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7 Best Alarm Clocks to Wake You Up in the Morning

7 Best Alarm Clocks to Wake You Up in the Morning

I used to have a lot of difficulty waking up in the morning… especially on Monday mornings. I’d hit snooze a million times while cutting everything unnecessary out of my morning routine (i.e showering at night, shaving my head so I wouldn’t have to style my hair, replacing breakfast with an energy drink, etc) so I could squeeze every last second of sleep out of the night. Although I took it out on my alarm clock, my problem had nothing to do with waking up, nor the alarm. Even the best alarm clock would’ve triggered the same reaction.
A lot of it had to do with hating my job. I wasn’t passionate about what I did. How could I be? I worked for the banks. I dragged myself into work every day and put in my 10-12 hours, but I wasn’t a morning person by any stretch of the imagination. That all changed when I blew the whistle on my employer, quit my job, and discovered meditation and yoga.

Now I look forward to Monday mornings. In fact, I wake up every morning feeling refreshed and revitalized, ready to enjoy a productive and satisfying day. If you want to feel the same way, here are 7 “alarm clocks” to use.

1. Meditation and Yoga

buddha meditation Lifehack

     Buddha looooo-verrrrrrs…gotta learn to smoke the buddhaaaaa…

    I know it sounds new-agey, but I assure you I don’t own any Birkenstocks or tie-dyed clothes. What these practices taught me are gratitude, compassion, and how to calm my mind.

    The biggest problem in waking up is going to sleep. When sleep is a deadline, it’s not enjoyable. You’re not mentally prepared to go to bed if you’re stressing about what happened today or what’s going to happen tomorrow. Sit or lie down and take a breath. Instead of worrying about money, bills, your job, family, schedules, projects, and all the other variables in your life, focus on the one important constant: you. Listen to your breath. Feel the air fill your lungs and expand your chest as you breathe in. Allow yourself to sink into the ground and relax as your chest compacts while you breathe out. Nothing else matters in this world except your breath. It’s your life blood. When you focus on it, everything else melts away.

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    Once you’ve mastered the art of meditation, you can begin to understand yogic principle of positive thinking. You don’t need to pull your legs over your head to learn valuable life lessons from yoga. All you need to do is start thinking positive. Instead of dreading the upcoming day, be grateful you’re alive to experience it. By changing your perspective, you’ll find both sleeping and waking up are no longer a chore.

    2. Your Biological Clock

    If you pay attention to the elderly in your life (which you should, as they’re a fountain of wisdom), you’ll notice they tend to wake up on a schedule. Older generations had much more rigid schedules than we do these days, so many older people are used to going to bed and waking up at the same time every day. This is actually a very a healthy thing to do.

    When you’re younger, it’s easy to get into the habit of waking up at the buttcrack of dawn Monday-Friday, but sleeping in on the weekends. People who work late shifts often do the opposite, waking up earlier on their days off. This takes a toll on your biological clock. You should only vary your sleeping/wake times by an hour in either direction (except on special occasions such as a vacation or your house catching on fire). When your internal clock is kept consistent, you’re less likely to be exhausted and sleep through your alarm clock.

    A trick utilized by Native American tribes prior to a hunt is to drink plenty of water prior to going to bed for the night. Doing so will activate your bladder in the morning, giving you an extra incentive to wake up without the need of external alarms. It’s also helpful to prevent a hangover if you’ve been consuming alcohol.

    3. Nature’s Alarm Clock

    Sunrise Lifehack

       Stop sleeping through the best part of the day…

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      We spend so much time indoors as a society that it becomes easy to block out the natural world. The most natural alarm clock in our lives is the sun. If you have a job and lifestyle that allows you to wake up to the natural light of the sun, by all means, leave your curtains/blinds open and go for it. Personally I enjoy being awake to watch the sun rise though.

      If you live in a rural area, you can leave a window open to wake up to the light, heat, sounds, and smells of the morning. Birds chirping, leaves rustling in the wind–there’s an entire symphony every morning awaiting those able to rise to it.

      4. Soothing Sounds

      Now that your body and mind are prepared, you can focus on the physical alarm clock. There’s a plethora of sounds that can be generated by alarm clocks. Never use a sound you don’t enjoy. You should look forward to waking up.

