How would you feel about waking every day to a siren sounding in your bedroom? Or how about the crashing of cymbals right next to your head? This is the stuff of nightmares. Yet it is not that far removed from most folks' actual morning experience.
Take alarm clocks. Please. Their very name indicates their primary quality. They frighten, startle, warn, or shock us into wakefulness. And they take several forms. We once had old-fashioned alarm clocks, the kind with two brass bells and a hammer that struck both bells with infuriating speed, creating a metallic cacophony that could wake the dead. There are electric alarms that buzz with ever-increasing loudness. There are radio alarms that blare out early morning news, commercials, or random music. And on and on.
The alarm clock is a form of violence. It jars us at the time when we are most vulnerable and helpless. Sometimes we respond in kind. We in the West have been shocking ourselves into wakefulness for a long time. It has not always been like this, however. For thousands of years people have paid more attention to how they awaken and are awakened. In many cultures, it is believed that the soul travels when we are asleep. Thus, it is very important that the sleeper is brought gently to wakefulness so that his or her soul might find its way back.
For traditional peoples around the world, this is a matter of life and death. The Havasupai of the American southwest felt that there was a delicate thread between the night-traveling soul and the body of the dreamer and that any sudden awakening might cut the thread and prevent the soul from returning to the body. The Xingu people of central Brazil similarly aver that sudden waking prevents the soul from returning to the body.
In Africa, the Azande and Masai peoples both caution against waking a person suddenly - an aggressive awakening may lead to death. In Japan, too, the Ainu call for waking people slowly to allow the soul and body to reunite, as do the Bororo Indians of Brazil, the Toradja of Sulawesi in Indonesia, and the Andaman Islanders of the Pacific. Since the method of awakening is so important, many cultures have developed etiquette around it. The Maori of New Zealand consider it a breach of manners to awaken a guest. If, however, it becomes necessary, the host will begin in soft, low tones and increase gradually in volume until the visitor is awake. This gives the spirit time to return to the body. The Kol people of central India and Murngin people Australia follow a similar waking routine.
Of course, we know that people awaken suddenly every day and do not die. But to dismiss the experiences of innumerable other civilizations out of hand would be to miss the point. It is clear that something gets lost when we are awakened sharply and suddenly. It is our dream consciousness that loses its way back to the waking state.
Sudden, abrupt waking in the morning as with loud, conventional alarm clocks and the associated release of stress hormones from the adrenal gland can be avoided by using this novel and intelligent self adapting, personal sleep cycle alarm clock "Gentle Alarm".
Stuerenburg sees health benefits of this intelligent innovation in weight loss, stress reduction, increase of skeletal muscle mass, pain reduction, enhanced male virility, improvement of cognitive performance, improvement of fatigue, chronic fatigue and better general health and physical fitness.
Gentle Alarm is easy to use. In order to be woken up smoothly, sleepers will be guided from the deep sleep phase or dream phase into the light sleep phase by gentle sounds.
Unlike the hitherto existing sleep cycle alarm clocks Gentle Alarm does not require additional implement such as wristband motion sensors, sound sensors or movement sensors. Users simply set their desired wake up time. After waking up, they merely slide a finger across the screen to stop the alarm. Everything else is taken care of by the patented and intelligent system.
The "Gentle Alarm" - app works by waking users up during their normally occurring periods of light sleep so that instead of rude awakenings associated with cortisol and stress hormone release they experience mornings where they feel they were biologically woken up by their own bodies as opposed to mechanically through intrusive sound or motion.
When you couple these facts with the app's smooth interface and user friendly lay out, it comes as no surprise that the "Gentle Alarm" was ranked among the ten best alarm clocks in the entire world. In November 2010 "The Independent", London, UK, one of the four largest British quality newspapers named "Gentle Alarm" (patent pending) for iPhone and iPod touch one of "The ten best alarm clocks" and the best alarm clock - app worldwide. "The Independent" mentioned: "Best alarm clock for stress heads. The Gentle Alarm app for iPhone and iPod touch. This app monitors your natural sleep patterns and produces a personalised waking programme which stirs you from your slumber at the least stressful point of your sleep cycle".
Gentle Alarm 2.1.0 is $3.99 USD (or equivalent amount in other currencies) and available worldwide exclusively through the App Store in the Healthcare & Fitness category.
via PR Mac