We know now that it’s time to stop pressing the snooze button on your alarm — seriously, stop doing it — but did you know that the sound that wakes you up in the morning can have a huge impact on the start of your day? Even more so, that choosing the right sound to wake up to can actually reduce sleep inertia.
Sleep inertia is a physiological phenomenon in which you wake up with feelings of grogginess, as well as a lack of alertness. Even the astronauts at NASA reported experiencing the same too, so know you’re not alone.
A study out of RMIT University has confirmed how important your morning alarm sound really is. The analysis revealed that “a sound which is ranked as melodic by participants shows a significant relationship to reports of reductions in perceived sleep inertia.”
You have to make sure it’s melodic though. A second study carried out by the same team compared melodic with rhythmic, and the former found that there were “significantly decreased attentional lapses, false starts and a significantly improved psychomotor vigilance test” than the others.
If you’re wondering what “melodic” music is defined as, according to the team in a piece for The Conversation, it’s a tune that’s “easy to sing or hum along to.” It could be your favourite song, or a mood-boosing instrumental tune. Basically anything but the dreaded drone tone. You know the one.
Curious about the impact of emergency alarms? We’ve all bolted awake from those high-pitched fire alarms before, but it turns out that lower-pitched sounds are more effective — and that includes the sound of a human voice. The RMIT team suggests this may be because of how sound is processed in the inner ear and then in the brain — according to them, music activates certain areas of the brain that control attention.
So if you’re sick of the blaring noise that jerks you out of your well-deserved sleep, maybe try one of your favourite songs. Me? I’ll be waking up to Wildest Dreams by Taylor Swift tomorrow.