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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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            Last Updated on February 21, 2019

            Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

            Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

            Your brain is the most intricate and powerful organ in your entire body. It’s essentially a super-computer with brain power like a Ferrari.

            If you have a Ferrari, would you put cheap gasoline in it? Of course not. You want to put in high-octane performance fuel to get the most out of your investment.

            When it comes to the brain, many people are looking for the top foods that will supercharge the brainpower to help focus better, think more clearly and have better brain health.

            In this article, we’ll look at the top 9 brain foods that will help create supercharge your brain with energy and health:

            1. Salmon

            Salmon has long been held as a healthy brain food, but what makes this fish so valuable for your brain health?

            It’s important to understand that your brain is primarily made up of fat. Roughly 60% of your brain is fat. One of the most important fats that the brain uses as a building block for healthy brain cells is omega-3’s.

            Omega-3’s are essential for building a healthy brain but one of the most important omega-3’s for your brain is DHA. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) forms nearly two-thirds of the omega-3’s found in your brain.[1]

            Omega-3’s and DHA in particular help form the protective coating around our neurons. The better quality this coating is, the more efficient and effective our brain cells can work, allowing our brain power to work at full capacity.

            Studies have shown that being deficient in DHA can affect normal brain development in children, which is why so many infant formulas and children’s supplements are beginning to include DHA.

            Being deficient in DHA as an adult can cause focus and attention problems, mood swings, irritability, fatigue and poor sleep.

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            2. Blueberries

            Blueberries top the list as one of the most beneficial fruits to maximize your brain health and performance.

            Blueberries have some of the highest content of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, than any other fruit, which helps protect the brain from stress and promote healthy brain aging.

            Blueberries antioxidant content also help reduce inflammation, which allows the brain to maintain healthy energy levels.

            Blueberries have begun to receive attention for their connection to brain performance.[2] Studies have demonstrated that eating blueberries on a regular basis can not only improve brain health but also brain performance as well including working memory.[3]

            Blueberries not only taste great but are low in calories, high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.

            3. Turmeric

            Turmeric is a very impressive spice that has well-researched and proven to have tremendous benefits for your brain. Turmeric’s main compound that benefits the brain is called curcumin, which is responsible for turmerics bright yellow appearance.

            Curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties.[4]

            Curcumin increases the production and availability of two important neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters involved with happiness, motivation, pleasure, and reward.

            Curcumin has been well documented to have powerful anti-depressive effects. In one study, it was found to be as effective for depression as popular medications such as SSRI’s like Prozac.[5]

            Curcumin has also been shown to:

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            • Increase blood flow to the brain.[6]
            • Increase BDNF production, a powerful stimulator of neuroplasticity.[7]
            • Increase DHA availability and synthesis in the brain.[8]
            • Increase antioxidant levels in the brain to prevent brain aging and inflammation.[9]

            4. Coffee

            Coffee is the wonderful elixir of energy that many people cherish every single morning. The biggest reason people drink coffee is to get a dose of caffeine.

            Caffeine is a natural neurological stimulant that not only gives you energy but also prevents adenosine, a neurotransmitter involved with feeling tired, from binding in the brain.

            Many people are surprised to find that coffee actually contains a large quantity of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are important for reducing inflammation in the brain and keep your brain energized. The antioxidants in coffee also provide a neuroprotective effect, protecting the brain from stress and damage. [R]

            Coffee can also:

            • Improve alertness and concentration.[10]
            • Help with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.[11]
            • Reduce your risk of depression.[12]
            • Improve your memory.
            • Provide short-term boost in athletic performance.[13]

            5. Broccoli

            What was your least favorite food as a kid growing up?

            Most likely, broccoli was your answer.

            Broccoli may not have been your top choice, but it might be the top choice for your brain.

            Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown to promote the proliferation and survival of brain cells by reducing inflammation and boosting production of BDNF. It has also been shown to boost neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells.[14]

            Broccoli is also loaded with important nutrients Vitamin K and Folate. Vitamin K plays a vital role in protecting brain cells.[15] Folate plays a crucial role in detoxification and reducing inflammation in the brain.

