Alarm clocks are ubiquitous in most bedrooms, but do they really aid in better sleep? Let’s take a look at the past of alarm clocks and see what we can learn…
Alarm clocks are ubiquitous in most bedrooms, but do they really aid in better sleep? Let’s take a look at the past of alarm clocks and see what experts have to say about their role in getting a good night’s sleep.
The History of Alarm Clocks
People have used alarm clocks to wake up even before clocks were invented. The first signal to rising and shine came from the morning light, and roosters have most likely been crowing sleepers awake for millennia.
Plato is said to have gotten up early one morning with a clever system that used draining water to signal a whistle as the contraption filled, allegedly inspiring the invention of later mechanical timekeepers. For millennia, church bells have awakened communities for morning services, and accounts of chiming clock towers in Europe built to remind citizens of the time can be found in the 1300s.
Later, in the 18th century, booming industrial factories relied on a punctual workforce and would use morning whistles to wake up local employees. Some cities and businesses have used “knocker-ups,” or people who went door to door delivering wake-up calls.
Despite the fact that alarm clocks have been around since the 1500s, it wasn’t until the 1870s that the mechanical wind-up version became common in private homes. With the addition of features such as radio receivers, cuckoos, snooze keys, and more, this fixture cemented its place in the bedroom. Light-based alarm clocks, clocks that run around the room, and even phone apps are all part of the modern alarm clock’s evolution.
With work, education, and other commitments, most of us need to get up at a certain time every day. As a result, many people depend on alarm clocks to begin their days. But, are they just helping us, or is our dependence on alarm clocks really harming us?
How Morning Alarms Will Assist Us
Alarm clocks have been used for decades to solve a real problem: making sure we get up on time. Their value is undeniable, and many of us would struggle to get to work every day if we didn’t have one.
Our busy schedules, as well as external influences such as cell phones, televisions, tablets, streetlights, neighbourhood noises, and a variety of other stimuli, can disrupt our sleep, causing our bodies to demand more sleep and leaving us drowsy and exhausted when we wake up.
Here’s a rundown on how best sounding clock radio can help us:
Keeping to Society’s Timetable
All of us would oversleep and be late for work if we didn’t have alarm clocks. As appealing as sleeping in sounds, we also have to face the harsh reality of being on time. If you want more sleep or not, deciding on a certain time to be there can be necessary for business and schools to run smoothly.
Bringing Sleep Schedules Back to Normal
Alarm clocks will also help you stick to a normal sleep schedule. Our internal biological clocks benefit from waking up at the same time every day. Using an alarm clock will help you maintain a regular schedule and control your sleep habits.
Alarm Clocks’ Possible Disadvantages
Alarm clocks, on the other hand, aren’t always beneficial; in fact, they can be detrimental to overall health and even sleep quality.
Insomnia can be caused by sleep anxiety or worrying about not falling asleep. And alarm clocks are right there to help, counting down the minutes before it’s time to wake up. To stop being tempted to watch the minutes tick by, most sleep experts recommend covering clock faces or turning them away from the bed.
Most people’s levels of the stress hormone cortisol normally increase shortly after they wake up. Although no studies have shown that alarms increase cortisol levels, being shaken awake by a loud alarm first thing in the morning does not make it any easier.
Owing to their adrenaline-spiking jolt, which can stimulate the flight-or-fight response and accelerate heart rate and blood pressure, researchers are also looking into links between heart attacks and alarm clocks.
A substantial investigation showed that two-thirds of adults sleep about an hour longer on weekends than on weekdays, and that, though wake-up times remain consistent, we are going to bed later. According to researchers, this disrupts our internal biological clocks, disrupting sleep and dramatically raising the risk of weight gain and obesity.
You will feel more rested if you follow good sleeping habits.
Is there a better way to start the day? Many people would prefer the option to wake up after a good night’s sleep without the use of an alarm clock to blaring beeps.
However, most of us are unable to simply throw the alarm clock in the garbage and inform the boss that we will be in once we wake up. However, developing healthy sleep patterns and ensuring that you get enough sleep are effective ways to start fixing your internal clock.
- Maintain a regular sleeping schedule
The word “sleep hygiene” refers to practices that have been shown to assist in better sleep. This includes the following:
- Consuming a well-balanced, nutrient-dense diet and plenty of plain water during the day.
- Caffeine and other stimulants should be avoided throughout the evening.
- Having some sun and exercising on a daily basis (for Vitamin D).
- Sleeping in a space with a cooler temperature and a good mattress and bedding.
Before bed, limit the use of devices such as smartphones and televisions, and keep bedrooms as dark as possible.
- Allow yourself plenty of time to get ready for bed.
Take a look at how much sleep you’re having if you can’t get out of bed without an alarm clock or if you’re groggy after waking up frequently.
When sleep experts suggest seven to eight hours of sleep, they are referring to real sleep, not just time spent in bed. If you have a tendency to take a long time to settle in and relax, a factor that into your bedtime schedule.
If it takes you 30 minutes to get into the zone and you need 7.5 hours to feel your best, try to go to bed at least eight hours before you need to get up. Turning in with plenty of time to spare will also help you sleep better by preventing you from counting down the minutes before your alarm goes off.
If you have trouble falling asleep or waking up in the middle of the night, consider enforcing earlier cut-off times for things like caffeine and electronics, or incorporate stress-relieving activities like deep breathing or stretching before bed.
- Stick to a regular schedule and avoid snoozing.
If you’re one of the many people who can’t get out of bed without using an alarm clock, you might be surprised to learn that we all have an internal alarm system. Researchers discovered biological mechanisms that tell the body when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake up.
Maintaining a daily bedtime and wake time is the best way to sustain this natural routine. For example, people who keep a daily schedule will find that they wake up when their alarm goes off.
However, ageing, changing schedules, and travel are all factors that can throw our internal clocks off. Alarm clocks aren’t all evil, and for many people, they’re important for keeping a daily schedule.
Other sleep experts agree, claiming that pressing the snooze button sets you up for groggier mornings and can even make you feel like you had a bad night’s sleep. Stick to a daily routine for your alarm clock, as this will support your body’s internal clock the most.
- Experiment with a Smarter Alarm
A few companies and software developers have created versions of morning wakeup calls that are gentler. You might find that one of these solutions helps you wake up on time without the headache-inducing bleating of a conventional clock, from rousing you with bright light or vibrations to striving for a more optimal wakeup time in your sleep cycle.
Several free or low-cost apps are available in both the Android and iOS app stores, and famous wake-up alarm clocks are made by Philips and Lumie.
If you do need an alarm clock, Dr Richard Shane recommends the following tips to help you sleep better:
- To help you let go of staring at the clock, turn the face away from you.
- A clock with blue numbers is superior to a clock with red numbers.
- To avoid jarring yourself up, use an app or an alarm with calming sounds to wake up.
- Switch off your phone and set it to aeroplane mode.
The Sleep Shepherd Blue, a wearable smart alarm, is designed to help people sleep better by tracking biofeedback and brain waves, triggering relaxation with binaural beats, and gently waking you up at the right time.
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