Whether you wake up feeling wide awake and raring to go or groggy and not quite with it for hours could depend on the sound of your alarm clock. Researchers from RMIT University in Melbourne have found if you want to be alert first thing in the morning, you shouldn’t use an alarm clock with a traditional ‘beep’ alarm. Instead, you should try waking up to music.

Their findings could be useful for people who need their brains to be working at full capacity soon after they get up.

Published in the journal PLoS One, the study was a fairly small one with just 50 participants. But if the findings are correct, it could revolutionise mornings for millions of us who experience what the experts call sleep inertia.

“If you don’t wake properly, your work performance can be degraded for periods up to four hours, and that has been linked to major accidents,” explains researcher Stuart McFarlane.

The study’s co-author, Associate Professor Adrian Dyer, says: “We think that a harsh ‘beep beep beep’ might work to disrupt or confuse our brain activity when waking.” But a more melodic sound like the Beach Boys ‘Good Vibrations’ or The Cure’s ‘Close to Me’ may be a better option, he adds. Why? Because it may help us get into a waking state more effectively.


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