      If you’re part of the black turtleneck iCrowd, get an alarm clock/docking station. There are a lot of great options whether you have an old 30-pin connector or the latest 8-pin lightning connector. This will allow you to set your own personalized wake up playlist (or pull a Bill Murray in Groundhog Day and wake up every morning to “I Got You, Babe”). I use my iPhone for an alarm because it allows me to set a message to wake up to. Rather than just naming it “Work” or “School,” I name my alarms “You’re amazing!” and “Wake up like a boss…” to give myself a motivational morning message.

      Even if you’re too cool for iSchool, there are alarm clock docking options for your Android or Kindle Fire. If you own a Blackberry, upgrade your pager, Grug Crood.

      If you want an old school alarm clock, get a clock radio and tune it to your favorite terrestrial radio morning show. There are options for satellite radio as well if you wanna get bourgeois about it.

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      5. Tantalizing Smells

      Bacon Lifehack

         My bacon has a first name…it’s K-E-V-I-N…

        Sound isn’t the only way to wake up in the morning. Your nose is just as capable of pulling you out of slumber. Get a coffeemaker with a timer, and set it for 5 minutes prior to your alarm clock. You’ll wake up to the tantalizing smell of your favorite java filling the house.

        Once you’re awake, cook up some bacon to get everyone else in the house up. This works especially well if you’re living with me. If you’re a vegetarian, you can try vegetarian bacon, but I refuse to add a link to such a crime against nature. Speaking of pork…

        6. From Sensual to Sexual

        Morning sex is one of my favorite types of sex. There’s something fundamentally beautiful about a breakfast bump and grind. It makes you feel alive and ready to face the day. If you’re lucky enough to be sleeping next to someone you have a sexual relationship with, make a pact that whoever wakes up first initiates mattress mambo. You’ll both (or all 3, 4, 5, however many of you there are…I’m not here to pass judgment) appreciate each other more and look forward to the morning.

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        If you’re sleeping alone, being woken up with sexual stimulation isn’t really possible, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take care of yourself the same way. Rub one out in the morning as soon as you wake up. It’s just as relaxing, and you’ll reap many of the same benefits (plus it’s the only 100% method of safe sex). Once you spill your bodily fluids, you’ll be more inclined to get out of bed to clean up. If you’re not, your lack of hygiene is probably contributing to your solo status.

        7. Rube Goldberg Devices

        pee-wees-big-adventure-lifehack

           Best…movie…ever…

          My personal favorite method of waking up for special occasions involves a complicated series of contraptions that, once activated, launches a chain reaction that ends with a bucket of water being poured on my head. If you’re unfamiliar with Rube Goldberg devices, here are the basics:

          Set your phone’s alarm to vibrate on high (or get a retro analog alarm clock for bonus style points) and set it at the edge of your nightstand or dresser so it’ll fall off when activated. Tie one end of a string to the alarm, run it up over a hook on the ceiling then down underneath a hook on the wall above your headboard, and tie the other end to a bucket of water above your head and hook. When the alarm goes off and it falls to the ground, it’ll pull the bucket over, dousing you with water.

          Brian Penny Rube Goldberg Alarm - Lifehack
            Believe it or not, I’ve had no formal art training…

            Once you have the basics down, you can add even more fun to the equation. Check out The Incredible Machine for more ideas of steps to add.

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            How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

            How to Keep Yourself Awake at Work Without Caffeine

            Keeping yourself awake at work can be a real challenge when you’re bored, exhausted or sleep-deprived.

            But before you reach for that can of Red Bull, bottle of Mountain Dew, or pot of coffee, try these healthy remedies to stimulate your 5 different senses and help you stay awake at work:

            Sight – Visual Stimulation

            The first thing you do when you wake up is opening your eyes, so your visual stimulation is very important to keeping your energy level high.

            1. Maximize your exposure to light.

            Your body’s internal rhythm is regulated by the amount of light you receive. The greater your exposure, the more alert you will feel.

            Open the shades and let in the sunlight. Step outside or look out the window. Turn on all the artificial lights in your office or around your work space.

            2. Exercise your eyes (or give them a break).

            Roll your eyes up and down, side to side and diagonally. Rotate them clockwise and then counterclockwise. Squeeze them shut and then open them wide. Do this several times.

            Reading and sitting in front of a computer screen for long periods can lead to eye fatigue.

            Take regular breaks with deliberate blinking and looking out into the distance.

