Alarm clocks are common in most bedrooms, but do they actually help you sleep better? Let’s take a look back into alarm clock history to see what we can learn…
Alarm clocks are common in most bedrooms, but do they actually help you sleep better? Let’s look back at the history of alarm clocks and what experts have to say about their importance in getting a good night’s sleep.
Alarm Clocks in History
Even before clocks were invented, people used alarm clocks to wake up. The morning light was the first signal to get up and shine, and roosters have most likely been crowing sleepers up for millennia.
Plato is supposed to have invented a smart mechanism that employed draining water to signal a whistle when the contraption filled, purportedly sparking the construction of later mechanical timekeepers. Church bells have awoken communities for millennia, and tales of chiming clock towers intended to remind inhabitants of the time date back to the 1300s in Europe.
Later, in the 18th century, burgeoning industrial firms relied on a punctual workforce, and morning whistles were used to wake up local workers. Knocker-ups, or workers who went door to door providing wake-up calls, have been utilized by some cities and businesses.
Despite the fact that alarm clocks have been present since the 1500s, the mechanical wind-up form did not become popular in private residences until the 1870s. This fixture established its spot in the bedroom with features like radio receivers, cuckoos, snooze keys, and more. The modern alarm clock has evolved to include light-based alarm clocks, clocks that run around the room, and even phone apps.
Most of us have to get up at a set hour every day due to employment, education, and other obligations. As a result, a large number of people rely on alarm clocks to start their days. But, are they merely assisting us, or is our reliance on alarm clocks actually causing us harm?
How Morning Alarms Can Help Us:
For decades, alarm clocks have been used to tackle a real problem: ensuring that we wake up on time. Their importance cannot be overstated, and many of us would find it difficult to get to work every day if we didn’t have one.
Cell phones, televisions, iPads, streetlights, neighbourhood noises, and a number of other stimuli can disrupt our sleep, causing our bodies to need more sleep and leaving us groggy and fatigued when we wake up.
Here’s how the best-sounding clock radio can assist us:
Observing Society’s Schedule
If we didn’t have alarm clocks, we’d all oversleep and be late for work. We must face the unpleasant reality of being on time, as appealing as sleeping in seems. Whether you want extra sleep or not, settling on a specific time to arrive is sometimes vital for businesses and institutions to run efficiently.
Getting Sleep Schedules Back on Track
Alarm clocks can also assist you in maintaining a regular sleep routine. The benefits of waking up at the same time every day are beneficial to our internal biological clocks. Using an alarm clock will assist you in keeping a consistent schedule and controlling your sleeping patterns.
The Potential Drawbacks of Alarm Clocks
Alarm clocks, on the other hand, aren’t always helpful; in fact, they might be harmful to one’s overall health and sleep quality.
Oversleeping due to anxiety
Sleep anxiety or the fear of not falling asleep can induce insomnia. Alarm clocks are on hand to assist, counting down the minutes until it’s time to get up. Most sleep specialists recommend covering clock faces or turning them away from the bed to avoid being enticed to watch the minutes tick by.
The stress hormone cortisol rises in the majority of people shortly after they wake up. Although no studies have demonstrated that alarms raise cortisol levels, being jolted awake first thing in the morning by a loud alarm does not make it any easier.
Researchers are looking at ties between heart attacks and alarm clocks because of their adrenaline-spiking jolt, which can increase the flight-or-fight reaction and accelerate heart rate and blood pressure.
According to a comprehensive study, two-thirds of Americans sleep around an hour longer on weekends than on weekdays, and we are going to bed later, even while our wake-up times stay similar. Researchers claim that this throws off our internal biological clocks, interrupting sleep and drastically increasing the risk of weight gain and obesity.
If you have decent sleeping patterns, you will feel more refreshed.
Is there a better way to begin the day than this? Many people would prefer not to wake up to deafening beeps if they could wake up after a full night’s sleep without using an alarm clock.
Most of us, on the other hand, are unable to just toss the alarm clock in the trash and inform the employer that we will be in when we get up. Developing healthy sleep habits and getting adequate sleep, on the other hand, are efficient ways to start resetting your internal clock.
- Maintain a consistent sleeping pattern.
The term “sleep hygiene” refers to habits that have been found to help people sleep better. The following are examples of this:
- During the day, eat a well-balanced, nutrient-dense food and drink lots of plain water.
- Throughout the evening, caffeine and other stimulants should be avoided.
- Getting some sun and exercising on a regular basis are two of the most important things you can do for your health (for Vitamin D).
- Sleeping in a cooler environment with a comfortable mattress and linens.
Limit the use of technologies like smartphones and televisions before bedtime, and keep bedrooms as dark as possible.
- Make sure you give yourself enough of time to prepare for bed:
If you can’t get out of bed without an alarm clock or if you’re drowsy after waking up regularly, take a look at how much sleep you’re getting.
When sleep experts recommend seven to eight hours of sleep, they’re talking about actual sleep, not just time in bed. Consider incorporating this into your night routine if you have a tendency to take a long time to settle in and rest.
If you require 7.5 hours to feel your best and it takes you 30 minutes to get into the zone, try to go to bed as least eight hours before you need to get up. You’ll sleep better if you go to bed with plenty of time to spare since you won’t be counting down the minutes until your alarm goes off.
Consider enforcing earlier cut-off times for things like caffeine and electronics, or incorporate stress-relieving activities like deep breathing or stretching before bed if you have difficulties falling asleep or waking up in the middle of the night.
- Avoid dozing and stick to a regular routine:
You might be startled to find that we all have an internal alarm system if you’re one of the many people who can’t get out of bed without utilizsing an alarm clock. Biological mechanisms that notify the body when it’s time to sleep and when it’s time to wake up have been found by researchers.
The easiest method to keep this natural schedule is to stick to a daily bedtime and waking time. People who follow a regular schedule, for example, will discover that they wake up when their alarm goes off.
Aging, shifting schedules, and travel, on the other hand, can all throw our internal clocks off. Alarm clocks aren’t all bad, and many people rely on them to keep track of their daily schedules.
Other sleep experts agree, suggesting that using the snooze button sets you up for groggier mornings and even makes you feel like you didn’t get enough sleep the night before. Stick to a daily alarm clock schedule, as this will best support your body’s internal clock.
- Play around with a Smarter Alarm.
Morning wakeup calls that are kinder have been developed by a few companies and software developers. From waking you with bright light or vibrations to trying for a more appropriate wakeup time in your sleep cycle, you could discover that one of these options helps you wake up on time without the headache-inducing bleating of a traditional clock.
Several free or low-cost apps are available in both the Android and iOS app stores, and Philips and Lumie make well-known wake-up alarm clocks.
Dr. Richard Shane suggests the following methods to help you sleep better if you do require an alarm clock:
- Turn the clock’s face away from you to help you stop looking at it.
- A clock with blue numerals is preferable to one with red numerals.
- Use an app or an alarm with peaceful sounds to avoid startling yourself awake.
- Turn your phone off and put it in Airplane mode.
The Sleep Shepherd Blue is a wearable smart alarm that tracks biofeedback and brain waves, triggers relaxation with binaural beats, and gently wakes you up at the perfect time to help you sleep better.