. If you take off your glasses or contacts when you sleep, then take those off too.

Set your alarm for a few minutes ahead. Lie down in bed just like you would if you were sleeping, and close your eyes. Get into your favorite sleep position. Imagine it’s early in the morning… a few minutes before your desired wake-up time. Pretend you’re actually asleep. Visualize a dream location, or just zone out as best you can.

Now when your alarm goes off, turn it off as fast as you can. Then take a deep breath to fully inflate your lungs, and stretch your limbs out in all directions for a couple seconds… like you’re stretching during a yawn. Then sit up, plant your feet on the floor, and stand up. Smile a big smile. Then proceed to do the very next action you’d like to do upon waking. For me it’s getting dressed.

Now shake yourself off, restore the pre-waking conditions, return to bed, reset your alarm, and repeat. Do this over and over and over until it becomes so automatic that you run through the whole ritual without thinking about it. If you have to subvocalize any of the steps (i.e. if you hear a mental voice coaching you on what to do), you’re not there yet.

Feel free to devote several sessions over a period of days to this practice. Think of it like doing sets and reps at the gym. Do one or two sets per day at different times… and perhaps 3-10 reps each time.

Yes, it will take some time to do this, but that time is nothing compared to how much time you’ll save in the long run. A few hours of practice today can save you hundreds of hours each year.

With enough practice — I can’t give you an accurate estimate of how long it will take because it will be different for everyone — you’ll condition a new physiological response to the sound of your alarm. When your alarm goes off, you’ll get up automatically without even thinking about it. The more you run the pattern, the stronger it will become. Eventually it will be uncomfortable not to get up when your alarm goes off. It will feel like putting on your pants with the opposite leg first.

You can also practice mentally if you’re good at visualizing. Mental practice is faster, but I think it’s best to run through the whole thing physically. There are subtle details you might miss if you only rehearse mentally, and you want your subconscious to capture the real flavor of the experience. So if you do use mental practice, at least do it physically the first few times.

The more you practice your wake-up ritual, the deeper you’ll ingrain this habit into your subconscious. Alarm goes off -> get up immediately. Alarm goes off -> get up immediately. Alarm goes off -> get up immediately.

Once this becomes a daily habit, you won’t have to do anymore daytime practice. This type of habit is self-reinforcing. You only have to go through the conditioning period once. Then you’re basically set for life until you decide to change it. Even if you fall out of the habit for some reason (like an extended vacation in a different time zone), you’ll be able to return to it more easily. Think of it like muscle memory. Once you’ve grooved in the pattern, it will still be there even if you let some weeds grow over it.

Any behavior pattern you experience when your alarm goes off will become self-reinforcing if you repeat it enough times. Chances are that you already have a well-established wake-up ritual, but it may not be the one you want. The more you repeat your existing pattern, the more you condition it into your subconscious. Every time you fail to get up when your alarm goes off, that becomes ever more your default physiological response. If you want to change that behavior, you’ll need to undertake a conscious reconditioning program such as the one I described above.

Beating yourself up about your bad wake-up habits will not work — in fact, you’ll just condition these mental beatings as part of the very routine you’re trying to change. Not only will you not get up when your alarm goes off, but you’ll also automatically beat yourself up about it. How lame is that? Do you really want to keep running that dumb pattern for the rest of your life? That’s exactly what will happen if you don’t condition a more empowering pattern. For good or ill, your habits will make or break you.

Once you establish your desired wake-up ritual, I recommend you stick with it every single day — 7 days a week, 365 days a year. And for the first 30 days, set your alarm for the same time every day. Once the habit is established, then you can vary your wake-up times or occasionally go without the alarm if you want to sleep in, but until then it’s best to keep the pattern very tight. That way it will become your default behavior, and you’ll be able to stray from time to time without serious risk of deconditioning it.

I’m confident that once you establish this habit, you’ll absolutely love it. I consider this to be one of my most productive habits. It saves me hundreds of hours a year, and it keeps paying dividends day after day. I also found this habit extremely valuable during my polyphasic sleep experiment.

Think about it — if you oversleep just 30 minutes a day, that’s 180+ hours a year. And if you’re at 60 minutes a day, that’s 365 hours a year, the equivalent of nine 40-hour weeks. That’s a lot of time! Now I don’t know about you, but I can think of more creative things to do with that time than lying in bed longer than I need to.

I encourage you to give this method a try. I know it seems silly to practice getting out of bed, but hey, what if it works? What if you knew with total certainty that if you set your alarm for a certain time, you would absolutely get up at that time no matter what? There’s no reason you can’t create that for yourself over the next few days. Practice makes permanent.

And if you want some tips on establishing the habit of getting up early, I encourage you to read these two articles:

&ldquoMost mornings before I get out of bed&mdashbefore I do anything, really&mdashI take a few minutes to pray or meditate.

