Do you feel that you are always getting up from the wrong side of the bed? Investigators say you should have woken up with The Beach Boys.
The sudden awakening of a repetitive alarm tone can cause sleep inertia, morning daze, a condition that makes people feel they are still half asleep.
Lead author Stuart McFarlane said that the inertia of sleep was a serious problem in today’s 24-hour society.
“If you don’t wake up properly, your work performance may be degraded for periods of up to four hours and that has been linked to serious accidents,” McFarlane said.
Investigators had assumed that an alarming and loud alarm would improve alertness, but they discovered that melodic alarms had a better effect upon waking.
“This is particularly important for people who could work in dangerous situations shortly after waking up, such as firefighters or pilots,” McFarlane said.
More research will be needed to find the exact melody and rhythm that work best, but considering how many people wake up to an alarm, the study could have an impact on millions of lives.
Co-author of the study, Adrian Dyer, said that the loud beep of an alarm can trigger the inertia of sleep by interrupting or confusing brain activity while we wake up.
“While a more melodic sound, like The Beach Boys’ Good Vibrations or The Cure’s Close to Me can help us make the transition to a waking state in a more effective way,” said Professor Dyer.
Recently published in the scientific journal PLoS ONE, the study postulates a better understanding of the connection between sound and waking states could help advance the fields of sleep technology and artificial intelligence.
“Even NASA astronauts report that sleep inertia affects their performance on the International Space Station,” said Professor Dyer.