            6. Bone broth

            Bone broth wasn’t just created to combine with soups, you can actually drink bone broth by itself.

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            Drinking bone broth has become one of the biggest trends in the health and wellness industry and for good reason. Bone broth isn’t actually a new thing. Bone broth has been used for centuries as a healing tonic to promote health and longevity.

            Much of the nutritional benefits and value of bone broth comes from its substantial vitamin and mineral content. Primarily calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

            Your gut is called your second brain for a reason. Research continually shows that there is a direct and indirect connection between your gut and your brain. Your gut also houses and stores many important brain compounds involved with optimal brain performance. Therefore the health of your gut is vitally important for your brain health and performance.

            Bone broth has become a go-to tool for helping heal the gut and provide the gut with the vital nutrient and resources it needs to heal and perform optimally.

            With the vast amounts of nutrients that bone broth contains, it makes the list as a go-to food for your brain health.

            Look for high quality, organic bone broth for the best results.

            7. Walnuts

            Walnuts are one of the top choices of nuts for brain health. Walnuts also look similar to a brain.

            Amongst the wide variety of nuts available, walnuts contain the highest amounts of the important omega-3 DHA. DHA, as seen above, is a critical building block for a healthy brain.

            Walnuts also contain high amounts of antioxidants, folate, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which help to lower inflammation.

            Melatonin in walnuts is an important nutrient for regulating your sleep. Having low amounts of melatonin can make it challenging to get good quality sleep and getting poor quality sleep can dramatically impair brain health and performance.

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            8. Eggs

            For years, eggs were put on the nutritional naughty list; but now, eggs are finally getting the credit they deserve. Eggs can provide a tremendous boost to your brain health and longevity.

            Eggs, particularly the yolks, contain a compound called choline. Choline is essential for building the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine plays an important role in mood, memory, and intelligence.

            Egg yolks contain some of the highest quantities of choline. This is very important because low levels of choline can lead to low levels of acetylcholine, which in turn can cause increased inflammation, brain fog, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.

            9. Dark chocolate

            You’re about to love chocolate even more because chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is great for your brain.

            Chocolate boosts levels of endorphins, your brains “feel good” chemicals. This is why you feel so good eating chocolate.[16]

            Chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain which can help improve memory, attention, focus, and reaction time.[17]

            Dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium, which has been coined “natures valium” for its ability to calm and relax the brain.

            Lastly, dark chocolate has one of the highest antioxidant profiles out of any other food, including popular superfoods like acai berries, blueberries, or pomegranates.[18]

            Conclusion

            Your brain is a high performing organ and it uses quite a lot of energy, roughly 20% of the bodies energy demands.

            In order to maintain a healthy brain, you need the right fuel to ensure that your brain has all the nutrients it needs to perform as well as adapt to the stress of life.

            If you want to keep your brain performing well for a lifetime, then you want to make sure you are including as many of these brain health foods as possible.

            More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: DHA Effects in Brain Development and Function
            [2] Canadian Science Publishing: Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation
            [3] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Cognitive effects following acute wild blueberry supplementation in 7- to 10-year-old children.
            [4] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin: the Indian solid gold.
            [5] Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.: Turmeric, the Golden Spice
            [6] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effect of combined treatment with curcumin and candesartan on ischemic brain damage in mice.
            [7] Science Direct: Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB
            [8] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders.
            [9] PLOS: A Chemical Analog of Curcumin as an Improved Inhibitor of Amyloid Abeta Oligomerization
            [10] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans
            [11] American Academy of Neurology: A Cup of Joe May Help Some Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
            [12] American Academy of Neurology: AAN 65th Annual Meeting Abstract
            [13] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of caffeine on the metabolic and catecholamine responses to exercise in 5 and 28 degrees C.
            [14] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Hyperammonemia induces glial activation, neuroinflammation and alters neurotransmitter receptors in hippocampus, impairing spatial learning: reversal by sulforaphane
            [15] Oxford Academic: Vitamin K and the Nervous System: An Overview of its Actions
            [16] Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D: Chocolate and Mood Disorders
            [17] Health Magazine: Chocolate can do good things for your heart, skin and brain
            [18] Chemistry Central Journal: Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products

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