Updated February 28, 2020 Every part of our sleep routine impacts our day. Sure, there are plenty of ways to ensure high-quality rest, but the methods we employ to wake up are equally as important. For workers, the value of a good night’s sleep is critical to tackling the work day ahead productively and with a clear mind. There are a multitude of tools to help us awaken and tackle the work day’s tasks, such as analog alarm clocks that incite nostalgia to sleep-tracking devices whose primary function is to regulate our sleep habits. Could there be massive differences in how effective these types of alarms are, though? Does one type of alarm produce a more rested and motivated person? To find out, we conducted a study with over 1,000 employed participants to learn how choosing an alarm might be more impactful than we think. Continue reading to see which types of alarms workers have found to be the most successful and learn more about waking methods that you may not have considered before. Ways to Wake Up Although some people can wake up naturally (more on this in a bit), most people need a little help waking up: A majority of respondents admitted to using their phones to wake up, either with a phone alarm (50%) or sleep-tracking device alarm (5%). When breaking down our data by generation, 54% of millennials used their phones to wake up, compared to 28% of baby boomers. Interestingly, 20% of those surveyed said waking up naturally is their go-to method. When looking at generational differences, 16% of millennials woke up naturally, compared to 39% of baby boomers. For many who report working in the early morning hours, the idea of waking up without an alarm seems daunting, but with practice and dedication to getting solid sleep, it is possible. Benefits of Waking Up Properly While it may seem difficult to wake up on time naturally, the benefits might be worth it. People waking up without assistance were 10% more likely to feel well-rested than those using an alarm. A key way to feel rested is by establishing consistent evening and morning rituals, such as journaling, reading a book, and going to bed at the same time every night. Dedicating time to these habits allows our bodies to fall into a natural cycle. This is also known as a circadian rhythm, which regulates our body’s response to light and its influence on our sleep health. The blue light from our phones and other electronics directly inhibits our circadian rhythm by sending “wake” signals to our brain and tricking it into thinking it’s daytime. Affixing our sleep cycle to the natural rise and fall of the sun enables us to acclimate to our daily responsibilities and tasks more easily. When it comes to how quickly we can fully wake up, people who set their phone alarm fared worse than those using methods to wake up: They took an average of 28 minutes to fully wake up, nearly seven minutes longer than those using a digital alarm clock. Interestingly, people who relied on sleep apps reported taking the same amount of time to fully wake up as people waking up naturally (22 minutes). Sleep-tracking apps are designed to track sleep habits, measure sleep stages (like REM sleep), and send out alarms to wake us up at the most optimal times. How Alarm Preference Influences Mood and Habits Committing to a lifestyle in which you don’t use alarms can offer a slew of advantages: Respondents who didn’t use an alarm were more likely to eat a healthy breakfast, exercise more, and have a better life outlook than those using alarms. Exercise is a major component of our overall sleep health, and setting aside time to work out has been shown to improve cognitive abilities and keep us in tip-top shape. People who reported waking up naturally spent more time on their fitness than those waking up with the help of their phones or alarm clocks. Another way to set up your days for success includes fitting in time for breakfast, a crucial step that can improve heart health. And your preferred way of waking up may contribute to a better or worse chance of eating breakfast: 64% of natural risers managed to set time aside for a fulfilling and healthy breakfast, compared to only 48% of people waking up to a phone alarm. Sleep Health and Professional Life Undoubtedly, getting out of bed is the hardest part of waking up. An alarm clock that forces its user to get out of bed to disable it sounds promising, but the tactic may not be the most successful in keeping someone from climbing back under the covers: Respondents who used this type of alarm accumulated the most late days to work (26). In direct comparison, survey participants waking up naturally were late to work less than half as often (12 days per year). Being late to work might be the result of forgetting to set an alarm or repeatedly snoozing through an alarm, a surefire way to disturb REM sleep. Natural risers, on the other hand, fared much better in their pursuit of quality sleep and its benefits: Employees waking up naturally were 13 percentage points more likely than those waking up with an alarm to feel motivated at work and earned 18 additional minutes of productivity each day. With improved brain function and more energy from higher-quality sleep, natural risers were also more likely to be better employees. Respondents who used an alarm missed more work deadlines and were over twice as likely to be warned by a supervisor of their poor performance. Weekend Sleeping: Equally as Important Long workweeks and weekend excitement can make it easy for us to want to sleep in late on the weekend. Although we feel like oversleeping can make up for limited sleep during the week, it may actually do more harm than good. According to our questionnaire, respondents who spent more than three hours sleeping in on the weekend had the highest levels of stress. Most people avoid setting an alarm on the weekend, but staying in bed significantly longer than during the workweek may be counterproductive for sleep health. The key is to maintain a consistent sleep schedule even on Saturday and Sunday, days that provide an even better opportunity to establish good morning routines since you don’t need to report to the office. The highest earners in our survey slept 10 to 60 minutes past their usual wake-up time on the weekends, but no more. Staying committed to good sleep habits on the weekend keeps us on pace to hit our sleep goals. Commit to the Best Sleep of Your Life In response to our findings, eachnight editor Andrea Strand had the following to say: “From working professionals to students and anyone else whose lifestyle demands being an early riser, sleep health ought to be a priority for everyone. Some alarms are more effective at keeping people from hitting the snooze button, but it appears that the most effective wake-up method is rising naturally. This isn’t a lifestyle change that occurs immediately. Try setting your alarm earlier and earlier until you can open your eyes before your intended wake-up time. Waking up naturally had the best results for the people in our survey, but our suggestion is to find the morning routine that works best for you.” In the meantime, head over to eachnight.com to find expert advice on sleep health and recommendations for mattresses, mattress toppers, and more. Methodology We used Amazon’s Mechanical Turk to survey a total of 1,040 respondents about their methods of waking up and lifestyle behaviors. To be included in our data, respondents were required to complete the entire survey and pass an attention-check question in the middle of the survey. Participants who failed to do either of these were excluded from the study. The exception to adhering to these requirements is the data in the first visualization, where we analyzed the data of 2,291 respondents. These respondents did not have to complete the entire survey and only needed to answer questions about their employment and methods of waking up during the week. Of all respondents, 49% were women, and 51% were men. 52% of respondents were millennials (born 1981 to 1997); 33% were from Generation X (born 1965 to 1980); and 15% were baby boomers (born 1946 to 1964). Generation Z (born 1998 to 2017), the silent generation (born 1928 to 1945), and the greatest generation (born 1927 or earlier) were excluded from the study. The average age of respondents was 39 with a standard deviation of 12 years. The data had a 4% margin of error for millennials, a 5% margin of error for Generation X, and an 8% margin of error for baby boomers. In the visualization on stress percentiles based on the time spent sleeping in on the weekend, we asked respondents all questions from the Perceived Stress Scale. We gave each respondent a raw score (respondents could score a minimum of 0 and a maximum of 40) using the scale, and then we converted averages of raw scores for each group of “time spent sleeping in on the weekend” into percentiles in relation to the whole data. The average score of all respondents was 19.4 with a standard deviation of 4.2. In finding averages of quantitative values, we removed outliers so the data were not exaggerated. Fair Use Statement We know it can be hard to get a good night’s sleep, especially if you have a rigorous work schedule or hectic family life. However, it’s your health on the line, so share these results to inform your friends and family about the benefits of waking up properly. Only share our data for noncommercial purposes, though, and cite us when mentioning our findings. Comments Cancel replyLeave a Comment Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.