To prevent sleeping through an alarm, a person may try to improve their sleep quality, sleep routine, and explore alternative methods of waking up, such as a different alarm.

Sleep is an important function that enables the body and mind to repair, rest, and reenergize. Some people may experience poor quality sleep or not get enough sleep. This may result in them sleeping through their alarm, which can have implications on commitments such as work.

Not getting enough quality sleep may put people at a higher risk of health complications such as hypertension, stroke, and heart disease. Experts suggest that adults regularly get 7 or more hours of sleep each day.

This article provides tips that may help a person improve their sleep quality and prevent them from sleeping through their alarm.

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Poor quality sleep may cause someone to sleep through their alarm. A person may consider ways to improve their sleep quality and duration and be more attuned to their alarm.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that a person be consistent in the times they go to sleep and get up. This includes maintaining the same sleep schedule on weekends and days off.

Sleep hygiene is a term that describes habits that promote quality sleep. Some ways a person may improve sleep hygiene include:

  • only sleeping when actually feeling tired or sleepy
  • if unable to fall asleep after 20 minutes, getting up and doing something relaxing until feeling sleepy
  • avoiding nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol
  • only using the bedroom for sleeping
  • not taking naps
  • developing sleep rituals, such as stretching or meditation, to help the body associate them with bedtime

If a person is sleeping through their alarm, they may want to try a different type of alarm:

  • Sunrise alarm clocks: These alarms work by mimicking the effect of natural morning light. Research suggests that light exposure before waking in the summer leads to increased morning alertness, improved mood, and longer deep sleep duration.
  • Fitness trackers or smart watches: A person may consider setting an alarm on these devices as an alternative to a tabletop alarm. When these alarms go off, they vibrate on a person’s wrist, which may be more effective than an alarm that relies on sound. Some also allow a person to set an alarm window, where the device can wake a person up when they are in a lighter stage of sleep.
  • Another person: If a person sleeps through a technology-based alarm, they may consider asking another person to wake them up, such as a family member or someone they live with.

The authors of a 2018 systematic literature review note that resistance exercises, such as weight training, may improve many aspects of sleep but have the greatest benefit for sleep quality. They also highlight that more research is necessary to better understand how resistance exercise may affect sleep.

A 2020 study exploring sleep quality, stress, and academic performance among medical students found that lower sleep quality is linked to higher stress levels.

Another 2020 study adds that there may be a bidirectional relationship between sleep quality and stress. This means that not getting enough quality sleep may cause stress and that stress may lead to poorer quality sleep.

A 2020 review suggests that high carbohydrate diets may improve a person’s quality of sleep. The same study indicates that foods containing the following compounds may also help improve sleep:

People should speak with a doctor about how to develop and maintain a healthy diet.

There are a number of natural remedies that may help improve the quality of someone’s sleep. These may include:

  • Lavender: A 2015 study found that inhaling lavender alongside practicing good sleep hygiene may lead to an improvement in sleep quality.
  • Magnesium: Researchers found that magnesium may help sleep quality and longer sleep duration.
  • 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP): Research suggests that 5-HTP may help reduce the amount of time it takes for someone to fall asleep. However, the authors note that if the body becomes acclimated to 5-HTP supplements, this effect may not last.

A person should not take any supplements or herbal remedies without a doctor’s guidance, as these substances may interact with a person’s medication or have side effects. A healthcare professional may also be able to recommend reputable supplement manufacturers.

Further resources

For more in-depth resources about vitamins, minerals, and supplements, visit our dedicated hub.

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A person should consider contacting a doctor if, in addition to regularly sleeping through their alarm, they experience sleep problems that interfere with their daily life.

A doctor may be able to help them determine why they are sleeping through their alarm. The issue may be related to an undiagnosed sleep disorder.

If a medical professional identifies an underlying cause, they will be able to suggest appropriate treatment. If they do not identify an underlying cause, they may offer advice about how a person can improve their sleep schedule or sleep hygiene.

If a person is having difficulty waking up using a traditional alarm, they may consider different techniques and strategies. This could include improving their sleep routine and hygiene, using alternative alarms, exercising, and making dietary changes.

If a person continues to have difficulty sleeping, they may wish to consult a healthcare professional who can provide further advice and help identify whether an underlying condition may be affecting their sleep.