Dear Lifehacker, I hate waking up in the morning as it is, but when my alarm goes off to the sound of sirens, it starts my morning off on the wrong foot. Is there anything I can do to make it more pleasant and still wake up on time? Sincerely, Slightly Sleeping
We're sympathetic to the alarm clock blues and have tried all sorts of solutions to make the experience a little more pleasant. Here are a few ideas to do just that.
Wake Up to the Sun with a Sunrise Alarm Clock
Few things are more relaxing than waking up to the sun. Unfortunately, not everyone has the luxury of the sun rising at the exact time they need to wake up or windows that face the right direction. If you don't have those luxuries, you can simulate the sun with a sunrise alarm clock.
A sunrise alarm clock essentially starts brightening the room instead of sounding an alarm. I've used a Philips Wake-up light for years to help me wake up in the winter months, and it works like a charm. It gradually brightens the room and then starts playing sounds after a few minutes.
Wake Up to Vibrations
It might seem a little strange, but if you want to wake up without the horrifying sound of an alarm clock then one of the best ways to do it is with a vibration instead. You have a few different options for this.
If you already have a fitness-tracking appliance, there's a good chance it has an alarm system built into it. These tend to sit on your wrist and will vibrate as an alarm in the morning.
Otherwise, you can buy a silent vibrating alarm clock from Amazon for about $14. These sit on your wrist and vibrate you awake so you don't have to deal with the horrible sound of an alarm. Likewise, you can also buy one that just sits underneath your pillow.
Wake Up to the Right Song
You can set up a soothing alarm song that wakes you up with more pleasant tones. Here are a few suggestions:
One Lifehacker reader says:
I try and stick to mellow songs that gradually increase in tempo. Nothing angry, always something to put my mind in a good place for the rest of the day. "Porcelain" by Moby is my current standard, but I used "Rain" by Germany Germany for over a year.
Or you can use a classic:
I wake up to the theme song from "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" (via my iPod stereo alarm). The slow progression in volume/intensity makes it the perfect song to get me out of bed. I've used it every morning for 2 years and, surprisingly, I don't hate the song when I hear it other places.
MoogleDancer prefers something completely different:
I wake up using an mp3 of the closing to "Jurassic Park." Its either a nice peaceful drift awake to the general crescendo, or a jolt awake if i need it with the climax. It's worked for me for years.
MrSlayer goes all out:
My alarm sound is Edvard Grieg's Peer Gynt Suite No. 1, Op. 46 "Morning Mood." I have a second alarm 15 minutes later, which is the William Tell Overture "Call To The Cows." I haven't figured out how to make the lights turn on slowly during this time, however.
Wake Up to Something Interesting
Waking up to the radio is a pretty common trick, but the problem with that is that it's rarely something interesting. Covarr likes to customise it and make things interesting:
My favourite thing to wake up to is something interesting enough that I'll actually want to be awake for it. Morning personalities on the radio can be fun enough, but there's nothing like hearing a podcast on your own personal interests rather than something generic for everyone, which is why I was super excited when I found this:
Set a time, plug in an RSS feed and let it do its thing. Couldn't be easier. If you're really motivated, you can figure out how to aggregate a bunch of podcast feeds into a super feed to guarantee you'll hear something different every morning, but it's not too hard to just choose something the night before.
Time Your Sleep Better
One trick to making waking up more pleasant is to time it so you're waking up during the right cycle of your sleep. We've talked about this before, and the premise is that you get some sleep-tracking technology that wakes you up at an optimal time.
You can do this cheaply with an app like Sleepbot for Android or Sleep Cycle for iPhone. Just leave your phone on your bed when you sleep, and the apps track your sleep cycles based on movement. Then, an alarm sounds right when it's at the optimal time in your sleep schedule and close to the time you need to wake up. This also means you can wake up to quieter sounds because your brain and body are ready to get out of bed.
It might take a little training and practice, but it's entirely possible to wake up to something a little more pleasant than a screeching alarm. The benefit is that your first thought in the morning won't be to drop kick an electronic box and toss it out the window.
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