The simplest way to slay morning grogginess

I’ll just say it… setting an alarm to jolt yourself awake when your body isn’t ready to get up stinks.

You’re tired. You’re groggy. And you’d do anything to crawl back under the covers for a few more minutes (or hours).

I want to live in a utopia where we all allow ourselves to wake up naturally based on our own body rhythm. But I don’t. And neither do you. Which means we have to face the facts — most of our lives will be spent waking up to the annoying sound of an alarm.

Now, some mornings are worse than others. When that alarm catches you right in the middle of a dream? That’s really bad. You feel even more groggy, disoriented and unmotivated than normal. You go through your morning routine in a daze that sometimes it takes hours to snap out of.

But I want to share a secret with you…

There’s a way to make your morning alarm experience less miserable. It’s something you can do right away to wake up far more chipper next time your alarm goes off…

Choose this alarm tone to wake up less groggy

A new study from The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia found an easy way to make yourself much less groggy in the morning…

Change your alarm tone.

The study included 50 people who participated using an online survey. Each person told researchers the alarm sound they used to wake up and then rated their grogginess and alertness levels.

Now, you would assume that a loud and startling beeping noise would make you alert in a hurry. But researchers found the exact opposite to be true.

Melodic and rhythmic alarms (i.e. alarms that sounded more like music) prevented people from feeling groggy, disoriented and clumsy far more than the old school beeping noise we all know too well.

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Why would the sound of your alarm make any difference in how groggy you feel?

Well, researchers suspect it’s because harsh alarms (like that god awful beeping) disrupt or confuse our brain activity. Alarms that resemble songs aren’t as disruptive and lead to a smoother transition of consciousness from sleep to waking.

Get your morning alarm groove on

Now, I’m sure you have a lot of melodic alarm options on your phone. But you probably don’t have many that are melodic and rhythmic. And this study shows you want both for a better wake up experience. But don’t worry. There is a way to set your alarm to your favorite song, whether that’s something by the Beach Boys, Celine Dion or Billie Eilish.

Here’s what you have to do…

Set your smartphone to play music either from the music library on your phone or from a music streaming service like Spotify or Apple Music.

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The exact instructions for doing this will vary depending on the type of phone you have and where you want to pull music from. But I know my phone offers me the option to pull music from Pandora, Spotify or YouTube when I go to change my alarm tone.

If all this sounds complex, here’s a low-tech option…

Pull out an old digital alarm clock and set the alarm switch to “radio.” Just make sure to choose a radio station that’s soothing rather than jarring.


  1. Sound of music: How melodic alarms could reduce morning grogginess — MedicalXpress
  2. Alarm tones, music, and their elements: Analysis of reported waking sounds to counteract sleep inertiaPLOS One
Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine,, and