How to Wake Up Without an Alarm

October 22, 2020

How to Wake Up Without an Alarm - More Naturally! | Happy As Annie

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Hate waking up to an obnoxious alarm that jars you out of your sweet slumber?

Waking up to an alarm virtually guaranteed an annoying and angry start to my day. And if you, like me, struggle with anxiety, depression, irritability, mood swings, or a simple hatred of the morning hours,  that is simply too big a risk to take each day!

Here are four more natural and more pleasant ways to wake up at a reasonable time in the morning.

But first, a couple disclaimers.

I have the luxury of working from home since the pandemic and being able to more or less set my own hours. I don’t have to clock in at a hospital or a coffee shop at 5:00 am! Also, I don’t have children, which God knows is a luxury when it comes to sleep and relaxation and all that stuff. So I certainly recognize and thank my lucky stars for my privilege every day and in writing this post.

I assume you are in a similar enough, even if not exact, boat to be reading this post. I just wanted to throw that out there before a sleep-deprived mom screams in the comments that this is completely unrealistic. Because I feel you and see you, and you’re right that this may not work for you.

With that said, let’s get to it.

Unavoidable math: If you want to wake up early, you have to go to sleep early. 

You know your body best, of course. And some of us may just need five or six hours of sleep to recharge. I need about seven or eight. You may need closer to nine. But whatever you need, if you want to wake up naturally at a reasonable time in the morning without the need for an alarm clock to blast through a REM cycle, do the math and go to sleep early enough.

I like getting up by 8 am. Earlier if I can swing it but I’ve been having major cocoon tendencies since the pandemic.

So if I want to wake up naturally by 8:00 am and I know my body needs about eight hours of sleep, the math is clear: I should be asleep by midnight. If I want to start stirring in the morning by 7:00 am, I should be asleep (asleep – not flossing or reading or checking Instagram) by eleven.

Once your sleep is under a fair amount of control, here are four different things that could start to wake you up more naturally but, surprisingly, just as effectively as an alarm.

1. Leave your blinds up so you can wake up with the sun.

If you live in enough privacy to do this, leave your blinds up or your curtains open when you go to sleep so you can wake up with the sun.

Our bedroom is on the second floor, which means I can do this regularly. And we have a giant window pouring all sorts of light onto my side of the bed. It is glorious to wake up to the morning sky (although, full disclosure, falling asleep under a brilliant full moon has proven a bit more challenging).

Sunlight, or any light in general, is less jarring and disturbing a wake-up nudge than a blaring alarm on your phone.

2. Leave the window open so you can wake up to the birds.

We have quite the cacophony of birds outside our apartment every morning. In fact, they congregate quite early, and sometimes we’ll even hear wild parrots flying down to the L.A. river in the morning. I’ve been known to curse these birds on occasion if I’ve had a rough night, but I feel really guilty about it soon afterward. I’d rather wake up to lovely signs of nature in the middle of Los Angeles than an obnoxious iPhone alarm any day.

(Wondering how to create the perfect morning routine? Click here.)

3. Get a dog – you’ll never sleep in again.

Jagger’s internal clock is ridiculously accurate. So much so that Daylight Savings Time makes him very upset. Jagger usually sleeps on the couch in the living room, but at 7:59 am sharp, he wakes up and does his LOUD AS FUCKING HELL full-body wake up jiggle and shake. The wild flapping of his ears will wake the dead. Then he tippy-taps across the hardwood floor into our room and sits as tall as he can for as long as he can, waiting to be noticed by one of us.

And don’t you worry. If we try to pretend we don’t hear him, the barking and pawing ensues to make sure we are up and at ’em.

(Related: Turn Your Morning Shower into a Powerful Magical Ritual)

4. If you have to set an alarm, set the alarm on your coffee maker, not your phone.

Everybody all together now: “The best part of waking up, is Folgers in your cupppppp!”

I mention this one last because it’s kind of cheating. It is most definitely an alarm and it is not exactly “natural” since it involves machinery. My coffee maker lets out a pretty high-pitched beep to signal that a glorious pot of coffee is now waiting to be guzzled down. However, the shrillness is forgivable because it’s all the way in the kitchen, not right next to my head. And, as soon as I’m conscious, the delicious aroma of coffee lures me out of bed like a carrot on a stick.

(Related: Turn Your Morning Coffee into a Powerful Magical Ritual)

Let me know if you try any of these! Have any other tips for waking up more pleasantly? Leave them in the comments below!

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  • Reply VetAllPet October 22, 2020 at 11:43 am

    I love those tips, especially the get a dog one!

    • Reply HappyAsAnnie October 22, 2020 at 10:32 pm

      Thanks for reading! 🙂

  • Reply Scout Twentytwenty October 22, 2020 at 12:17 pm

    All great alternatives to waking up without an alarm! The one about the dog cracked me up 🙂

    • Reply HappyAsAnnie October 22, 2020 at 10:33 pm

      Haha, I’m glad! 🙂

  • Reply Prisca October 22, 2020 at 2:50 pm

    Very cute tips. My dog is no help though. Lol

    • Reply HappyAsAnnie October 22, 2020 at 10:33 pm

      Prisca, does your do sleep in?

  • Reply hari October 22, 2020 at 6:51 pm

    yes, these are all fantastic alternatives to the cellphone alarm.
    I especially love the idea of setting your alarm in the coffee maker.
    thanks for sharing this helpful post.

    • Reply HappyAsAnnie October 22, 2020 at 10:33 pm

      A programmable coffee maker is a game changer, Hari!

  • Reply Aditi Jain October 23, 2020 at 11:38 am

    I loved the coffee maker idea. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply HappyAsAnnie October 23, 2020 at 2:03 pm

      You’re welcome, Aditi! Are you a big coffee drinker?

  • Reply Nathalia Basso October 24, 2020 at 11:56 am

    Setting your alarm on something that’s not a phone is such a great tip! Sunrise alarms are great if you can’t sleep with the blinds open.

    Nathalia | NathaliaFit – Fitness & Wellness Blog

    • Reply HappyAsAnnie October 24, 2020 at 12:03 pm

      I agree, Nathalia! I used to live on a ground floor apartment with a window to the sidewalk so those blinds stayed shut FO SHO. But if you’re on a higher floor it might do the trick. 🙂

  • Reply Natalie October 26, 2020 at 5:16 pm

    The coffee maker idea is awesome. Lol. Should definitely try that one. ☺

    • Reply HappyAsAnnie October 26, 2020 at 9:13 pm

      Right!? 🙂

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