If waking up for your morning workout normally means a grating beeping sound and three pushes of the snooze button, this post could be about to change everything. There’s a very easy way to start your day feeling alert, positive and raring to go… change your alarm ringtone to a song that makes you sing. Here’s what you need to know…
Why It’s Good To Workout Early
You might be thinking this whole issue could easily be solved if you simply skipped your morning workout and headed to the gym in the afternoon instead – and, if that works for you, awesome, hit that snooze button…
But, if you find yourself skipping your afternoon workout because life gets in the way, then morning workouts are the way to go as studies show that those who work out in the morning are more likely to stick with their plans
There’s also ‘biological’ reasons why it’s a good idea to move first thing. Studies from the US’s Northwestern University have shown that people exposed to bright light in the morning seem to have a lower BMI than those that snuggle under the duvet for as long as possible.
Exactly why isn’t known but it’s possible that it regulates appetite hormone and may even alter the way we metabolise sugars.
Why We Feel Groggy in the Morning
You might think it’s just because you haven’t had enough sleep (and if that is the case, check out our post on ways to fall asleep faster), but, if you wake up at the wrong point you can still feel rubbish after eight hours of snoozing.
You see when you fall asleep, you’re not just continuously out for the count until you wake up in the morning. We actually sleep in cycles of about 90-120 minutes; if you wake up at the right point in your cycle when you’re already in a light phase of sleep, it won’t take long before you feel bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and happy to go and workout.
But if you’re jolted out of a deep sleep by something like an alarm you’ll experience something called sleep intertia which leaves you feeling groggy and a bit spaced out.
Sleep tracking apps like Sleep Cycle aim to wake you up at the right point in your sleep cycle to avoid this sensation, but, it seems that the quickest and easiest way to make yourself feel more alert in the morning is to set your alarm tone to a motiving song.
Looking for some other ways to raise mood or energy, have a look at some of the guides in our How To section.
We’ve covered some quick fire ways to raise energy – some of which work very fast if you need quick morning boost
And finally, we’ve got a heap of suggestions on ways to feel happier and raise your mood.
Science Proves It
I’m updating this post in April 2021 and a few days ago, researchers at Australia’s RMIT University in Melbourne announced a new research study on this very idea.
They found that when people woke up to a melodic tune they could sing along to, they were considerably more alert than if they were woken by other sounds. They even got them playing computer games as soon as they woke up to prove it.
The researchers say they aren’t sure exactly why singalong tunes have this effect on sleep inertia levels, but it’s something they want to investigate further in the future.
And the RMIT team aren’t the only group to have found positive effects in starting your day with a happy song.
Back in 2016 streaming service, Spotify decided to look into the science of waking up and working with a PhD candidate at the University of Cambridge in England, they found that the song you wake up to can shape your whole day.
Yep, it Works…
Now admittedly, I had already discovered this. In fact, I first published a post on this on the blog in 2014 (as you’ll tell by the song that proved to me). Here’s what that post said…
Until recently my alarm was a nice tinkly bell sound, then one day I had to get up early for a flight and the only place to charge my phone was a long way away from my bed.
Worried that we might not wake up, The Boyfriend set the alarm to that horrible klaxon sound that you just can’t sleep through.
The problem is, I didn’t look at what he was doing and so I then spent six weeks waking up to the horrible klaxon sound. It did not start my day well.
Eventually, I decided enough was enough and made him teach me how to change it (it was remarkably easy if you know where to look – big hint, it’s not in sounds, it’s in the alarm app itself!) and as I was doing it I noticed I had the option to add a song as my wake up tone.
More importantly, the song that was being suggested was Best Day Of My Life by American Authors.
Erm, talk about most motivating thought to wake up to EVER. Plus it starts with some jaunty woo woos and a woo woo makes everyone happy right?
So that’s it – my alarm ring tone is now Best Day of My Life and weirdly it does make me think ‘wow, what could actually happen today.
Could it really be the best day of my whole life?’
And any day that starts that full of hope and possibilities is a good one I reckon. If you’re not into the tunes of 2014 though, here’s a few other ideas you might want to load into your alarm…
25 Other Brilliant Wake Up Songs
Here’s some other positive wake up tunes to consider…
Lovely Day – Bill Withers – oh come on, it’s obvious why!
One Day Like This – Elbow – not just for weddings!
Mr Blue Sky – ELO (this is also the most brilliant running song)
It’s My Life – Bon Jovi – karaoke classic turned awesome way to start the day
Viva La Vida – Coldplay – this came out No1 on the Spotify suggestions.
Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and the Waves Every body say ‘summer’
Titanium – Sia (see also Bulletproof by La Roux)
Jump Around – House of Pain: Okay, so it’s maybe not the calmest wake-up call, but I bet you can’t stay still when you hear those first screechy notes…
Lose Yourself – Eminem: ‘You only get one shot do not miss your chance to blow, this opportunity only comes once in a lifetime.’
Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go – Wham: Jitterbug! Jitterbug!
Happy – Pharell. No explanation needed.
Seven Nation Army – The Strokes No, a Seven Nation Army can’t hold you back – get up, get your kit on and go do your workout!
Right Here, Right Now – Fatboy Slim
Stronger – Britney Spears
Borderline – Madonna. This was one of the tunes suggested by the RMIT team.
I Gotta Feelin’ – Black Eyed Peas –okay so it’s gonna be a good night, but it can also be a good day before then too
Break My Stride – Matthew Wilder. If nothing else the sheer cheesiness of it will get you out of bed smiling.
On Top of the World – Imagine Dragons (this is also one of my favourite running songs)
Beautiful Day – U2 – it’ll wake you up!
It’s a Great Day to Be Alive – Travis Tritt – okay, so you might not start your day cooking rice in the microwave, but…
Don’t Stop Me Now – Queen. No day could be bad if it starts with this!
Shake It Off – Taylor Swift (for those mornings where you’re not quite in the right mood!)
My Shot – from Hamilton. No, don’t throw away your shot!
Daydream Believer – The Monkees. Cheer up, sleepy Jean – there’s a treadmill with your name on it at the gym!
You’re Welcome – The Rock (okay so that one just cheers me up at any point in the day!)
Now you’re awake, you might be wondering what to do with your time, in which case, check out our post on how to create an amazing healthy morning routine. It’ll explain how to do this well, give you some ideas of what you might want to include – and, pinpoint some common morning mistakes you won’t want to make.
First published July 26 2014
Who is The Wellness Nerd?
My name is Helen Foster, and I’m a health journalist and wellness author. Publications I’ve written for include Women’s Health, Reader’s Digest, Body and Soul, Good Health at the Daily Mail, and more. I have also written 16 books on health and nutrition.