You know when you wake up in the morning and you feel so groggy and clumsy? Maybe the movements are a bit uncoordinated, the mind less alert and every action a little difficult? It isn’t a rare situation, on the contrary, so common that scientists have given a name to it, sleep inertia. What is important to know is that sleep inertia can be reduced simply by changing… the sound of the alarm! This is the result of a study published a few weeks ago in the journal PLOS One by an Australian team (Mc Farlane et al, Jan 2020).
Managing to counteract, or at least to attenuate, the sleep inertia, that may last up to 4 hours, is for sure very important, to improve performance at school or at work, for those who have to be rapidly alert after the wake up since they have to drive, or work in hospitals or are pilots. The research recruited 50 people and asked them to indicate the type of alarm and their feeling of grogginess after the wake up. Well, what has emerged is that the melodic sounds, the authors of the study cited some pop songs, are linked to a reduction in the sleep inertia while harsh sounds like the classic beep beep cause an increase in sleep inertia, therefore a more difficult and long wake up, in the perception of the participants to the study.
This is a small study, that should be further investigated especially for its implications on the functioning of the brain, but in any case very interesting to understand that even a little change in our lifestyle, such as changing the sound of alarm, may improve our morning wake up and let us face the day with more energy!