&ldquoI believe it&rsquos so key to do something to take care of yourself first thing in the morning. If you&rsquove loved on yourself a bit, then you&rsquore easier to deal with, you&rsquore more joyful, your bandwidth is a little deeper, and you&rsquore more available, understanding, and tolerant as you go about your day, your meetings, your interactions with your family.

&ldquoFor me, that&rsquos meditation. It gives me a moment to take my time, not be on my phone, breathe, and get in the right headspace so I can then go over my day. Being mindful is so important.&rdquo

Mysteries left to solve

There is still a lot to learn about waking up. Although you spend about one-third of your time sleeping, scientists don’t totally understand the purpose of sleep.

They do know that sleep is vital for health, especially for kids whose brains and bodies are still growing. Sleep restores your immune system, improves your memory and supports your mental health. And you might be surprised by how many hours of sleep doctors recommend for babies, kids and adults.

Even though scientists have found some of the pieces, the puzzle of how and why the brain generates consciousness is still unsolved. This is why the future needs curious scientists – perhaps even you.

Hello, curious kids! Do you have a question you’d like an expert to answer? Ask an adult to send your question to [email protected] Please tell us your name, age and the city where you live.

And since curiosity has no age limit – adults, let us know what you’re wondering, too. We won’t be able to answer every question, but we will do our best.

Conclusion: Wake up early for more success and happiness.

In this article, we have talked about how waking up early increases your success. And we provided tips for getting into the habit of rising earlier than usual.

See what difference waking up early can make in your life by trying out the processes mentioned here for at least a week.

I hope that this new habit can bring more success, good health, and happiness to your life. If you wish to read more about habits that energize your day, visit this post here.

For further tips on workplace habits that help build success in your career, check out this post.

How to Wake Someone Up

This article was medically reviewed by Luba Lee, FNP-BC, MS. Luba Lee, FNP-BC is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) and educator in Tennessee with over a decade of clinical experience. Luba has certifications in Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), Emergency Medicine, Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), Team Building, and Critical Care Nursing. She received her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) from the University of Tennessee in 2006.

There are 15 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page.

This article has been viewed 800,408 times.

Waking up people can be difficult sometimes, especially if they are heavy sleepers. You may want to start with an indirect technique, particularly if you don't have a good reason for getting them up (such as they need to be at work). You can also try more direct methods, or if you're very brave and don't mind making them a little angry, you can prank your friends a bit. On the other hand, if a person is sleepwalking, it's generally best to guide them back to bed and not wake them if at all possible.

Is It Bad To Start a Scene with a Character Waking Up?

If you’ve ever been in a creative writing or fiction class, then you’ve definitely been told that it is a bad idea to start a story or scene with your main character waking up. Most experienced writers and instructors strongly advise against it. But why? Is it always a bad idea?

And really, the answer is no you can pull off a good waking up scene that draws readers into the story. By writing a character waking up in a specific way, you can set the tone for the rest of the scene and offer a unique glimpse into the character’s personality.

However, people tend to discourage starting a scene like this, not because it is inherently bad, but because it is a tactic often used lazily. Many beginner writers rely on this technique as an easy way to transition between scenes. If the transition is abrupt, glossed over, or otherwise disregarded by the writer, then it definitely won’t be taken seriously by the reader.

If you’re considering starting a scene, or your entire story, with your main character waking up, take a moment to consider why you want to write it like that. Do you have a good reason to? Is there another way you could start it? If you don’t have a good reason for writing it like that, you probably shouldn’t do it.

It’s Alarming: What Wakes You Up Each Morning?

If you set an alarm on your phone or clock that sounds like this:

That hard, unpleasant sound may be making it harder to shake off the sleepy feeling in the morning known as grogginess.

So, is there a better way to wake up? A recent study says yes. The answer is music. Researchers say alarms that have a melody – like the beginning of this song – can help people feel fresher in the morning.

The study, carried out by researchers in Australia, involved 50 people. The study subjects answered questions about the alarm sound they like to wake up to, how they feel about that sound and how they feel when they wake up. The findings appeared this month in the publication PloS One.

The researchers found that people who wake up to musical alarms reported feeling more awake and alert.

Stuart McFarlane was a lead writer of the study. He told VOA, “We are very surprised by these findings as one might expect a harsh beeping sound to be more successful,” at waking up a person.

Sleep inertia is another term for grogginess. It means a person has a heavy feeling when waking up, and has trouble getting moving again after sleeping.

McFarlane said people need to better understand sleep inertia’s harmful effects on human performance later in the day. The grogginess we may feel in the morning usually lasts for up to 30 minutes. But he said it has been reported to last from two to four hours.

Not everyone will experience the full effect. But for those who do, “care should be taken” when performing duties that require a top performance within this period, he said. This includes “dangerous tasks like driving or riding our bikes” shortly after waking up.
The same is true for people who work in dangerous situations shortly after they wake. They include firefighters and pilots.

Sleep inertia has been linked to major accidents including airplane and shipping crashes.

Why is music better?

So, what makes musical alarms better for waking up?

