Why I no longer set an alarm in the morning

Why I no longer set an alarm in the morning

Waking up without an alarm

Confession: I am a firm believer in the value of getting up early, getting your day started before your kids wake up, and taking control of your day.

So it might surprise you to hear that I no longer set an alarm 99% of the time.

The reason is simple: While I highly value and need those morning hours to myself, I also know that I need enough sleep or I’m grumpy, impatient and unproductive.

I also know that there’s nothing worse than getting woken up in the wrong part of your sleep cycle.

When I set an alarm, I inevitably get woken up right in the middle of my REM cycle, and my alarm has no idea whether the baby was up 17 times, I suffered with insomnia, or my body just happens to need more rest on any given morning. (And changing the alarm in the middle of the night involves turning on my iPhone screen—since we don’t use a regular alarm clock in our room—which inevitably gives me insomnia because of the bright, artificial light!)

Letting myself wake up naturally means I wake up during the best part of my sleep cycle—usually as soon as it starts to get light out these days—and I’m less groggy. Sometimes it means I sleep a couple extra hours in the morning, but I’m willing to trust that my body knows best on those days!

Obviously this approach isn’t for everyone, and if you’re a natural night owl, have early morning commitments or school buses to catch, an alarm is probably a safe bet.

My approach will probably shift as we head into the fall and winter months, when I can no longer count on the morning light to wake me up, but I’m considering an alarm like ZenAwake or Progressive Alarm Clock that wakes you up with gentle, progressively louder sounds so that your body isn’t jarred out of sleep like with a traditional alarm. (Although soon enough I’ll have a newborn who could care less about which part of my sleep cycle I’m in anyway!)

These days, getting enough sleep is a high priority for me even when the to-do list is full, and an alarm clock just isn’t smart enough to know when I really need to get up and when I need to sleep, so—for now—I’m skipping it.

Are you an early bird or a night owl? Do you wake up to an alarm?

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. An alarm on days I have to be somewhere or really need to get a little work done before my kids get up, but most days it’s no alarm for me. Nighttime sleep is too unpredictable for me too and I know that the days are fast approaching when a newborn means even less sleep. I need to get it while I can 😉

  2. I am a firm believer that my body knows how much sleep I need. I am a night owl and am most creative at night but I am also a morning person and usually rise before the birds. The only time I set my alarm is on the two mornings a month when I have to get up at 4 a.m. to go out of town. But I usually wake up just before it goes off — I suppose my biological clock knows!

  3. Instead of the progressive sound ones… look into the sunrise alarms. They gradually lighten a room much like the sun rise.

  4. I haven’t set an alarm since having kids. All of them have an internal alarm that wakes them up between 5:00 and 6:00. Luckily my husband gets up with the three bigger kids and I get to sleep until the baby wakes up. Sometimes it’s right after the rest of them, and sometimes I get to “sleep in” until 7:00 or so.

  5. I love my wake-up light from Philips. It is combined with birdsong at the end!

  6. The planner in me would love to wake up to an alarm before anyone else is up. From the few times I have gotten up while everyone is still in bed, I have a better handle on my day and I’m just plain calmer! But, alas, being perpetually sleep deprived through a combo of pregnancies and kids, mama’s gotta get her sleep where she can, especially since I’m one of those people who need 9 hours a night (and currently batting between a broken up 5-7 hours with a three-month-old). What is it about sleep that’s so heavenly when we get it, and so wretched when we don’t?? 🙂

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