How to Wake up a Heavy Sleeper: Secrets for Success

For heavy sleepers, traditional waking up methods usually aren’t enough. While some might react to blaring alarm clocks, most heavy sleepers need a little extra help to be roused from slumber.

If you’re a heavy sleeper or you live with one, follow along. We’ll go over some effective tips and tricks you can use to make waking up a safe experience every time.

Defining a Heavy Sleeper

The term heavy sleeper refers to a person who has a high sleep arousal threshold. In simple terms, they sleep so deeply that they cannot be woken up even by sudden and loud sounds and movements in their immediate environment. Furthermore, they might also feel extra tired during the day, as they try to fight off fatigue and the urge to go back to bed.

At the present time, scientists still cannot answer why some people have higher sleep arousal thresholds than others. Some believe that deep sleepers have more tolerance for disturbances due to the number of sleep spindles they create during deep sleep stages. 

Sleep spindles are sudden spikes in brain activity that occur when you are asleep. According to theories, the more sleep spindles your brain creates, the more difficult it will be to wake you up.

On the other hand, certain experts believe that being a deep sleeper is a lot simpler than that. Their theories say that it is all due to a combination of genetics, underlying conditions, and your overall lifestyle and sleeping habits.

Is Being a Heavy Sleeper Bad, Then?

How you look at heavy sleeping depends solely on your experiences. For some, being a deep sleeper is an advantage because it allows them to get excellent rest at night without being disturbed by the slightest noises and lights.

But for others, heavy sleeping is a significant con that makes their lives more difficult. For instance, they might struggle with waking up and feeling tired all day, or they may be perpetually late to all their appointments because they oversleep.

Thus, it is all up to how much heavy sleeping affects your everyday life and health. If you are constantly fatigued and struggling, it is indeed something that you should consult with your doctor about. But if it doesn’t phase you much, you can simply relax and enjoy the great sleep you’re getting at night.

Effective (and Safe!) Ways to Wake up a Heavy Sleeper

Whether you’re looking for ways to wake yourself up every morning or you need tips for your partner or family member, this guide will have you covered. Here are the most effective ways to wake up a heavy sleeper.

1. Play Music

If your standard alarm clock sound isn’t cutting it, it is smart to try playing music that you (or the person you’re trying to wake) love. According to a recent study, people who wake up with music are much less likely to be moody, irritable, and tired throughout the rest of their day.

Depending on your mood, you can pick just about any song you want, from a poppy tune to a rock headbanger. In most cases, you’ll get the best results by playing something upbeat, but it’s all contingent on one’s mood and usual taste in music.

If you want to wake yourself up, you can replace the regular alarm clock ringtone with a favorite song. And if you want to wake someone else, just play a song of your choice in their room.

While the song should indeed be loud to rouse the heavy sleeper, it is important not to overdo it. After all, you want someone to wake up, not to frighten them with a sudden loud song.

So, start playing the song at a lower volume and then increase it gradually. That way, you’ll have a greater chance of success.

2. Use Wake-up Lights

Similarly to sounds, lights can also do a lot to rouse you from sleep and let your brain know that it is time to wake up. Now, you can either use natural light for this trick or purchase smart light bulbs instead.

If you go down the natural light route, you should just leave your blinds open during the night. As the sun rises, the room will slowly fill with light, making the wake-up process a lot easier.

On the other hand, if you don’t want to leave the blinds open or you need to be up before sunrise, smart lights (like this one) are just as good of an option. Put them up in your room, choose when you want them to turn on, and adjust the brightness and color according to your needs.

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Some models (including the one we’ve linked) can mimic the sunrise and get brighter gradually. Others turn on to their brightest setting immediately, so yours is just to pick which option suits your situation better.

3. Play Around With Different Scents

For many people, waking up becomes a lot easier when they catch a whiff of a scent they love. In the mornings, that is usually coffee or their favorite breakfast, although flowers or perfume can also do the trick.

So, you can also try to wake someone up by experimenting with different scents. Usually, this method is more successful the stronger the scent you use, but it still all depends on the individual.

As already mentioned, the smells of coffee and food will be enough. However, you can also try aromatherapy, different herbs and flowers (peppermint and jasmine are usually the most effective), air fresheners, and so on.

In case you live alone and there is no one to help you, it’s a good idea to buy a scent diffuser. You can fill it with essential oils or any other similar product and program them to go off at a particular time each morning.

4. Use an Alarm

If your alarm clock isn’t cutting it for you, you shouldn’t abandon it altogether. After all, most smartphones allow you to adjust advanced alarm settings so that your waking experience is smoother and more efficient.

For example, you can play around with different alarm ringtones and find one that will rouse you most effectively. Alternatively, you can set the alarm to repeat every few minutes, so that you cannot miss it even if you sleep like the dead.

