A new study conducted by RMIT University in Melbourne has discovered that pleasant ‘melodic’ alarms will actually improve how alert you feel in the morning, while those harsh “beep, beep” noises will make you feel foggier, clumsy and less alert.
The study had 50 participants log their alarm sounds and rate their level of morning alertness via an online survey, and found that those who woke to soothing songs such as Good Vibrations by the Beach Boys or Close To Me by The Cure experienced an easier transition from sleep state to wakefulness.
Lead author, RMIT doctoral researcher Stuart McFarlane, said morning grogginess – or sleep inertia – was a serious problem in our 24-hour world.
“If you don't wake properly, your work performance can be degraded for periods up to four hours, and that has been linked to major accidents,” McFarlane said.
“You would assume that a startling ‘beep beep beep’ alarm would improve alertness, but our data revealed that melodic alarms may be the key element. This was unexpected.”
“Although more research is needed to better understand the precise combination of melody and rhythm that might work best, considering that most people use alarms to wake up, the sound you choose may have important ramifications.”
“This is particularly important for people who might work in dangerous situations shortly after waking, like firefighters or pilots, but also for anyone who has to be rapidly alert, such as someone driving to hospital in an emergency.”
So, if you struggle to wake up in the morning, it might be worth jumping into your phone’s setting and tweaking the alarm sound to something more pleasant!