This is a popular subject at the moment at various sites I visit. Lifehacker has posted an article called “Alarm Clock Hacks help you wake up better“.
“Put one alarm clock on your night stand, the other across the room. Set the clocks to be as close to the same time as possible… I set … one to use the radio, and make sure it is loud enough to wake me up, but not too loud…”
The idea is that one goes off and you wake out of your slumber gently because of the radio, then the second one goes off with a horrible buzzing noise and you have to stumble across the room to switch it off and by the time you’ve figure out how to do that you’re awake. This has never worked for me, I either sleep through the radio and get frightened to death when the buzzer goes off or get woken up by the radio, turn the second alarm off before it has a chance to scare me into being awake and then go back to bed thus defeating the object of the exercise.
Vincent Cheung on the other hand puts a different slant on this in his blog post entitled “Alarm clocks are bad. How to wake up better“. He talks about your sleep cycles and that it’s not important how you wake up really but when you wake up. You could have 10 hours sleep but if you are awoken in a deep sleep period you’ll feel rubbish, however 4 hours sleep and waking in a light sleep period you’d feel great.
The idea is simple and similar to the first method mentioned above with one cruicial difference. Set the alarms apart at an interval that is a multiple of 30.
Cheung states (and there’s plenty of scientific bods that agree) we sleep in approximately 90 minute cycles and interrupting the deep-sleep cycle is what causes the problems.
Set your radio alarm say 30 minutes before you want to get up, but set it very quietly. If you’re in a light-sleep phase you’ll wake up straight away, in a deep-sleep phase you’ll be either pulled out of it slowly or hopefully in a light-sleep-phase when the main alarm does its beepy thing.
I’ve semi-tried this in the past and found it to be a better method than getting jarred awake by an alarm clock that sounds like a 747 taking off. Why aren’t I doing it now?
Can’t figure out how to set the wake-up alarm on my new Hi-Fi