Category Archives: How to Wake Up

Rise and Shine with a Wake-Up Light!

How Does Sunlight Impact Your Sleep Schedule?

Many people experience difficulty waking up in the morning or persistent grogginess after getting out of bed. Part of the problem has to do with sunlight, which signals important changes in our bodies. As sunlight wanes in the afternoon, your body releases a hormone called melatonin, which gets you ready for sleep and is important for regulating your sleep-wake cycle. In the morning, increasing levels of sunlight cause your body to reduce the levels of melatonin and prepare for the day. While a prehistoric human may have slept according to the presence of the sun, these days most people have a much more complicated sleep schedule. Recent scientific research has shown that there may be a better way to get out of bed rather than relying on your blaring, predawn alarm clock, which may or may not be getting the job done.

The old school alarm clock makes waking up a pain.

Old school alarm clocks make waking up a pain.

Using a Wake-Up Light

A wake-up light uses light to simulate the experience of waking up with the sun, which our bodies are programmed to do well. While morning grogginess often comes after a short or bad night’s sleep, such grogginess can also result from waking up abruptly, especially if one was in a deep phase of sleep. Unlike a regular alarm clock, a light alarm clock will gradually increase its brightness over a period of 30 minutes, so that your body is ready to wake up when it is time for you to get out of bed.

Why You Should Throw Out Your Old Alarm Clock

Scientific research has shown that using a wake-up light reduces feelings of sleep inertia (the sense of grogginess immediately after waking up). Recent research has even shown that using a natural light alarm clock can significantly improve mood and well-being. Waking up right is an integral part of getting a good night’s sleep. A regular alarm clock doesn’t harness the natural waking power of light and wakes you up too abruptly. A wake-up light is different. While most of us don’t want to wake up with the actual sun, a light alarm clock can simulate this experience and help you wake up feeling ready and refreshed.

Do you have trouble getting out of the bed in the morning? Do you regularly set multiple alarms just to be sure you really wake up? How many times have you googled ‘how to get out of bed faster’? Maybe it’s time for you to try waking up with a light alarm clock!

The Best iPhone Apps for Falling Asleep and Waking Up

Falling asleep can be hard; waking up can be harder. Here are the best IOS apps for falling asleep and waking up- brought to you by SleepBetterShop.

Apps for Falling Asleep

White Noise AppWhite Noise Apps: In layman’s terms, white noise is specific type of noise used to mask background sounds. White noise apps can be useful in preventing outside sounds that distract you from falling asleep or wake you up during sleep. Try White Noise/White Noise Lite. Recommended by Dr. Oz, it features ambient sounds such as “Ocean Waves”, “Brown Noise”, as well as “Stream Water”, and the ever-popular “Air Conditioner.”

Sleep & BrainwavesBrainwave Entrainment Apps: The theory behind brain entrainment music is that certain aural frequencies can be created and optimized to encourage the brain to fall into deep meditation or sleep. BrainWave by Banzai Labs is a popular Binaural Brainwave Entrainment app with over 30 ambient sounds and alarms. Brainwave is great for more than just sleep- as it also has tones for concentration, energy, and meditation.

Sleep & Relaxation AppRelaxation Technique Apps: If anxiety is all too eager to pull an all-nighter with you, then apps aimed at reducing stress before bedtime will help you falling asleep faster. Relax & Rest Guided Meditations features deep breathing techniques, guided meditations, and music relaxation to help you de-stress and fall asleep fast. A great runner up is Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson, mainly because he sounds like Sean Connery.

Apps for Waking Up

Sleep Apps that Gradually Wake You UpAlarm Apps to Gradually Wake You Up: Waking up to a blaring alarm clock is unpleasant and, with the right app, completely unnecessary. ZenAwake is a great alarm app that has a variety of alarms that start out calm and soothing, and over the course of roughly 10 minutes slowly get louder and more energetic. Great for those who are sensitive to alarms, but more sensitive to being jolted awake in the morning.

sleep-cycleAlarm Apps that Follow Your Sleep Cycle: Waking up in the middle of deep sleep can leave you disoriented and unhappy. Luckily new apps on the market can be programmed to only wake you up at your lightest sleep phase. This reduces that “groggy” feeling one gets after waking up. SleepCycle– Sleep Cycle is a “bio-alarm” that uses the accelerometer in IOS devices to monitor sleep movements such as rolling around in order to determine which sleep phase the sleeper is in. In a set frame around when you want to wake up, it determines when you are in your lightest sleep phase and wakes you up.

wake&shakeExtreme Alarm Apps to Wake You Up: Sometimes only the big guns will do. Big guns like canons going on off right around your bed. If you need extreme sounds in the morning, check out Wake N Shake. This merciless alarm clock has no snooze button, and requires you to vigorously shake it to stop the blaring alarm. It comes with volume controls, variable alarm sounds and a shuffle sounds option to keep you on your toes, but one thing you will no get is mercy.

