Why do we wake up before our alarm clocks in a panic?

Have you ever woken up from a stress-induced panic, only to find out you woke up earlier than expected? This happens to me quite often and after a little research, I discovered a lot of people experienced the same thing.

The reason this happens is that your body has an internal clock, that’s essentially your personal alarm clock. By having a diligent sleep routine, your circadian rhythm behaves in the same way, following a predictable daily sleep-and-wake pattern.

Your body uses a protein called Period (PER), which controls your blood pressure and heart rate. PER also manages when your body becomes tired, alerts you when it’s bedtime, and when to wake up.

Waking up with an alarm clock, daily, can cause your body to experience stress due to how abrupt it is. If you follow a daily sleep routine, your body learns to increase your PER levels in time for your alarm.

About an hour before your scheduled alarm, your PER levels rise, and your body releases a mix of stress hormones. This causes your sleep to get lighter, gradually waking you up right before your alarm goes off. Naturally, this process gives you a head start on waking up and is so precise, that you might even wake up seconds before your alarm.

A group of German sleep scientists, from the University of Lubeck, discovered you can train yourself to wake up on time, too. With 15 volunteers, the scientists conducted a three-day sleep experiment. During this experiment, the group was told that they would be woken up at 6 a.m. the first day, and 9 a.m. the following day.

During the first day, the scientists discovered that the sleepers stress hormones increased significantly at 4:30 a.m., as if they were anticipating the morning. That day, the scientists woke up their volunteers at 6 a.m. again, instead of 9 a.m., and the results were startling. The volunteer’s hormones did not increase, and the panic caused them all to wake up extremely groggy and incredibly sleepy.

The results of this study conclude that our bodies take note of the time we want to begin our day and prepare us for consciousness. Also, if you don’t wake up before your alarm, you are most likely not getting enough sleep or don’t have a consistent sleep schedule. Your body needs consistency, or you will always wake up dazed and confused.

In the end, our body reacts to how well we take care of it. Getting enough sleep and having consistently in our sleep schedules, are very important things to improve our personal health. If you haven’t done so already, get your sleep life back on track and focus on getting as much rest as you can. We only have one body, so make sure you treat it right.