Waking up to the blaring noise that is our alarm clock is admittedly the worse. Even if you choose your favourite song as your alarm tone for a bright and cheerful morning, you’ll just end up despising that song.
Alarms weren’t made to be our friend. It’s a technology and tool that ensures that we wake up on time. However, it can disrupt our sleep at its most crucial phase leaving us feeling groggy and ironically, tired and sleepy.
Waking up more naturally could have us feeling more alert, energised, and focused because these are the times where our bodies are in sync with its circadian rhythm, the natural sleep/wake cycle more commonly known as body clock.
If you want to be able to wake up naturally and reap its wonderful benefits, here are a few tips and tricks that you can follow:
Follow a sleep schedule
Consistency is key when it comes to waking up without an alarm so a sleep schedule is a must! You can begin by determining how many hours of sleep you personally need. A healthy amount for the average adult ranges between seven to nine hours. If you notice from past experiences that you still feel unproductive and continue to depend on caffeine with just seven hours, this might hint that you need to add more hours to your schedule.
From there, you can either determine the time you need to be awake and work backwards or know the time that you want to sleep and compute forwards. To make things easier, use a sleep calculator to know what time to sleep and to wake up.
Once you’ve determined your ideal sleep schedule, you have to slowly transition towards it. Emphasis on slowly. Making a rapid and substantial change would be harder for your body so there’s no need to rush the process.
For example, you usually hit the hay at around 10pm but your sleep schedule says that 9pm would give you the hours of sleep that you need. To sync with the set schedule, you can start by moving your snooze time in small increments (around 15 minutes) every week until it perfectly lines up with your preferred schedule.
We can’t let go of alarms just yet. To wake up in line with your sleep schedule, you might need help from your alarm clock for a few days or weeks during the transition phase. Once the body clock has been trained, waking up at the right time should happen naturally.
Create a conducive sleeping (and waking) environment
Make sure that before you sleep the area that surrounds you is as comfortable as possible. Set the right temperature. Dim the lights. If you share the bed, pick a mattress that isolates motion. Doing all of these steps and precautions will ensure that nothing will disrupt your sleep because these inconveniences will not only affect your sleep quality but also the difficulty of waking up the next day.
As for getting up, having a window or two that allows sunlight to enter the room could be helpful in waking up without an alarm. The light, along with your circadian rhythm, could collaborate to nudge you to a waking state.
Have a nighttime ritual
Hearing the word ritual might scare some people off thinking that it has to be an elaborate activity when in fact, a ritual’s complexity is completely up to you. You can choose to read, stretch, or meditate but it could be as simple as dimming your lights and turning off your electronics.
Having a digital curfew is a helpful step in the ritual because the use of electronics inhibit the release of the melatonin, the hormone that makes you feel sleepy. Additionally, using gadgets before bed delays the start of REM sleep shortening its total duration during our rest. This is significant because messing with REM sleep compromises our alertness once we’re awake.
All of these, big or small, are impactful because when you repeatedly do something before you sleep, those habitual actions will serve as a signal to the body to prepare for your slumber ahead.
From its alertness benefits alone, getting out of bed without an alarm is a must-try. Although it takes commitment, it creates good habits that are helpful to our overall health and productivity.