Let’s Just Get to the Point:
All of the benefits of lights stimulation come full circle in this high-tech wake-up light that makes falling asleep and waking up surprisingly pleasant. Calling on the body’s original alarm clock, the sun, the light-powered clock creates your own personal sunrise and sunset to tell your body when to wake up and doze off.
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In Case You Want to Know More:
As someone who factors in enough time for four snooze button–clicks into every morning routine, hearing that the very button I thought made my morning a little bit more blissful was “one of the worst inventions of all time,” (and by a sleep expert no less) quickly made me rethink how I’m spending my precious time. “The average snooze button is seven to nine minutes long, which means it doesn’t allow your body to get any decent sleep at all,” Michael Breus continued. “You can’t expect to feel good when you’re constantly hitting it in the morning.” So, to my initial dismay—who doesn’t like sleeping in a little bit longer, even if it is constantly disrupted? —I decided to try my hand at different options to help my body rest. The first on my list: a wake-up light, which science tells me works.
If you’ve never heard of a wake-up light before (it’s also known as an “artificial dawn”), allow me to download you. The benefits of waking up via light stimulation have been studied and recorded for years and are said to promote a relaxed morning as it helps you wake up feeling refreshed, not frazzled. The goal is to balance our biological clocks and circadian rhythms via light-induced sunrise simulations instead of your traditional blaring alarm sound—our bodies are innately designed to go to sleep when the sun sets and wake when the sun rises—and once the balance is achieved, continuing to use the wake-up lights maintains the newfound balance so longer, better, more-restful sleep cycles are your new norm.
Sounds like a no-brainer, right? While the benefits sounded great on paper, I had to experience it for myself, and the Phillips Somneo Sleep and Wake-Up Light ($200), whose long list of features more than makes up for the steep price for an “alarm clock,” made me a believer. For starters, its colored sunrise simulation uses more than one hue (many use only one) to better wake you up—it starts with a deep red and gradually increases over 30 minutes to a bright yellow at the time you’ve set your alarm for—and it’s enough to light a pitch black room, which is beneficial if your wake up time is before dawn. At the time of your alarm, you can also choose from eight natural wake-up sounds (everything from natural forest noises to yoga music) for a soothing start to your morning. To help you doze off, it also offers a light-guided breathing wind-down feature as well as a sunset stimulation and soothing sounds to help lull you to sleep.
The first day using the wake-up light was weird to say the least—I had been so used to going to waking up to my iPhone alarm sound—but it got me up at the right time, which was my biggest concern. (If the light doesn’t wake you up, the sound, which goes off after 30 minutes of the light gradually brightening up your space, will.) After about two weeks of using the light in place of my phone, I’ve been waking up significantly easier (less zombie-like, to be precise) and have noticed higher energy levels throughout the day and less tossing and turning throughout the night. Waking up is officially soothing, not startling, and for me—and anyone else who doesn’t dub “morning person” as their middle name—that’s a major win.
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