Changing your alarm sound could help you feel less tired in the morning

Jennifer Savin
Photo credit: Pitak Areekul - Getty Images

From Cosmopolitan

If, like many, you rely on the sound of your phone jingle-jangling to wake up, there could be a super simple way to hack your morning routine and feel more refreshed. Researchers have found that switching your alarm tone to a more melodic sound could help to fend off grogginess. After specific tracks to download? They've recommended those too.

According to Stuart McFarlane, the study's lead and a doctoral researcher at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, although it's common knowledge that most of us use an audible alarm to wake up, little research has been done into how they can affect the way you feel after you're awake.

In order to get the results, McFarlane's team asked 50 participants (which, it's worth noting, is not a huge amount of people), to record the type of sound they used to wake up, along with their "grogginess and alertness levels".

The results showed that more melodic alarm clock sounds were associated with lower levels of grogginess (also known as "sleep inertia", if you want to sound brainy), compared to sounds rated as 'unmelodic', 'somewhat unmelodic', 'neither unmelodic nor melodic', and 'very melodic'.

Photo credit: Amiee O'mahony / EyeEm

“We think that a harsh ‘beep beep beep’ might work to disrupt or confuse our brain activity when waking, while a more melodic sound like the Beach Boys ‘Good Vibrations’ or The Cure’s ‘Close to Me’ may help us transition to a waking state in a more effective way,” said the study's co-author Adrian Dyer. Cue a spike in Beach Boys downloads and The Cure scoring a very belated number one with that song, then (fun fact: it only reached a chart peak of 24 in the UK).

Wondering why fending off grogginess matters so much in the first place? “People need to be aware of sleep inertia’s negative effects on human performance after waking up. The grogginess we may feel during this phase typically lasts for up to 30 minutes, however, periods from 2 to 4 hours have also been reported,” McFarlane told PsyPost. Basically meaning, it can make you feel slow and sluggish for most of your morning, impacting on productivity.

So, there you have it. Switch your alarm clock to a classic song by The Cure and reap the benefits.

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