Waking up is hard to do; even harder and more jarring when an alarm clock is involved. At the mercy of stress, illness, bad mattresses, lack of time, and alarm clocks; most of us find our natural sleep rhythm disrupted and the quest for a fully restful night sleep simply out of reach.
Researchers at the Jerusalem College of Engineering may not be able to help with our random stresses, or the broken mattress spring that might be stabbing us in the back, or any other random excuses we all use to not get a good night sleep. They may; however, have the answer to a good night sleep in the guise of a revolutionary alarm clock.
One of the biggest problems with your average run-of-the-mill alarm clock is that they don’t follow our natural rhythm of sleep. Any disruption in the sleep cycle, including being woken up during deep sleep can leave someone groggy and exhausted. The rapid eye movement (REM) sleep cycle, is usually the easiest stage to wake up. It is during this stage of sleep that we will awaken peacefully, naturally and well rested. It is during this REM stage of sleep in which we dream and it is the stage of sleep in which we are closest to being fully conscious.
Unfortunately, a normal alarm clock doesn’t care if we are in a light, nearly conscious state of sleep nor does it care if we are in a deep comatose sleep cycle. A normal alarm will start its incessant cacophonous scream, always at the exact same time; our sleep cycle and restfulness be damned.
That is until now.
With the development of Jemina Asnoth Sylvia and her research team’s new sleep analysis alarm clock, a bad night's sleep may be a thing of the past. With the help of EEG electrodes attached to the scalp, the alarm can measure your stage of sleep. If you are in REM or a lighter stage of sleep, the alarm will sound off as it should and you would be woken up, refreshed. If, however, you are in a deep sleep, the alarm will automatically put itself into snooze mode for an extra 45 minutes, which is the average time that your body likely needs to reach the lighter stages of sleep.
While in theory, this alarm could provide a more restful night sleep, and sleep is very important to our health, I personally would find it a bit stressful. If I use an alarm clock it is because I need to get up at a specific time and while a restful night's sleep would be nice, it would not be worth the headache and aggravation if I wake up nearly an hour late. It is of course quite possible that I could set the alarm 45 minutes early, but then that runs the risk of missing nearly an hour of sleep. Who wants to do that? This isn’t even taking into account having to deal with a bunch of EEG electrodes attached to your head. That can’t be comfortable.
Needless to say, a good night’s rest is essential for our health, and while Jemina Asnoth Sylvia’s new alarm clock may still need some fine tuning before it can be a valid consumer product, it is a step in the right direction for providing ways for people to get a healthy night sleep. Then again, not staying up past our bedtimes might help with that too.