The world is full of noisy, jarring alarms. And yet, no matter how loud your alarm is, there’s a good chance you won’t wake up to it. Most people just don’t respond well to the standard alarm clock. Instead of jumping out of bed and starting their day, most people end up hitting the snooze button until they fall asleep again. That’s why so many people are turning to natural alarms to reset their circadian rhythms and help them wake up in the morning. These alarms are weird because they involve things like sunlight, sprouting plants, or sounds that mimic natural phenomena. Why do these things work? How do they trigger our bodies to wake us up? Let’s take a closer look at why doesn’t my alarm wake me up.
Why Doesn’t My Alarm Wake Me Up?
There are many reasons why your alarm may not be waking you up. Your body may be programmed to wake up at a certain time, regardless of the alarm. You may be sleeping so deeply that the alarm is not enough to wake you. You may have set the alarm incorrectly, or it may be malfunctioning. Additionally, your body’s sleep cycle may shift if you wake up and go back to sleep during the same night.
Why Does A Beeping Alarm Not Wake You?
1. You’re Not Waking Up At The Right Time
If you are not waking up at the right time, your body will be programmed to wake up at that time, regardless of whether there is an alarm or not. The problem is that most people do not know their true biological clock and wake-up time. They may think they are waking up at 7 a.m., but in reality, they may be waking up closer to 8 a.m., which means they are getting less sleep than they need each night. If you have been sleeping six hours a night for several weeks and don’t feel like you have enough energy, it may be because you are sleeping later than your natural wake-up time.
2. You Are Sleeping Too Deeply
If your sleep cycle is programmed to wake up naturally, then even the most jarring alarm will not wake you from a deep sleep – or REM sleep – which is when dreaming occurs and our bodies heal themselves. This is why you may be able to sleep through your alarm and still feel refreshed when you wake up.
3. You Are Not Waking Up At All
If your biological clock is not set accurately, or if you have been waking up during the night and going back to sleep, then you will not wake up in the morning. This means that even if you set your alarm for 7 a.m., your body will think it’s time to wake up at 6 a.m., which means that even the most jarring alarm will not wake you up at 7 a.m.
4. You Have Set The Alarm Incorrectly
If your alarm is set incorrectly, then again, even the most jarring alarm will not wake you up. If you are setting your alarm for seven minutes before you want to wake up, it will take seven minutes for the alarm to go off; that means that if you actually want to wake up at 7 a.m., then you should set your alarm for 6:53 a.m. That way, by the time the alarm goes off at 6:53, it will be 7 a.m., and you will have successfully awoken on time with no snoozing required!
5. The Alarm Is Malfunctioning
If your alarm is malfunctioning, it may not be going off at all or may go off at random times throughout the night. This can make it difficult to wake up in the morning because if you are waking up during the night and going back to sleep, then even an alarm that is going off at 7 a.m. will not wake you up.
6. Your Alarm Is Too Loud
If your alarm is too loud, then you may be able to sleep through it no matter how many times you hit the snooze button. If this is the case, it means that your body has already decided to sleep in, so even if you set your alarm for 7 a.m., your body will think it’s time to wake up at 6 a.m., which means that even the most jarring alarm will not wake you up at 7 a.m.
The Basics Of Sleep And Wakefulness
1. The Sleep Cycle
There are two basic stages of sleep: REM and non-REM. During the first stage, which is non-REM (or “NREM” for short), you will drift in and out of light sleep. During this time, your body and mind begin to relax. Your breathing becomes shallow, your heart rate slows down, your muscles become relaxed, and your brain waves slow down to a regular rhythm. This is the time when you may experience hypnagogic hallucinations – the strange sensations that occur as you drift into sleep – like sounds or lights that seem to come from outside of your body. You can also get muscle spasms during this stage that make you twitch uncontrollably for a few seconds; these are called hypnic myoclonia and they happen because you are falling asleep. If you try to stay awake through this stage of sleep, it can be very difficult since your mind is drifting in and out of consciousness.
2. The Second Stage
During the second stage of sleep, which is REM (or “rapid eye movement”), you will experience the most intense dreaming that you do during the night. During this stage, your brain waves become much more irregular and active, and your eyes move quickly from side to side behind your closed eyelids. During this time, you may experience sleep paralysis and hypnopompic hallucinations – the sensations that occur as you wake up from sleep. During sleep paralysis, you may feel as if your body is not responding to your mind and that you are unable to move or speak. Sleep paralysis is an involuntary state of muscle atonia (or lack of muscle tone) that occurs at sleep onset or upon awakening. It occurs in about 50% of people at least once per year (5). Hypnopompic hallucinations occur when you are waking up from a dream; they often feel very real so it can be difficult to tell whether they are part of a dream or real. These hallucinations can include sounds, lights, smells, and other sensations.
3. Rem Sleep
REM sleep is the most active period of sleep because it is when your mind is most active and your brain is being stimulated by the outside world. During REM sleep, you tend to have very vivid dreams and your body experiences many physiological changes including rapid heart rate, rapid eye movements, increased blood pressure and respiration rate, and heightened sensitivity to pain. REM sleep helps you consolidate memories from the day before. As a result of this consolidation process, you will often remember your dreams in greater detail than you would otherwise remember them; this is known as dream recall. The stronger your dream recall ability is in general (i.e., how often you remember dreams), the better your ability to recall dreams during REM sleep will be.
4. Non-Rem Sleep: Slow Wave Sleep
The first stage of non-REM sleep is also known as “quiet sleep” because it is the quietest part of your sleep cycle. This stage is characterized by slow eye movements, very slow brain waves (called delta waves), and no muscle activity. This stage lasts for about 5% of your total sleep time. The second stage of non-REM sleep is known as “light sleep” because it is lighter than the first stage. This second stage lasts for about 50% of your total sleep time; during this time, you are more likely to be woken up by noise or light than you would be during the first stage.
We’ve seen that the reasons why your alarm doesn’t wake you up are complicated. But there’s one thing that’s simple: if you want to wake up to an alarm, you have to change the way you use it. And the best way to do that is to look at the way you use an alarm clock and then do the opposite. There are a lot of ways you might use an alarm clock wrong.