Melodic alarms can improve alertness levels: Study

Sydney: Finding hard to get out of bed? Melodic alarms can help you. A new study shows that melodic alarms could improve alertness levels, with harsh alarm tones linked to increased levels of morning grogginess of sleep inertia.

The study, published in PLoS One journal, involved 50 participants, using a specially designed online survey that enables them to remotely contribute to the study from the comfort of their own home.

Each person logged what type of sound they used to wake up, and then rated their grogginess and alertness levels against standardized sleep inertia criteria.

“Morning grogginess was a serious problem in our 24-hour world. 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,” said the study’s lead author Stuart McFarlane, a doctoral researcher at RMIT University in the US.

According to the researchers, the finding could have important implications for anyone who needs to perform at their peak soon after waking, such as shift workers and emergency first responders.

“Although more research is needed to better understand the precise combination of melody and rhythm that might work best, considering that most people use alarms to wake up, the sound you choose may have important ramifications,” McFarlane said.

“This is particularly important for people who might work in dangerous situations shortly after waking, like firefighters or pilots, but also for anyone who has to be rapidly alert, such as someone driving to the hospital in an emergency,” McFarlane added.

The research could help contribute to the design of more efficient interventions for people to use on their own devices to wake up properly.

“This study is important, as even NASA astronauts report that sleep inertia affects their performance on the International Space Station,” said the study’s co-author Adrian Dyer, Associate Professor at the varsity.

“We think that a harsh ‘beep beep beep’ might work to disrupt or confuse our brain activity when waking, while 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,” Dyer added.

“If we can continue to improve our understanding of the connection between sounds and waking state, there could be potential for applications in many fields, particularly with recent advancements in sleep technology and Artificial Intelligence (AI),” Dyer concluded.


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