why do I sleep through alarms?
Better Sleep

How To Stop Sleeping Through Alarms (Avoid Snooze Button!)

Last Updated on February 10, 2024 by Louise Carter

Nobody likes waking up first thing in the morning, but it’s something we learn to accept.

Not waking up when your alarm goes off means you need extra sleep. To avoid sleeping through alarms, position it further from your bed so you’re forced to get up to press the snooze button.

You can also use a light-based alarm clock that wakes you up at the end of your sleep cycle. Change the type of alarm noise to a different one so the brain is less likely to ignore it.

Ensure your sleep cycles are right when the alarm goes off. The more sleep you get beforehand, the higher your PER protein levels. PER protein is the natural chemical that wakes us up.

Why Do Alarm Clocks Not Wake Me Up?

Most people sleep through their morning alarms because they’re not getting sufficient rest. This could be because they go to bed too late or experience disturbed sleep.

They sleep through their alarms because their bodies have decreased the amount of PER protein in their system. This is intended to promote sleep, where the body can regenerate.

PER protein is crucial in the human sleep cycle because you get good sleep and wake up refreshed. This is why it’s called the genetic alarm of the biological clock.

The ‘biological alarm clock’ makes waking up more relaxing. When PER levels are low, the body:

  • Lower blood pressure levels.
  • Reduces the heart rate.
  • Slows cognitive functions.

This is what makes us sleepy. When a person has a healthy, regular sleep schedule, the body will gradually increase PER levels in the hour before the body is due to wake up.

Eventually, a cocktail of stress hormones is released to rouse us from sleep.

You may be sleeping through an alarm because the body doesn’t think you’re ready. It’s trying to help you get more sleep, with personal responsibilities (and your alarm clock) being disregarded.

Of course, there are other answers to the question, “Why do I sleep through alarms?”

how to wake up to an alarm if you’re a deep sleeper

Inconsistent Sleep Schedule

You may sleep through the alarm due to an inconsistent sleep schedule. This is common among people who work shifts with irregular patterns, disrupting the body’s circadian rhythm.

That leads to a deep sleep cycle when the alarm goes off, allowing the body to ignore it.

Sleep Disorders

A clinical issue could be a sleep or circadian rhythm disorder. It could be a clinical disorder when matters like this recur without cause. Jet lag is an example of sleep disruption, but it’s only temporary.

Heavy Sleeper

Just as people’s sleep schedules are personal, the time spent in deep sleep also differs significantly.

Some people are prone to light sleep, awakening several times at night. Meanwhile, others spend most of their time in deep sleep and find it very difficult to wake up when the time calls.

According to the American Physiological Society, this is due to sleep spindles, a form of brain activity during deep non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep.

This suggests they act as a noise-canceling device, making it harder for a sleeper to be disturbed. That’s ideal for a good night’s rest but problematic if you need to get up with an early alarm call.

How Do Alarm Clocks Wake Us Up?

Releasing a cocktail of stress hormones is something your natural and external alarm clocks (like those in iPhones and certain clocks) have in common.

Unlike the natural wake-up process, alarm clocks lead to a sudden and stressful wake-up process.

It’s not subtle like the PER protein; it’s immediate and jarring. Alarm clock noises are intended to be stressful to our ears and bodies, intentionally scaring us awake.

This is why some people wake up before their regularly scheduled alarms. The human body likes routine and dislikes stress, so it’ll adapt to a regular alarm by signaling you to wake up before it sounds.

This is a way to avoid the stress caused by a sudden, jarring noise pulling you from sleep. It’s also trying to ensure the body completes an entire sleep cycle before awakening.

I Keep Unconsciously Turning Off My Alarm

You may keep waking up to find that you’ve turned off your alarm while asleep. It’s common to wake up in the middle of the night, but most of us have no recollection.

According to the National Institute of Health, the average person wakes up 6 times per night. However, some wake up more often, and many experience fewer episodes of wakefulness than others.

If the body is in the middle of a sleep cycle and an alarm triggers a period of wakefulness, it’s likely you turned off the alarm and returned to sleep without remembering your actions.

unconsciously turning off my alarm

How To Stop Hitting Snooze By Accident

This involves encouraging the body to become more alert before hitting the snooze button. This could include making the following simple adjustments:

  • Position the alarm further away so you must get out of bed to switch it off.
  • Changing to a new type of alarm so the body doesn’t tune out.

Very loud alarms can cause a surge of adrenaline. However, they’re stressful and often ineffective ways to ensure you wake up.

A daylight alarm clock is a more effective and restful way to get up without hitting the snooze button. This is useful during the winter when the mornings are dark and gloomy.

They work by simulating the increasing natural light of dawn to kick-start the body’s natural alarm clock. This process starts 15-30 minutes before the scheduled wake-up time to wake you up.

How to Wake Up to an Alarm If You’re a Deep Sleeper

Deep sleepers have the most difficulty waking up to an alarm, but there are ways around this problem. 

In addition to switching to a light-based alarm, you can use natural bodily functions to wake yourself. For example, drinking 1-2 glasses of water before bed can wake you early.

Of course, if you drink too much water before bed, you’ll wake up early to go to the toilet. However, it’s uncommon for adults without a medical problem to release their bladders without waking up.

You could sleep with the curtains or blinds open to let natural light in as the sun rises. This may be enough to help the body enter a state where it can respond positively to your alarms.

This will, of course, be more effective in the summertime when the sun rises early.

You could find a way to make waking up pleasant. Find something you enjoy doing to ensure you have something to look forward to and a good reason to pay attention to the alarm.