Are you one of those people who just can’t seem to get going when you first wake up? According to a group of Australian researchers, your morning malaise may be related to the type of alarm you’re using. In fact, their research indicates that if you’re using a more jarring, harsh tone to wake yourself, it may actually work against you, leaving you feeling groggy. A more melodic alarm, however, may help you feel more alert.
What the study found The study, which was published in the journal PLoS One, involved 50 people. Each person was given a questionnaire that they could complete anonymously at home. The respondents were asked about the type of sound they preferred to wake with, how they felt about that sound and how alert or groggy they felt after waking up.
Lead author Stuart McFarlane, a doctoral researcher at RMIT University, said his team found that alarm sounds people deemed to be “melodic” were linked with people feeling like they had an easier time becoming awake and alert.
McFarlane explained that what makes a tone be perceived as melodic is the presence of at least two notes, time and the sequence in which the notes are sounded in relation to each other. A melody is perceived as an “articulate entity or musical phrase,” he said. An example he gave of a melodic alarm tone is the introduction to Madonna’s song “Borderline.” This is in contrast to an alarm that repeats a single note, like a traditional alarm clock or an alarm that’s tuned into a talk radio station.
McFarlane theorised that perhaps the rise and fall of notes in a more melodic alarm helps to focus our brain’s attention. A more monotonous “beep, beep, beep” alarm might raise anxiety and promote confusion. What we can take away from this study McFarlane said: “If we can counteract the symptoms of sleep inertia by any measure through the alarm sounds we use, it would be a great benefit to many.”
He added that: “Sleep inertia is the grogginess that we tend to feel when waking up. It can temporarily impair our ability to think, remember and react.”
While it normally lasts about 30 minutes Trusted Source, it’s sometimes been reported to last as long as 2 to 4 hours, noted McFarlane. Research dealing with sleep inertia has important implications for Read more