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How a Student Can Wake Up to the First Alarm

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Are you one of those who, waking up after an alarm clock, automatically press ‘postpone’? We tell you why this habit is harmful and how to start getting up after the first signal.

Why shouldn’t the alarm clock be reset?

Pulling ourselves out of a warm bed is not easy; no one disputes that. For this reason, we automatically add 10 minutes to the time of slipping into a sweet sleep. Then another +10. And another. Many even set the alarm much earlier in order to stay longer in this state. But interrupted sleep is bad for the body, and here’s why: 

  • Snooze segments after a night’s sleep ‘cheat’ the brain. It activates the processing of the sleep hormone melatonin. Therefore, a person during the day will feel drowsy, frazzled, and tired.
  • Usually, a person goes through a phase of fast sleep in the morning. We see dreams, the chaotic movement of the eyeballs is fixed. At this time the brain processes the information received and consolidates new skills. And this is especially important for a student (for example, on the eve of an exam). It is not recommended to interrupt this cycle several times.
  • Even if your favourite melody is on the alarm clock, over time this signal will become as irritating as possible. The brain reads the sound of the alarm as something that precedes stress. If the ringtone is repeated several times during the morning, a bad mood for the whole day is guaranteed.
  • There are mobile apps that sync with your fitness bracelet, track your sleep cycle (by heart rate), and choose the best time to wake up. Such trackers include Sleep Cycle, Sleep Time, Good Morning, and others.

How to wake up with the first alarm clock?

Here are some of the ways to make yourself wake up for the first time: 

  • Put the alarm clock away. Don’t leave your alarm clock by your bedside. Hide it somewhere on a shelf or even in the next room. You’ll have to get up to turn it off. And once you’re up, you’re unlikely to go back to bed.  Another option is to download Alarmy, an alarm clock that is supported by both iOS and Android. The alarm won’t ‘get off’ until, for example, you solve a math puzzle, scan some barcode, or shake your phone very many times or walk a certain number of steps.
  • Do breathing exercises. Without getting out of bed, right in bed, try breathing with your diaphragm. For 30 seconds without pausing, take deep breaths with your nose and then exhale with your mouth. You should breathe with your abdomen, not your chest (the chest is almost not lifted). A large amount of oxygen will get into your body, so slight dizziness is possible; don’t worry, this is normal. The more oxygen, the more energy.
  • Drink some water. Your body becomes dehydrated during the night. So take a glass of water as soon as possible. Drinking water on an empty stomach will prepare your gastrointestinal tract for work, speed up your metabolism, and remove toxins. Leave a glass of water at the bedside in the evening, and during the night the liquid will ‘reach’ the room temperature; iced water has an irritating effect. For the same reason, it should not contain gases. The best option is filtered or mineral water. Drink a glass in small sips, and 10–15 minutes later drink another one. Breakfast is desirable at least 20 minutes later – the longer the interval, the better. Don’t like the taste of freshwater? Put a spoonful of honey or add lemon, if you are not allergic to these products. The healing effect will increase.
  • Draw the curtains. Let the light in, and the body suppresses the production of melatonin (sleep hormone); waking up will be easier. In fall and winter, when it is dark in the morning, special light alarm clocks that simulate dawn are helpful. The device gently increases the brightness, allowing the body to wake up as naturally as possible.
  • Stretch. Stretching in the morning is as invigorating as coffee. Ten minutes of stretching, and oxygen goes to all the organs, including the brain. It’s energising. Try it.
  • Take a contrast shower. Make yourself accustomed to contrast showers. This will help combat sleepiness. Use a gel with an invigorating aroma: citrus, pine, ginger, rosemary, mint, eucalyptus, iris, or coffee. An indication that you are really awake will be an irresistible desire to sing. 

What to do in the evening to wake up easier?

    • Go to bed at the same time. The key to good sleep is following a schedule: it is important to go to bed and therefore wake up at the same time. You should have a steady 7–9 hours of sleep a night. So do not ‘cut back’ on sleep on weekdays, hoping that on Saturday or Sunday you will ‘catch up’ on the stolen hours. It doesn’t work that way. The regimen is important. Even if you’re overwhelmed by your studies and don’t have time for anything – sometimes it’s better to think about who will write my essay than to stay up late at night with no energy sitting at your textbooks. Observe it, and after a week the biological rhythm will be normalized. Waking up will be much easier. Soon, you won’t need an alarm clock at all: waking up will come by itself and at the right time.
    • Sleep with the window open.  During summer, you can sleep with the window open. During the night, your body will feel a little cooler. Why is this good? The body hardens – the immune system increases. In addition, by morning the room will be fresh and cool, and this will help you to wake up.
    • Plan your day in advance. In order not to run around in the morning, think about what you’re going to eat for breakfast, what you’ll wear to studies, etc. in the evening. Then you won’t have to set the alarm too early. There may be another reason for the reluctance to leave the bed such as sleepiness: an increased feeling of sleepiness. Here it is not about trivial laziness, but anxiety arising from the need to get up. This chronic problem is still poorly understood and, in principle, is not a medical diagnosis. However, it almost always occurs based on depressive disorders. Are you experiencing something similar? Consult a neurologist or psychotherapist.

Alicia Saville did her degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. She is interested in mental health and well-being. 

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