I’ve completely eliminated the alarm clock from my morning routine for about six months. The biggest impacts it's had on my life are:
Becoming a morning person is a necessary side effect of not using an alarm clock because it requires the body to naturally wake up early enough for work, school, or other regular obligations. Although I’ve historically enjoyed staying up late, the brutal truth is that all humans require a certain amount of sleep, and this can't be consistently fought without an alarm clock.
The best part about eliminating alarm clocks from my life is how it has affected my day. It’s not a hidden secret that good sleep habits translate to:
I can confidently say I really do feel all these benefits. In the end, it's not to any real surprise. The alarm clock interupts one of the most important cycles of your body, and so it only makes sense to leave sleep alone so it can do what it needs to do.
Once I decided to try this experiment, I created a simple plan to implement it. Before this life change, my sleep schedule was from around 1 am to 8 am. So, the first thing I did was set an alarm for the target time I wanted to naturally wake up, in my case, 7 am.
The first night resulted in 6 hours of sleep (1 am to 7 am). My body needs more than that, so by the time 11 pm rolled around, I was ready to fall asleep. It was initially tough to sleep earlier than normal, as I felt there was still time to do things, but I let my body dictate my actions and went to bed without an alarm.
That night, I slept for about 9 hours due to sleep debt. I missed my 7 am target, but it wasn’t a big deal. After that, with my body reset, I simply aimed to continue to sleep around 11 pm, meaning I was in bed by 10:30 pm. The pressure of needing to naturally wake up before work was enough motivation to forgo the later hours of the night and continue heading to bed early.
Now, I’ve settled into a great rhythm of going to bed around 10-10:30 pm and waking up around 6:30 am. What’s great is discovering how much sleep my body naturally needs (8-8.5 hours). No more trying to "hack" my body with things like miserable polyphasic sleep experiments. I know what my body needs, I succumb to it, and I’m rewarded the next day.
What worked for me won’t necessarily work for everyone. Each person and their situation is unique, so results will obviously vary. Some unique factors for me are:
One final note: I still use alarm clocks for special occasions, such as early morning flights. Although I could probably wake up naturally for them, without an alarm set, I would probably wake up in the middle of the night stressed about the possibility of missing my flight.
This change has been significant enough in my life that I frequently recommend it to friends. I now honestly believe that the alarm clock is the single worst thing the wider population willingly inflicts on themselves. If you’re willing to eliminate the morning alarm clock from your life, I would love to hear how it goes. Feel free to email me at [email protected]. Good luck!