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Researchers says harsh alarms is linked to morning grogginess

Photo: Harsh alarms linked to waking up groggy
Researchers have found the blare of the morning alarm clock may be doing more harm than good with the harsh sound linked to morning grogginess.

Feel like you're always getting up on the wrong side of the bed? You should have woken up to The Beach Boys, researchers say.

Jerking awake to a jarring, repetitive alarm tones could cause sleep inertia -morning grogginess - a condition which makes people feel like they're still half asleep.

Lead author Stuart McFarlane said sleep inertia was a serious problem in today's 24-hour society.

"If you don't wake properly, your work performance can be degraded for periods up to four hours and that has been linked to major accidents," Mr McFarlane said.

The researchers had assumed a startling, clanging alarm would improve alertness but found melodic alarms had a better affect on waking.
"This is particularly important for people who might work in dangerous situations shortly after waking, like firefighters or pilots," Mr McFarlane said.

More research will be needed to find the exact melody and rhythm which works best but considering how many people wake to an alarm the study could have an impact on millions of lives.

Study co-author Adrian Dyer said the harsh beeping of an alarm may trigger sleep inertia by disrupting or confusing brain activity as we wake.

"Whereas a more melodic sound, like The Beach Boys' Good Vibrations or The Cure's Close to Me may help us transition to a waking state in a more effective way," Prof Dyer said.

Recently published in scientific journal PLoS ONE, the study postulated better understanding of the connection between sound and waking states could help advance fields in sleep technology and artificial intelligence.

"Even NASA astronauts report that sleep inertia affects their performance on the International Space Station," Prof Dyer said.

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