Waking up in the morning can be tough, but that doesn’t have to be the case. With the right song choices, your body can gently be ushered into a more energetic state. Thus, helping you start your day off on the right foot.
In 2015, Spotify joined forces with University of Cambridge PhD candidate David M. Greenberg. The aim was to curate the perfect, science-backed wake-up playlist.
The musical profiles of different songs have different physiological and psychological effects. One of the main bodily effects is the gradual matching of the beats per minute (BPM) of the music, with your heart rate. For instance, when your heart rate matches the BPM of the most relaxing songs, anxiety is reduced, and drowsiness increased.
This effect is also observable when listening to the perfect workout playlist. By finding the optimum heart rate for your workout, you can also find music that matches that BPM. Research shows this helps your heart to find and stick to that rhythm, impacting both lap times, and perceived exertion.
So, when aiming to find music that helps the body to efficiently wake from its slumber you should (according to Business Insider) be looking for a few different things:
- Music that builds — A song that is too vigorous from the start won’t help you get out of bed because it’s too much too soon. Songs that start more gently (even just for a few seconds) and then build, help you wake up more gradually.
- Positivity — Once alert, you need to become motivated for the day to come; positive lyrics can get you out of a grumpy state and shift towards a feel-good attitude.
- Strong beat — It’s not just the lyrics, it’s also the sonic elements of the music. Songs that emphasize beats two and four of each measure, usually with the bass and drums, with a BPM of approximately 100–130 will get you moving and further the feel good mood.
A Pre-Made Playlist
If it sounds like too much effort to create your own list of songs that match these requirements, you could just use this playlist developed by Spotify and David M. Greenberg.
This playlist obviously isn’t for everyone. Hearing Hit The Quan would only see me diving out of bed to violently punch the Snooze button, before diving back under the covers. But it’s not too difficult to create a wake-up playlist based on your own tastes.
Creating Your Own Playlist
When creating your own morning playlist, you’re looking to curate a list of songs that don’t just wake you up, but also continue to play in the background as you go through your morning routine.
The first song — the one that actually wakes you up — should be pretty gentle. After that, you can gradually increase the tempo and introduce stronger beats. This means effectively leading up to a motivational crescendo.
The playlist put together by Spotify is almost exclusively compiled of songs with positive tone and uplifting lyrics. And this is a strategy you should be copying too. Most of the songs in the above playlist also have a BPM of between 100 and 130.
With this in mind, a few ideas of songs you might want to consider including are:
- Alive by Pearl Jam
- Don’t Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin
- Feeling Good by Michael Bublé
- Rise and Shine by The Cardigans
- Livin’ on a Prayer by Bon Jovi
- Every Morning by Sugar Ray
- Sunrise by Norah Jones
- Walking on Sunshine by Katrina & The Waves
- Wake Up by Arcade Fire
- The Morning of Our Lives by Dan Stubbs
- Baby Love by The Supremes
- The Wake Up Bomb by REM
When it comes to finding suitable songs, you could cross check your choices with the SongBPM database. This will tell you the BPM of individual songs. Or you could use AudioKeychain which will suggest songs to you based on their genre, and the precise BPM you’re looking for. And if you’re struggling to find some new and invigorating music to add to your playlists, check out some of these awesome music discovery websites.
Listening to Your Playlist
Provided the first song on your playlist is saved to your phone’s memory card, the easiest option is to simply set that single song as your alarm. This is easily done on most devices using most alarm apps. Once that song has finished, manually press Play on the rest of the playlist (on whichever device you like).
This is because most apps that play entire playlists as alarms cannot work in the background. So as soon as you use your phone for something else the music will stop playing.
If you do want to play an entire playlist as your alarm though, there are a number of options.
Alternatively, if you’ve arranged your morning playlist as a selection of videos on YouTube, you can set that YouTube playlist as an alarm using Easy Alarm YouTube.
Apple Music & iTunes Users
If your playlist is located within Apple Music or iTunes (on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod), a great, free app to use is Nightstand Central. This is a fully-featured alarm app that allows you to select any Apple Music or iTunes playlist (or song) as your alarm. Another recommended alternative is Alarm Clock Pro, which works in a similar way.
Spotify Premium Users
If your playlist is saved to Spotify (available to paying customers), try Alarmify (iOS, Android). The Android and iOS apps are seemingly created by different developers, but work in a similar way. The Android app has fantastic reviews, while the iOS reviews are pretty negative. As an iOS user myself though, as long as you leave the app open, and click the Sleep button, it works fine. An alternative, more powerful Android-only option is Sleep as Android.
Waking Up on the Right Side of the Bed
Even if you don’t set your morning playlist as an alarm, it’s handy to have it on hand to hit Play as soon as you’re downstairs preparing your first hit of caffeine.
The psychological and physiological effects which a carefully curated playlist will have are almost guaranteed to help lift your mood, increase your motivation, and improve your productivity.
And now it’s over to you to let us know which songs help you to wake up in the morning. So please let us know in the comments below!
Image Credits: NotarYES via Shutterstock, Lightwavemedia via Shutterstock.com, Mladen Mitrinovic via Shutterstock.com, Ollyy via Shutterstock.com