alarm clock watch reminder
alarm clock watch reminder

Stop using alarms to wake up, they’re kill you!

Humans have evolved over millions of years, yes MILLIONS!!! In this time our bodies have evolved to be awake during certain parts of the day, and to be asleep during the other parts of the day. Within that sleep part, our bodies have evolved to undertake some serious self repair processes which are necessary for our longevity.

Alarms, killing us, really?

Yes, because they interrupt our sleep cycles, sometimes right smack bang in the middle of one. Instead of getting full complete cycles of sleep that our bodies need, our alarms are cutting through our precious regeneration and healing time. Reducing the beneficial processes and basically shortening our lifespan.

Alarms cut sleep, like knives cut snakes.

As we get older, from our late teens until we die, the amount of sleep we require is fairly stable, 7 to 9 hrs per day is the scientific consensus. Sure, there are always outliers in the data. Some people only need 6 or 5 hrs, while other sloths need 10 or 12 hrs.

lazy sloth

But the majority of us, the bell curve, on average need around 7 to 9 hrs.

7 to 9 hrs is the average.

During these 7 to 9 hrs we sleep in cycles of 90 minutes, with each cycle consisting of 4 stages. Now it doesn’t matter how many stages there are, what matters is that within each cycle there are times when are you near to waking, and there are times when you are in very deep sleep.

The following image shows a typical nights sleep pattern.


The top green hash area is the awake zone. Anytime you are near this, it is easier to wake up. In fact, during this period, your sleep can be so light that you actually do wake up, you just don’t remember doing so because you quickly fall back to sleep and begin the next cycle. It’s those brief half-awake half-asleep moments between dreams (these are the opportune times to trigger lucid dreaming, but more on that topic another time).

The bottom red hash area is the deep sleep zone. Anytime you are near this, it is difficult to wake up. Yep, this is the most painful time to wake up, or rather, be woken up. Nobody just “wakes” up during these times.

Waking up in between cycles is best.

Obviously, waking up near the GREEN zone is the best and most natural time to wake up. In between cycles. This is the least painful time to wake up, actually there’s no pain at all.

You just wake.

Now imagine this. You are sleeping, you are in one of those troughs, in the middle of a cycle, you are in the lowest deepest brain frequency stage (delta), your body is regenerating itself, your body is healing itself, your brain and heart are at their calmest, most peaceful states…….then…

fire alarm



WTF indeed. It’s a miracle more people don’t die from heart attacks each morning when their alarms go off, seriously. Though I’m sure for most it certainly feels like a heart attack.

Depending in which stage you are in when your alarm sounds, will determine the level of crapness that you feel. Being woken up in that deepest of sleep cycles is the most painful. This is when you question life, curse your job, and hit that snooze button with all your anger.

Ten more minutes…pleeeeease!!!

But remember, not only do you feel like crap in the moment, but your mind & body have been snatched out of their repair process and turned back on. Back into work mode. In a SNAP!! From low calm deep delta waves to high beta or even high octane pumping gamma waves.

That’s fight or flight people!

So yeah, the negative health effects are far worse than the crap feeling you have each morning.

Alarms should only be used when we don’t have enough time to get full cycles of sleep, and we want to ensure we don’t miss the bus. Alarms are tools that should only be used in emergencies, like defibrillators.

So Citizenrod, how do I wake up naturally?

I’m glad you asked. It’s simple. Just count backwards from your required wake up time in 1.5 hr blocks (90min) to determine the time you need to go to bed.

For the mathematically challenged, here below are a couple tables you can refer to.

Note, I have included 30 minutes to wind down because most people don’t fall asleep as soon as their heads hit the pillow. When our bodies are working efficiently, 15 minutes is enough time to fall asleep. If you are struggling to fall asleep within this time, your mind & body are not working efficiently or your brain is too active. 30 minutes gives you, 15 minutes to wind down (read a book, thank the universe, visualise, etc, NO ELECTRONIC DEVICES), and 15 minutes to fall asleep.

5 CYCLES – The Ultimate Sleep

Required Wake Up Time# of CyclesSleep HoursBe In Bed By This Time
(inc 30min to wind down)

4 CYCLES – Cutting It Short (don’t make it a habit)

Required Wake Up Time# of CyclesSleep HoursBe In Bed By This Time
(inc 30min to wind down)

Now of course, we don’t get our perfect number of cycles every night, hey, I hear ya, sometimes life just gets busy. But don’t fret, nothing happens overnight (except good sleep, hehehe). Like everything, just keep at it, do it when you can. You do it already anyway, you set your alarm, you go to bed, you wake up. Now it’s just a matter of synchronising that behaviour with your body clock, instead of your alarm clock.

Your body clock is your alarm.

Don’t be surprised how quickly you can actually do this. Once you get the correct bed time, you’ll just naturally wake up when you need to. It’s that simple. We’ve been doing it for millions of years, so yeah, it will happen quickly.

It’s one of the simplest life hacks you can do because it’s what you were made to do.

Can I throw out my alarm? You can if you want to, or you can do what I do. If I must get up at a certain time without fail, I don’t use the alarm to wake me up. I still wake up ‘naturally’ by ensuring I go to bed at the appropriate time. But in these cases where I want to be sure I don’t over sleep, I use my alarm as a fail safe. I set the alarm to a point after my natural wake up time, so if for some reason I don’t ‘naturally’ wake up, the alarm will save me.

Like I said, it is the simplest life hack you could ever implement, and the benefits are huge.

Happy sleeping.

Citizenrod art design think

Citizenrod | art | design | think

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