This week I learned how to wake up without an alarm

This is only an experiment. Don't be alarmed.


I'm a night owl and have never been a morning person. My grandma used to say that the world should start at 11:00am and I couldn't agree more. I have always hated the sound of an alarm in the morning. I reflexively get a little stomach ache whenever I hear one.

Some Inspiration

I was inspired to try an alarmless experiment this week after listening to Naval Ravikant on the Tim Ferriss podcast. Naval is co-founder of Angel List and an angel investor in some incredibly successful companies, like Uber and Twitter. He's also a super thoughtful and interesting guy.

Before explaining the first 60 minutes of his day, Naval said that he's been waking up without an alarm clock for years because alarm clocks are, at least on balance, not good for you. Instead of relying on an alarm, Naval put his bed under a skylight and doesn't close the shades. He lets the sun wake him up gently every morning, in alignment with his circadian rhythm.

The Experiment

Naval's situation is unique in that he doesn't necessarily have to be anywhere at any given time while most of us have daily morning obligations like work. Not setting an alarm would probably cause some amount of anxiety for the majority of people but I decided to give it a shot this week. To keep the anxiety at bay, I set my alarm for 8:30 as a backup plan.

Guess what—it worked! I woke up between 7:00 and 7:30 every day this week and didn't once need the backup alarm. Despite getting about 30 minutes less sleep than usual, I actually felt much better in the morning. Apparently that is a normal feeling when you wake up naturally without interrupting a REM cycle.

Give it a shot!