The researchers think the music may be more successful in reducing sleep inertia because it has several tones, compared to the single tone of a “beeping” alarm. McFarlane said that the changes over time between the music tones may help increase a person’s attention when waking from sleep.

But, he added, “it is early days though and more work is needed” to fully know the answer.

And is there a kind of music that is best to wake up to? There may be, McFarlane said.

“We could suggest alarm sounds that are tune full and easy to hum or sing along with. The current sounds I have been using include ‘Close to me’ by the Cure and ‘Borderline’ by Madonna.”

No matter how you wake up, experts say, the amount of sleep you get also matters – a lot.

Dr. Stuart F. Quan is the clinical director of the Division of Sleep and Circadian Rhythm Disorders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts. He offered some suggestions for how people can get better sleep and feel fresh each morning.

  • Establish regular hours. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends. Researchers recommend getting at least seven hours of sleep a night.
  • Create a sleep-friendly room. It should be completely dark while sleeping. Place your bed away from windows. Try to make sure it is quiet and cool.
  • Exercise. Most studies show that usual exercise -- three or four times a week -- helps improve sleep.
  • Try not to use electronics in bed. Turn off your cell phone before bed, or put it on the “do not disturb” setting.
  • Avoid large meals before bedtime.
  • Limit nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol before bed.
  • Be more active during the day. This can help you fall asleep more quickly and easily.

Anne Ball wrote this story for VOA Learning English. Ashley Thompson was the editor.

How do you wake up in the morning? If you use an alarm, what does it sound like? What do you think of this story? Write to us in the comments section below.

Tired of Fighting My Teen to Wake Up in the Morning

It's almost impossible to wake my 17-year-old son up for school. He says that he wants my help getting up, but in the mornings, I have to threaten to leave without him to get him moving. We leave the house angry and out of sorts. How can I get him out of bed without having these daily battles?

The adolescent brain would be much happier if school started at ten or eleven in the morning (if at all!). Instead of falling asleep at a reasonable hour that lets teens wake up cheerful and rested, many get their second wind at 10:00 p.m., staying up late and waking up cranky and out of sorts.

• Find wake up alternatives. Many kids tune out a well-meaning parent's efforts to get them to rise and shine, going back to sleep over and over. Others find it jarring to awaken to the piercing buzz of an alarm, launching them out of bed in a foul mood. Perhaps your son wants to waken to music easy enough these days with alarm clocks that work off an iPod. Or he may want to gradually wake up with a clock that slowly introduces light into the room. Encourage your son to look for ways to awaken that aren't dependent on you.

• Give him a problem. If you are the only one who cares whether your son wakes up on time, you are going to come across as desperate and needy each morning. Instead, help him identify reasons for getting up on time that matter to him, so that he sees you as an ally who helps when he's struggling with grogginess, rather than an enemy who is yanking him out of his warm and cozy bed.

• Rule out other issues. Teens who are depressed find it difficult to get motivated to go to school. Those who are anxious may want to hide under the covers where they feel safe. And kids who are using alcohol, pot or other substances can also demonstrate significant difficulties with rolling out of the bed in the morning. Make sure your son is legitimately tired, and that there are no other factors influencing his sluggishness.

• Don't fuel the drama. The less you take your son's behavior personally, the better able you'll be to deal with him calmly. When kids are foggy and irritable, they to lash out at those they love. Don't engage with him or defend yourself when he's trying to blame you for his difficulties getting up. It will only make things worse.

• Don't talk too much! A sleepy adolescent is not capable of intelligent conversation or thoughtful reflection. Avoid reminding your son how foolish it was to stay up late the night before. Give up on having a meaningful discussion about how to make the mornings go more smoothly. While it will be important to strategize a new plan, the time do that is not when he's rushed, angry, or barely able to function.

• Wake up his brain. Play some loud rock and roll to help your son get out of his sleepy state. Offer him a protein shake or a few bites of breakfast to help give him a jump start. Some kids need nourishment to help them get moving in the morning when they haven't eaten since the evening before.

• Let go. Some parents have discovered that until their youngster suffers the consequences of sleeping through the alarm, they simply won't make the effort to wake up on their own. Let your son know in advance that you are no longer willing to engage in power struggles with him in the morning, and that you will try once to wake him up and then he's on his own. Missing the bus or having to walk because you've left for work may be what it takes for him to start taking responsibility for waking up without relying on you.

While you can require a younger teen to shut off his computer and hand in his cell phone, at seventeen, your son is nearly an adult who may soon be out on his own. Help him move toward independence by taking responsibility for waking up, offering support but relinquishing control.

Do you have a question for the Parent Coach? Send it to [email protected] and you could be featured in an upcoming column.

Susan Stiffelman is the author of Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm and Connected. She is a family therapist, parent coach, and internationally recognized speaker on all subjects related to children, teens and parenting. To learn more, visit her Facebook page or sign up for her free newsletter.

Watch the video: ΑΘΛΗΤΙΣΜΟΣ ΟΧΙ ΒΙΑ ΡΑΤΣΙΣΜΟΣ (May 2022).