Posted on: November 24, 2015 at 2:09 pm
Last updated: September 26, 2017 at 10:45 am

This article was republished with permission from

The alarm rings, we wake up, hit the snooze button, and fall back asleep. Not much can get us out of bed, especially since mornings got a bit darker (Daylight Saving Time), but science has shed a light on how we can wake up effortlessly. Spotify and music psychologist David M. Greenberg at the University of Cambridge in the UK created the ultimate wake-up playlist of songs that deliver an energy boost, positivity, and a strong beat.

According to Spotify, this playlist is “scientifically designed to kick-start those groggy mornings and get you going.” The songs range from Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” to Sam Smith’s “Money On My Mind.” But what common traits do these songs possess that can get our cranky selves out of bed?


Music for the Morning!

When we wake up in the morning, we go through different stages, starting with tired, grumpy, and cranky. We seek a catalyst that will take us from our cranky state to a state of alertness and energy for the day. Some of us may opt for energetic pop, heavy metal, or jazz to start our day, but according to Greenberg, the best wake-up songs are composed of these three elements: a slow build, positivity, and a strong beat.

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“A song that is too vigorous from the start won’t help you get out of bed — it’s too much too soon,” said Greenberg, Business Insider reported. “Songs that start more gently (even just for a few seconds) and then build, help you wake up more gradually.”

Now, once we’re alert, we need to become motivated for the day. This is why a song about heartbreak will have most of us sleeping in and calling out sick from work. “Positive lyrics can get you out of a grumpy state and shift towards a feel-good attitude,” Greenberg said.

Lastly, in sync with the slow build and positivity, comes the beat. For example, songs like “Viva La Vida” emphasize beats two and four of each measure with beats per minute (BPM) between 100 and 130, which get us moving and enhance our feel-good mood. A 2013 study published in the journal PLOS ONE found this BPM range is ideal for a tempo to produce a motivational effect.

“Science shows that music affects us in all types of ways, including emotionally, physiologically, and in the brain,” Greenberg said.

In a 2010 study published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, researchers found music has drug-like effects on the brain. Music was found to release dopamine, the “feel-good hormone” that is activated from pleasurable experiences like food or sex. It was able to arouse feelings of euphoria and craving as dopamine release was at “peak emotional arousal” during music listening.


So, whether you’re into pop or classic rock, this wake-up playlist will get you out of bed, without hitting the snooze button once.

For the full wake-up playlist, click here.



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