That’s our roundup of apps for falling asleep and waking up. Check them out and take control of your sleep cycle!

How to Wake Up Refreshed (Even if You are a Natural Night Owl)

We have all been there. Laying in bed. Our pillow is calling us, calling to us that it is just the right temperature for once, and it wants to show its love for us with the perfect amount of softness. And sure, the alarm is blaring, but it can be snoozed for just twenty more minutes.

If you haven’t ever felt like this, lucky you. Most people, however, tend to feel pretty crappy in the morning. Even with a good night’s sleep (and that itself can be hard to come by), sometimes you cannot avoid feeling downright sleepy. Here are some tips to help you feel refreshed no matter when you want to wake up.

Glass of Water

Drink Water: Dehydration makes you sleepy, and chances are when you wake up your body is a dehydrated after 7+ hours without water. So, before you reach for the coffee, milk, or juice, drink an 8oz glass of water to wet your whistle. You will be surprised at the difference this makes.

Oil it Up: Some alarm clocks now have sophisticated aromatherapy mechanisms, but really all you need is a bright citrus, jasmine, or peppermint smells, which can be gotten through essential oils. Place a bottle of essential oil by your bed. The next morning, when you wake up put some on your hands, temples, or right underneath your nose. If you think the smell might disturb your neighbors, consider making tea with these flavors and scents.

alarm clock

Relocate Your Alarm Clock: The least effective spot for your alarm clock is next to your bed. Instead, move your alarm clock across the room from where you sleep so that to turn it off you have to get up. Even better, get a rolling alarm clock so you have to chase it around. The Tocky alarm clock will jump and roll around the room, and can be personalized with your own music. It’s a great alarm clock for ditching your snooze button addiction.

Set Multiple Alarm Clocks: Sometimes one is not enough. If one alarm just isn’t enough, set two. If that isn’t enough bring out the big guns: set them apart both in time and location. 

Create and Follow a Schedule: Create a daily awakening ritual. Your alarm clock can only do so much of the work. Since your body’s clock follows a circadian rhythm, if your rhythm is off your sleep cycle will follow it. Make yourself go to sleep and wake-up on schedule and stick to it. Once you wake up, follow a set agenda of things you do to get ready. For the first week or so you may find yourself in bed and over energized, and drowsy when you wake up, but the dividends pay off. Once you orient your body to a natural activity schedule, and you may find yourself relying less and less on caffeine, alarm clocks, and other forms of external stimulation.

Place a huge bird feeder outside your window: Neighborhood birds and squirrels will flock there in the morning, like a natural alarm clock. You could also get a rooster, but your entire block will hate you.

Take a Shower: A quick shower as soon as you get out of bed will cause your body to encounter variable temperature conditions, which will increase circulation throughout your body and wake it up. Alternatively, splash cold water on your face, as that does essentially the same thing.

Exercise for Better Sleep

Exercise: Get your blood moving in the morning through exercise.You do not need a full gym regime (though that is probably the most effective). Even doing a few jumping jacks right after your turn off your alarm will wake your body up and get those muscles out of their stupor.

Stimulate your Brain: If physical exercise isn’t your thing, exercise your brain. Play Sudoku, try the crossword, or read a newspaper to get your brain awake. While morning talk shows might entertain you, they won’t wake you up as well as more active engagements.

Direct Sunlight: Natural light is nature’s most effective wake up call. Sunlight causes the body to release wake-up hormones that are very effective for telling your body to wake up. Brighten your bedroom and allow in natural light in each morning. Or, soak in the Vitamin D outside a coffee or a tea cafe, and you should be jumping with liveliness by the time you get the office.

Breakfast for Better Sleep

Have Breakfast: They do not call it the most important meal of the day for nothing. Mastication and digestion force the body to wake-up, making it harder to fall back asleep. Moreover, try to wake up your senses by eating stimulating foods like citrus fruits and caffeinated tea or coffee.

Ditch the extra layers: The bed is a warm, comfortable, and soothing place. Unfortunately, this means that sometimes we need that chill factor to shake off that comfy feeling. It you can, try leaving some layers off (within reason) until you are fully awake.

Finally… Make Mornings A Time to Look Forward To: The above suggestions will make it easier for you to wake up in the morning, but the root cause of most morning drowsiness is dread of waking up. For most of us, getting up means that time before going to work, school, or other daily chores. If your morning is something you do not look forward too, make it worth looking forward to. Make it the time you get to check your emails, play the crossword, read your favorite book, eat a delicious breakfast with your loved ones, listen to music, or exercise. Once you start looking forward to what you get to do after your wake up, not only will you wake up easier, but happier too. This might be the hardest step, but it is worth your while.

Each of these tips will help you wake yourself up, and the more you do the more refreshed you will feel upon awakening. Try them and see!