Sunday, February 3, 2013

Alarm Clock Myth - How to wake up early

Everyone wants to wake up early, and make good use of those extra early morning hours. But we fail all the time, even if we succeed, its one-off times.

I thought its a good opportunity to seize and fix this problem with the existing alarm clocks. I started exploring the existing solutions out there and found there are quite many interesting stuff:

  • A whole breed of biologically sync'd clocks who wake you up when you are least in sleep
  • Hard to snooze alarm clocks which ask you to solve a difficult puzzle to snooze an annoying alarm tone
  • Motivational messages to wake you up

I gave all the existing products a lot of thought and why they don't quite work. Here is my conclusion:
People don't really understand the real purpose of alarm clocks. 
Here's the deal: Alarm clocks are not meant to wake you up. Yes, you read it right.

Alarm clocks really are the mission-control, last resort plan to wake you up at the deadline time.
You are supposed to get up on your own, through your own magical body clock. How many times have this happened that you woke up half an hour before you were supposed to, you looked up your clock, and went back to sleep? If you answer is: ''Every Effing Morning'', then you sir are a victim of Alarm Clock Myth.

So, i followed the following regime:

  1. Set my normal alarm clock to a time which is the drop-dead time i must get up at, which in my case is 6:30 AM.
  2. As soon as I open my eyes in the morning to grab the clock to see the time, instead i just get up and turn off the alarm proactively. Believe me, you don't really need those extra minutes to sleep, you are fine to start the day.
  3. If I did't get up on my own, the alarm clock would alarm me at the deadline time which is 6:30 AM at which time I get up.
This has worked out for me beautifully and i am in my best body clock schedule. Alarm clocks don't irritate me every morning, instead I beat them every morning.

It takes some time to get into this regime, but believe me its more amazing to get up on your own than getting woken up by an annoying alarm clock.

Cheers, Happy Mornings!


  1. Fabulous insight.


    Waking up on your own meaning you wake up in the sleep rythm where you are least tired i guess.

    Going back to sleep and waiting for the alarm clock will wake you up when you are not least tired.
    Meaning you feel like you need more sleep, and thinking it would be impossible to wake up earlier than your alarm time.
    Sort of a vicious circle.

    A small eye opener, I'll give it a try :)

    kr. ld

  2. but those extra 10 minutes that you get to sleep...

  3. Once my alarm clock didn't work, woke up 3 hours later than I wanted, there was no "as soon as I open my eyes" hours earlier.

  4. Great article, I'm gonna try that this week!

  5. If you want to wake up early, just do it. Or buy a cat and show it when you would like to wake up and it will always wake you up at same time +/- 10-15 minutes. If you can't afford cat, just fix your brain, without trying to blog-post some nearly nonsense things. Motivate yourself and you're done, without a need of alarm clocks.

  6. What if I wake up in 4 am and my alarm clock is set to 8 ? Should I get out of bed so early?

  7. I read up on the 90-minute sleep cycle idea and realized it worked for me. I was good with 6 hours and 7.5, but in-between was bad. So I go to sleep in time that I will get 6 or 7.5 hours of sleep before the time I should get up (usually 6 during the week and 7.5 on the weekends). Like you, I set my alarm clock for my drop-dead time which, also like you, is 6:30 a.m. I routinely start my day by going into my phone to turn off the alarm that has yet to sound.

  8. A wake-up light might be what you want. It is specifically designed to give you a soft wake up with the alarm going off as a last resort. (And even when the alarm does go off it starts out quietly and gradually raises the volume)

    Or possibly this app: which tries to wake you up when not in REM sleep (so not necessarily at the deadline, but before if that would make more sense)

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