According to a study by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) which surveyed 50 participants, the type of sound you wake up to can have a big impact on sleep inertia2 -- otherwise known as "morning grogginess3."
While the data is likely to be helpful to most weary-eyed workers scrambling4 to get to their jobs on time each morning, the research may also be extremely valuable for shift workers and emergency first responders.
"If you don't wake properly, your work performance can be degraded for periods up to four hours, and that has been linked to major accidents," Lead author from RMIT Stuart McFarlane said on Sunday.
"Although more research is needed to better understand the precise combination of melody and rhythm that might work best, considering that most people use alarms to wake up, the sound you choose may have important ramifications5."
"This is particularly important for people who might work in dangerous situations shortly after waking, like firefighters or pilots, but also for anyone who has to be rapidly alert, such as someone driving to hospital in an emergency."
While it is not clear why melodic music appears to alleviate6 the effects of sleep inertia, co-author Associate Professor Adrian Dyer, from RMIT's School of Media and Communication and Digital Ethnography Research Centre, suggests that harsh "beep beep beep" tones may work to "disrupt or confuse our brain activity when waking."
"But more melodic sounds like the Beach Boys 'Good Vibrations7' or The Cure's 'Close to Me' may help us transition to a waking state in a more effective way," he said.
"If we can continue to improve our understanding of the connection between sounds and waking state, there could be potential for applications in many fields, particularly with recent advancements8 in sleep technology and artificial intelligence."
"This study is important, as even NASA astronauts report that sleep inertia affects their performance on the International Space Station," Dyer added.