Some alarms are better than others for waking you up in the morning, a new article has suggested, with a scientist offering tips on which iPhone alarms work best.
Choosing the ‘wrong’ alarm can lead to sleep inertia in the morning where you feel groggy, confused and exhausted, the researchers claim.
Luke Cousins, physiology regional lead at Nuffield Health, explains: “The process of waking up is controlled by your reticular activating system (RAS).
"This restricts how your body responds to external stimuli when asleep and how you transition to being awake.
“An alarm clock is designed to stimulate the RAS, telling your body to wake up. The jolt of an alarm clock can be especially strong if you’re in the deep sleep phase of sleep, leaving you with an increased heart rate and groggy feeling in the morning that can last several hours.”
Researchers at music company Startle say that – reviewing existing scientific literature – the perfect alarm has a melody you can sing or hum along to, a dominant frequency around 500 Hz or in the key of C5.
Alarms also should not be too fast or too slow (100 – 120 beats per minute is ideal).
According to Startle, Sencha is crowned as the best iPhone alarm thanks to its easy melody played in key C, BPM of 110 and low frequency (500 Hz).
By the Seaside and Uplift also share many of the same characteristics.
The study suggests the worst iPhone alarms to wake up to are Presto, Signal, Radar, Beacon and Chimes based on their risk of jolting you awake and promoting sleep inertia.
These sounds lack melody, instead favouring short and sharp bursts of noise, and have much higher frequencies than recommended.
In a blog post, Startle also says, “Waking up at the end of a sleep cycle, when you’re sleeping the lightest, is the best way to wake up feeling refreshed. This is also when it is easiest for external stimuli, like noise and light, to wake you up.”
“Light has a large influence on waking you up, so allowing light to filter into your room slowly is a great way to signal to your body that it’s time to wake up.
"In autumn and winter, consider using a sunrise clock which can wake you up gently with light mimicking the rising sun.”
Watch: COVID precautions disrupt iPhone production