            3. Take note of your environment.

            Learn to enjoy people-watching. Observe their activities, speech, body language and interactions with others. Notice the details of building, trees and other objects around you, including their color, shape and size.

            By doing this, you’re not only relaxing your eye muscles but also calming your mind.

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            Hearing – Auditory Stimulation

            What you hear or listen to have direct effect on your brain. This is why we feel so annoyed and sometimes angry when we hear construction noise when we’re working.

            4. Engage in conversation.

            Talk to a friend or colleague. Trade funny stories. Discuss your business venture, a creative idea, the latest political scandal, or any other topic that interests you.

            Practice mindful listening to what you and the other person are saying. Tune into the tone, volume and content of the conversation.

            Learn how to practice better listening from this guide:

            Why Listen to Reply Instead of Understand Is the Key to Failure

            5. Listen to upbeat music.

            Try hip hop, rock or jazz to keep you alert. Instrumental, non-distracting music works best.

            Sing, whistle, and hum along if you can. Plug in the earphones if you must.

            Smell – Olfactory Stimulation

            If you’re feeling sleepy and suddenly smell the coffee, you’ll probably feel more energetic. This is why smell is an influential stimulation.

            6. Work your nose.

            Aroma therapists recommend essential oils of peppermint (to boost energy), rosemary (to build awareness), eucalyptus (to increase oxygen), cedarwood  (to activate your mind), and cinnamon (to improve your reaction time).

            If you don’t have essential oils on hand, you can use lotions or burning candles that provide the same scents.

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            Citrus like lemons, limes, grapefruits and oranges are also natural olfactory stimulants. Get a whiff of these citrus scents to stay awake.

            Taste – Gustatory Stimulation

            If you want an energetic day at work, you can’t let your tongue feeling plain and flavorless.

            7. Have a good breakfast.

            Start off with the most important meal of the day.

            Think fresh, light and healthy: bran cereals, wholegrain breads, fruits, and yogurt.

            Nix the heavy stuff like sausages, greasy eggs or pancakes.

            Need some breakfasts inspirations? Check out these ideas:

            20 Healthy Breakfast Choices That Will Save You Time

            8. Drink lots of water.

            Keep a glass or bottle of H2O near you and sip from it throughout the day. Dehydration can leave you feeling tired, sluggish and sleepy.

            So make sure you drink enough water throughout the day. Not sure how much to drink? This can help you:

            How Much Water Should You Drink Each Day (and How Much Is Too Much for You)

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            Think that you’ve been drinking too little water? Try these friendly reminders:

            3 Best Apps To Help You Drink Much More Water

            9. Eat energy-boosting snacks.

            Nuts and fruits (like bananas, apples and strawberries) are sure bets. Pairings with staying power include baby carrots with a low-fat cream cheese dip; celery sticks with peanut butter; red peppers with hummus; and plain yogurt with granola.

            Avoid carb-filled, sugary snacks that make you crash and leave you feeling tired.

            Here you can find some healthy snack ideas:

            25 Healthy Snack Recipes To Make Your Workday More Productive

            Touch – Tactile Stimulation

            Last but not least, your sense of touch will make you physically feel more energetic and less stressful.

            10. Splash cold water on your face.

            Do this in the morning, during bathroom breaks and in the afternoon. Being exposed to cold water pushes your body to adjust and regulate its internal temperature, which in turn keeps you alert.

            This works the same as you take a cold shower to increase mood and alertness. Take a look at this article to learn more about it:

            5 Surprising Benefits of Cold Showers

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            11. Use acupressure.

            Apply pressure to, massage, or tap on the stimulation points of your body. These include the top of your head, the back of your neck, the back of your hand (between the thumb and index finger), just below the knee and your earlobes.

            Watch this video to learn about the acupressure points you can try:

            12. Get moving.

            Move away from your chair and stand, walk, run or climb the stairs. Feel the earth under your feet. Stretch and twist. Do jumping jacks, lunges, push-ups and back bends.

            And if you need to move more discreetly, wiggle your feet, bounce your knee up and down, scrunch your toes, or cross your legs.

            You can also try some simple stretches and exercises at your desk:

            Unlike addictive caffeine fixes, these remedies activate your senses, engage your attention, amp up your energy and prevent morning grogginess and afternoon slumps without the side effects or health risks.

            Pick a few ways from this list of suggestions and practice them consistently. And when you do this consistently, you’ll soon see the positive results — a more energetic and productive you at work.

            Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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