The Secret to Waking Yourself Up without an Alarm Clock

No more snoozing and losing.

The Secret to Waking Yourself Up without an Alarm Clock

No more snoozing and losing.

Ever wondered what it would be like to wake up au natural, as peaceful as if you were sleeping in nature, without your smartphone’s obnoxious chimes reverberating in your ear? Well, it’s actually possible. You just have to learn to set your internal chrono­meter—what white coats call our circadian rhythm.

This clock regulates the release of hormones that tell us when to sleep and when to wake up, and the best way to keep it ticking efficiently is to establish a sleep pattern that gives you eight hours of slumber per night, says Clete Kushida, MD, PhD, a professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Stanford University Medical Center.

When researchers at Luther College studied the sleep cycles of 269 adults, they found that those who slept seven to nine hours a night consistently woke up before their alarms started squawking.

Here’s how you achieve the same feat: As you’re falling asleep, focus your thoughts on the exact time you’d like to wake up and associate that time with an important event, like getting the kids to school on time or arriving at work early for a morning meeting. Researchers at Germany’s University of Lübeck found that those who were told to wake up at a certain time were subconsciously able to trigger a surge of hormones that helped them awaken at a desired hour.

“Studies also show that the process of waking up is linked closely to light and body temperature,” says Nancy Collop, MD, director of the Emory Sleep Center.

So one option is to use a wake-up light, which mimics a natural sunrise. (If you’re an early riser, simply leave your blinds open.) Don’t buy into the aromatherapy-clock hype though: Sure, the thought of being awoken by the smell of bacon might sound appealing, but according to a study at Brown University, these clocks are pure marketing scams. As one study author put it: “There’s a reason we wake up and smell the coffee, and not the other way around.” For more tips and tricks involving your circadian rhythm, here are the 29 Best Body Clock Hacks to Maximize Your Day.

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