Melodic Alarms May Help Reduce Morning Grogginess (Photo Credit: Pexels.com)
Do you often feel groggy while waking up from sleep? A melodic alarm like 'Good Vibrations' by the Beach Boys may help, according to a study. The research, published in the journal PLOS One, suggests that the sounds people wake up to could be affecting how groggy and clumsy they feel in the morning.
The researchers from RMIT University in Australia found that melodic alarms could improve alertness levels, while harsh alarm tones may increase levels of morning grogginess. They noted that the finding could have important implications for anyone who needs to perform at their peak soon after waking, such as shift workers and emergency first responders.
"This study is important, as even NASA astronauts report that sleep inertia affects their performance on the International Space Station," said Associate Professor Adrian Dyer, from RMIT University.
"We think that a harsh 'beep beep beep' might work to disrupt or confuse our brain activity when waking, while a more melodic sound like the Beach Boys 'Good Vibrations' or The Cure's 'Close to Me' may help us transition to a waking state in a more effective way," Dyer said in a statement.
The Beach Boys are an American rock band formed in California in 1961. The research involved 50 participants, using a specially designed online survey that enable them to remotely contribute to the study from the comfort of their own home.
Each person logged what type of sound they used to wake up, and then rated their grogginess and alertness levels against standardised criteria for sleep inertia -- an impaired state of brain present immediately after awakening. The finding may help contribute to the design of more efficient interventions for people to use on their own devices to wake up properly, the researchers said.
According to the lead author of the study, Stuart McFarlane from RMIT University, morning grogginess -- or sleep inertia -- was a serious problem in our 24-hour world. "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," McFarlane said.
"You would assume that a startling 'beep beep beep' alarm would improve alertness, but our data revealed that melodic alarms may be the key element. This was unexpected," he said.
The researchers noted more studies are needed to better understand the precise combination of melody and rhythm that might work best. However, considering that most people use alarms to wake up, they said, the sound people choose may have important ramifications.
"This is particularly important for people who might work in dangerous situations shortly after waking, like firefighters or pilots, but also for anyone who has to be rapidly alert, such as someone driving to hospital in an emergency," McFarlane said.