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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 August 20, 2019

            How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

            How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

            Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

            Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

            I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

            You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

            Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

            When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

            I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

            Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

            Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

            Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

            1. The Inner Critic

            This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

            • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
            • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
            • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
            • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

            The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

            Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

            2. The Worrier

            This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

            The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

            3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

            This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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            This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

            The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

            4. The Sleep Depriver

            This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

            The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

            • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
            • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
            • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
            • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

            How can you control these squatters?

            How to Master Your Mind

            You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

            Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

            There are two ways to control your thoughts:

            • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
            • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

            This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

            The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

            Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

            For the Inner Critic

            When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

            You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

            For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

            You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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            “Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

            If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

            • They rile up the Worrier.
            • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
            • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
            • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
            • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

            Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

            Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

            For the Worrier

            Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

            Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

            You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

            • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
            • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
            • Muscles tense

            Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

            If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

            Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

            “Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

            Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

            If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

            Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

            Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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            For example:

            If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

            “I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

            Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

            “Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

            Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

            For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

            Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

            The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

            • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
            • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
            • Muscles tension

            I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

            Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

            Breathe in through your nose:

            • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
            • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
            • Focus on your belly rising.

            Breathe out through your nose:

            • Feel your lungs emptying.
            • Focus on your belly falling.
            • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

            Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

            Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

            One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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            Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

            For the Sleep Depriver

            (They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

            I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

            Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

            1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
            2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

            When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

            From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

            For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

            If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

            You can also use this technique any time you want to:

            • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
            • Shut down your thinking.
            • Calm your feelings.
            • Simply focus on the present moment. 

            The Bottom Line

            Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

            You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

            Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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            Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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