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Artful Sleeping: Songs to Wake Up To – Part 1

In this day and age, many people use their alarm clocks on their phones and program it to play a favorite song to wake them up. If you have never done this and would like to give it a try here is a quick overview of how you can set your iPhone to play any song in your library as your personal alarm clock. Android has a few apps that can provide the same functionality. I have long been a fan of waking up to good music, and I have tried out many songs, styles and patterns to see what is the best way to wake up. I happen to be a particularly heavy sleeper, so waking up is a critical issue for me, which is way I have spent many waking minutes trying to figure a good system out.

In general, I like to set two alarms, one 50 minutes before I need to leave the house, and one 30 minutes before I need to leave the house. I like to choose a nice, mellow song to for the first alarm, one to gently nudge me awake, but with the supreme pleasure of knowing I can roll over for another 20 minutes. I choose a more upbeat, on the verge of crazy song for the second alarm, one that jolts me out of bed, ready for the day. The difference between the songs must be balanced to get me awake, and to have a little music fun in the morning. Here are a couple of my ‘well researched’ choices:

 Artful Sleeping: Songs to Wake Up To – Part I

First Alarm

Hot Chip – Alley Cats

This is my personal favorite first alarm song. It is smooth, subtle and melodic. I like how it repeats words and rhymes to draw you into its story, reminding me of dream imagery and sounds. It also has a great “engine-like” background rhythm that helps get you going in the morning, and know its an alarm and not a song to lull you back to sleep.
The Beatles – Here Comes the Sun

Another great first alarm song. This Beatles classic opens with a small guitar riff and almost whispered voice of George Harrison, and it enters your sleepy consciousness, like the first rays of the morning sun. This song has an equally great buildup, charging you to get up and start your day. Its message of positive vibes and life being alright because the sun is there is an equally fabulous message to ring in your head when the day starts.

Nujabes – Spiritual State (feat. UyamaHiroto)

This one is the only one on the list that is purely instrumental. It was recorded posthumously for Nujabes, a Japanese hip-hop/jazz DJ. This song brings an ethereal feel to waking up in the morning, blending beautiful jazz saxophone and cascading piano melodies. The creativity of the melodies against the repetitive, shuffling background rhythm makes this song a great first alarm song to wake up to.

Stay tuned for next week’s Songs to Wake Up To – Part 2 for more upbeat alarm songs to give your day a fast start. Also, list some of your favorite alarm clock songs in the comments below!

Note: Josh Tal is the blogger behind the Artful Sleeping blog. You can read his first two dispatches on songs about insomnia and movies about dreaming.

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