How do you feel when you wake up? Like going back to sleep? Like someone needs to turn your alarm off before your phone is en route out the window? Your first thought of each new day can ultimately determine how you feel (and act) for the rest of the day. Nowadays, we don’t wake naturally, but are disturbed - most often prematurely - by either other people, outside noise or our alarms. Where our cavemen ancestors would wake at sunrise and sleep at sunset, us modern folk tend to work til ungodly hours, and rise when our schedules decide - not our bodies. This generally means ridding our bodies and minds of the good quality rest they desperately need.
We know alarms are a necessary evil in today’s society. Waking naturally is generally not an option and, for many, would mean sacrificing your morning spin class or missing an important meeting. Alarms are designed to be loud and, well, alarming, which is helpful in getting us ‘up and at em’ (or near enough) but means our bodies are forced into waking before they’re really ready to. Jarring sounds, beeps, buzzes and vibrations incept our dreams, shocking our minds and urging us to take action before we’re fully ready to function.
Our ears and emotions have a stronger bond than you may realise. A glass smashing or the sound of a gunshot can make us anxious or send us into a state of worry, whilst a favourite song or a familiar voice can fill us with happiness and a feeling of contentment. Sound has been used as a form of healing and meditation for thousands of years. Vibrations are believed to connect with the mind and ground the body, and certain sound waves are thought to awaken and affect different brain waves. The way our brains react to certain sounds and vibrations can change the way we think and feel, so it’s no wonder that the sounds we experience can affect our moods, emotions and actions, especially those associated with either good or bad times.
Last week, as alarms the world over began dragging each weary one of us from our peaceful slumbers, it occurred to us that changing our alarms up every now and then may just change the outcome of our entire days. Recently tried and tested, changing your alarm to something more soothing can help to lift you out of sleep in a more peaceful and sensitive way, rather than forcing you kicking and screaming. There are many sleep apps and sound apps that you can use to explore what sounds make you feel good or what works best for you, but in the meantime and for those of you who don’t have the time, our simple advice is to start by changing your alarm. Below is our edit of the most gentle alarm tones available on iPhone.