Waking up in the morning after being startled by the beeping sound of your loud and annoying alarm clock ringtone, you may have experienced a feeling of grogginess and lack of alertness. That feeling is called sleep inertia.
Sleep inertia is defined as a physiological state of impaired cognitive and sensory-motor performance that is present the instant you wake up. It is the transitional state between being asleep and being awake! It’s marked by impaired performance and a strong desire to return to sleep.
Although being able to wake up in the morning after a full night’s rest without needing an alarm is something almost everyone would prefer over blaring beeps, most people can’t just throw the alarm away and miss half a day’s work. Building good sleep habits and making sure you’re actually getting enough quality sleep are good ways to start fixing your circadian rhythm. Here’s how to wake up refreshed without feeling groggy in the morning.
Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene refers to habits shown to help encourage better rest. Practicing good sleep hygiene before going to bed is also important for decent shuteye. Having a well-balanced diet, staying hydrated, spending some time under the sun, sleeping in a cooler bedroom with a comfortable mattress and bedding, and exercising regularly can all help you sleep better. And on evenings, try to avoid drinks with caffeine and try doing a relaxing activity instead of using gadgets that emit blue light which also inhibits melatonin production, and don’t forget to keep bedrooms as dark as possible during rest to better simulate your body’s response to nighttime (which is to sleep).
Good Sleep Routine
If you find it impossible to wake up in the morning without an alarm or feel groggy after waking fairly often, take a look at how much sleep you’re actually getting. The quality and amount of sleep that you’re getting may lead to oversleeping problems, especially if you have an inconsistent routine. When experts say you should get seven to eight hours of sleep, they mean actual sleep, not just time spent in bed. If you tend to take a while to settle in and relax, then factor that into your allotted bedtime. Whether it’s one night or for several nights, by not getting enough quality sleep and not getting enough sleep, you create a sleep debt that needs to be repaid.
Sleeping at the wrong time that your body’s circadian rhythm or sleep-wake cycle may also cause problems because it confuses the body on when to wake up and when to sleep and you will end up feeling groggier.
Stop Pressing the Snooze Button
If you’re one of the many that can’t wake up on time without an alarm, it might surprise you to know that we all actually have an internal alarm of sorts. Our circadian rhythm signals to our bodies when it’s time to feel sleepy and drowsy and when it’s time to wake up.
The best way to support this natural sleep-wake cycle of the circadian rhythm is keeping a consistent regular bedtime and waketime. Waking up at different times on weekdays and weekends can quickly throw your body clock off and confuse your circadian rhythm. Without any consistency, your body may not know when to get up and when to go to sleep. So when your alarm starts blaring in the morning, you feel groggy, dazed, confused, and oftentimes grumpy.
So, alarm clocks aren’t all bad, it’s mostly how you manage your sleeping schedule, and for a lot of people, alarm clocks are very necessary to maintain a regular schedule.
This is where your snooze button becomes a problem. Going back to sleep for a quick nap sends your internal body clock mixed signals because all of the hormones that help you fall asleep mix with the hormones that help you wake up. Your body gets confused so when you wake up, you feel groggy and tired. And with each press of the snooze button, it gets worse and worse. So use your alarm clock to stick to a consistent and regular schedule, because this will help fix your body’s circadian rhythm.
Change Beeping Ringtone to a Melodic Ringtone
Melodic ringtones help you wake up easier, and it doesn’t startle and shock you as most beeping alarm ringtones do. It stimulates normal and gradual wakening, like how sunlight wakes you up normally.
Melodic music can be defined as a tune that’s easy to sing or hum along to. Melodic alarm ringtones, regardless of the type or genre, can lead to significantly reduced feelings of sleep inertia. Melodic songs seem to have an energizing effect and may warm our brains up more effectively rather than being shocked into action. So when you set your next alarm, try using melodic ringtones instead.
If your phone or alarm doesn’t have a pre-installed option for melodic ringtones, it might be a good time to try and download some for your phone’s alarm clock ringtones from sites online like All-ringtones.com, Mobile9, iTuneMachine, or Zedge, where you can download melodic ringtones. The people who used melodic ringtones as alarms reported that they felt more alert in the mornings and that they had faster and more accurate responses, compared to those who woke up to alarms that had harsher sounds.
If you regularly wake up every morning with grogginess and tiredness, it might be time to readjust your sleep schedule. Though it’s important to note that age, stress, health, and many other factors can influence the amount of sleep we need.
If you have a good and consistent sleep schedule and are still feeling groggy, there might be other factors that are affecting your sleep. Things like sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and insomnia can have significant effects on how well-rested you feel during the day, and often go undiagnosed, so it’s best to consult with a doctor when it comes to these cases.