It's normal that you'll sleep through your alarm clock every once in a while, even if it's one of those pretty loud alarms.
But what if this keeps happening? What if you set up multiple alarms, and nothing seems to work time and time again?
Well, it turns out that there can be many reasons, and we'll give you a brief overview of the most common ones.
Your Sleep Routine Is All Over the Place
Poor sleep habits usually lead to poor sleep quality. If your alarm continuously fails to wake you up, it means that your sleep schedule has gone haywire, and you rarely go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time.
If you don't get 7-9 hours of sleep every night regularly, which is the recommended amount for adults by health professionals, then you most likely try to catch up on weekends or during the workweek when you have more time.
Moreover, oversleeping can be just as bad as undersleeping, which can meddle with your circadian rhythm, which is the natural biological clock that tells you when it's time for bed and when it's time to wake up.
Consequently, this can throw off the regular sleep phases your body goes through a couple of times a night out of wack (the REM sleep and non-REM sleep stages). Say you need to wake up at 9 a.m., and you've set the alarm, but how can you when you've gone into deep sleep just when you need to wake up? This is what an inconsistent sleep schedule will do to you.
So, What Can You Do About It?
In order to bring back your sleep schedule in order, you need to go to bed and wake up at the same time, regardless of whether it's the weekend or not. Also, make sure you get 7-9 hours of sleep every day.
Make sure to eat light meals before going to bed and to exercise at least three times per week. Basically, just take care of your body and yourself, and you'll find it easier to wake up to your alarm clock as time goes by.
You're Just Heavy Sleeper
Sometimes it comes down to pure biology. Turns out that some people are wired to be sound asleep and to miss several very loud alarms. These are usually people who also don't have any trouble falling asleep in loud environments.
Now, the science behind this says that this is all based on particular brain rhythms that are called “sleep spindles.” And some people just naturally produce more sleep spindles than other people.
So, if you fail to wake up with the 5th consecutive alarm next time, blame it on your sleep spindles and your biology!
You're Battling a Mental Health Issue
Mental health issues and sleep-related issues have a complicated relationship which is often called a bidirectional relationship, meaning sometimes it's not clear which causes or exacerbates further the other.
Anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, OCD... these are some of the mental health disorders that can cause a variety of sleep disturbances, from sleeping too much to sleeping too little, from making it too hard to wake up or making it impossible to fall asleep.
Depression is a common example of a mood disorder negatively affecting sleep, often causing people to oversleep and do away with the alarm clock altogether.
It's important to ask for help right away if you think you may be having problems with your mental health. Reaching out can make a ton of difference, which goes way beyond hearing your alarm clock in the morning.
Sleeping through an alarm can happen to anyone, but if it happens continuously, you'll have to make some changes in your sleep routine and sleep habits. It also means you'll need to take more care of your mental health and your overall health—eat right and exercise regularly.
Also, don't be afraid to talk to a doctor or a sleep specialist if you find that your sleep doesn't improve or if it worsens over time.