Besides these features, you also have the option to make your phone vibrate as the alarm goes off. This option might help you wake more easily, as the vibrations can give you the extra nudge you need.

And in the event that you need something with even more features and customization options, you can buy a smart alarm clock. They come in countless shapes and sizes, and their features range from basic to highly sophisticated.

For instance, this model comes with an integrated AI that you can give specific instructions to. Thus, the clock will wake you up with a song, a distinct alarm blast, by speaking to you, or in any other way you choose.

Plus, alarms like these can also double down as speakers or virtual assistants, so you can use them in your everyday life as well. Aside from helping you wake up, they can also aid you in your work and help you save time on basic tasks.

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Pro Tip

Is your biggest morning issue the fact that you do hear your alarm but you just turn it off and go back to sleep? If so, placing the clock or your phone as far away from your bed as possible might help.

By doing that, you will force yourself to get up to turn the alarm off. This action will probably be enough to wake you all the way up and ensure you start your day precisely when you intend to.

Of course, it’s important not to put the clock so far away that you can’t actually hear it going off. So, experiment with the layout of your room and try to find the best possible location for the alarm or phone.

5. Download a Wake-up App

Aside from your phone’s regular alarm clock, you can also download a wake-up app to your device. Now, there are countless apps to choose from, and they range from simple, customizable alarms to challenging puzzles.

The latter category is indeed the more interesting one. Namely, it offers you a chance to start your morning in a productive and stimulating way. For example, the app Alarmy allows you to set up different challenges that you must complete each morning. Until you check these challenges, the app will keep going off.

In this app, the challenges are puzzle and memory-based. So, you will have to play a little game to wake yourself up. Even more importantly, the app won’t stop ringing until you solve all the tasks successfully.

Alarmy lets you choose the complexity of the challenges, so you can truly customize your experience. And to ensure you don’t get bored, you can switch the tasks around every day and keep yourself on your toes.

Besides Alarmy, there are numerous other apps that offer you similar options. Some of them are completely free, but most also offer a premium version that gives you access to more features. Yours is to experiment and find one that suits your needs the best.

6. Take Away One’s Blankets

Are you the one tasked with waking up your partner or family member every morning? If so, a surefire way to get them to rejoin the world of the living is to take away that cozy feeling of sleep. To do that, simply uncover them in the bed.

No matter how deep the sleep, they will wake up at the sudden loss of warmth. Besides being effective, this method is also entirely safe. Namely, people usually wake up gradually when you take away their blankets. Thus, you won’t scare them or make the whole ordeal traumatic in any way.

7. Establish a Bedtime and Morning Routine

For those who can wake up but struggle with feeling woozy and tired immediately upon opening their eyes, the key is to get used to a sleep routine. That entails establishing healthy habits both before going to bed and after waking up.

First and foremost, it’s essential to attempt to fall asleep and wake up at approximately the same time every day. Doing so will ensure that your body and brain get used to a precise rhythm. Moreover, it can help you get a sufficient amount of rest each night.

Next, it is also pivotal to change some lifestyle habits. For one, try not to eat heavy foods and drink coffee and alcohol at night. In addition, it is wise to limit exposure to blue light, at least an hour before you go to bed.

Lastly, you should also start your day with some activities that stimulate wakefulness. These include yoga, light exercise, playing games or solving puzzles, listening to music, or reading. In short, as long as it helps wake you up, it can be any activity you want.

With time, you will get used to this schedule, and your brain will start waking you up naturally. Furthermore, you will have more energy to tackle the day ahead without feeling under the weather all the time.

8. Get/Be a Wake-up Buddy

Last but not least, it is always a good idea to ask for help or aid someone yourself. In this case, the best way to do so is to become someone’s wake-up buddy.

As the name suggests, a wake-up buddy is someone who you task with waking you up in the morning. If you live together, they can gently shake you awake every morning and ensure you actually get out of bed.

In case you live separately, you can call each other in the morning. That way, you can help each other wake up and start your day right. Aside from being a useful habit, this method can also help you grow closer to a friend or partner, which is a big plus.

Summing Up

Being a heavy sleeper comes with a range of difficulties that one has to put up with every day. Aside from the regular feeling of tiredness and fatigue, the most problematic fact is that waking up in the morning is the most challenging part of every day.

Fortunately, there are numerous tricks you can use to make this ordeal easier. From using different alarm apps to establishing a healthy wakeup routine, lots of small steps can aid you in reaching your goal successfully.

Hopefully, this guide helps you find what works for you. To do so, it is essential to experiment and try out as many solutions as possible. And don’t forget — you can also combine several options at once to get the most out of each one. Good luck!


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