Can you imagine waking up in every morning without the heart-stopping and annoying alarm clock, slowly opening your eyes to soft light and sounds of birds chirping, just like you would wake up in nature?
I can tell you that as a kid and up until a few years ago, I never imagined an alternative exists for the conventional hated-by-all alarm clock buzzer.
Instead of waking up abruptly to a loud buzzer or rock music from your local radio, a light therapy alarm clock works with your body’s natural rhythms to wake you up with gradually brightening light that re-sets your sleep/wake cycle to help you feel refreshed, alert and energized all day.
Some of the dawn simulators, like the Philips Wake up light, will also simulate dusk to help you fall asleep. Great help for people battling falling asleep every night.
How Does a Dawn Simulator Alarm Clock Work?
Even when your eyes are shut, they register and recognize any increase in light, and signal the body that “the sun” is coming up. The pineal gland is signaled by the increase in light to produce serotonin – The “feel good” hormone and cortisol – That wakes you up.
Plus, the gradual increase in light reduces the production of sleep hormones (melatonin) gradually. This is the best way to prevent morning “grump” and irritability – You gradually awaken just as you would if you were sleeping in front of a window that lit the room with the rising sun.
The immediate result – More productivity, energy and lifted mood for the rest of the day.
How to Choose a Dawn Simulator?
You’ve got lots of light therapy alarm clocks to choose from, with different features, elements and of course – Prices. Through my research, the 3 best dawn simulators are:
#1 – Philips Wake Up Light (HF3471)
The Philips Wakeup Light is an Official Light Therapy Product of the National Sleep Foundation and is the best-selling dawn simulator on Amazon.
It simulates both dusk and dawn, so you can use it as a natural way to fall asleep better and wake up gradually, feeling energized and calm.
How it Works – Light gradually increases for 30 minutes before your wake up time. When you turn off the alarm using the lever, the lamp stays on to give you the opportunity to get out of bed without switching on another lamp.
Size & Weight – 6.5 x 6.5 x 10 inches; 3.5 pounds
UV Free – Yes.
Choice of Sounds – You can choose 3 sounds (morning birds, beep sound, wind chimes) or FM radio to go off at your set wake up time. The sound takes a minute and a half to reach full volume (so you won’t be startled) and you have a snooze button that you can hit to get 9 more minutes of sleep before the sound starts again. The light stays on when you hit the snooze button.
Light Intensity – You can select the light intensity that you feel most comfortable with, up to 250 LUX. Higher levels will wake you up faster, lower levels wake you up more gradually.
Light bulb (halogen) is replaceable.
Battery powered/Electric – Battery powered.
Extra Benefits – The Philips Wakeup Light can be used as a bedside lamp as well, and has no less than 20 different brightness settings you can choose from.
Price – The price is a bit alarming (pun intended), but the prices for all dawn simulators are about the same. Some people would find it worth every penny and it seems like a high quality product that won’t break down fast.
You can see Amazon’s today’s special price Here.
Downsides: It will probably take you a few days to figure out the light intensity you want to wake up to and the sound that you prefer waking up to (my favorite is definitely the chirping birds). The price is high but all in all the benefits it make it worth it in my personal opinion.
If you want to know more, you can see a big bunch of user reviews for it on Amazon.
Other Philips Wakeup Lights – Philips has 4 more dawn simulators, with some differences in extra features mainly. You can see a table of comparison between all of them HERE.
#2 – BioBrite Sunrise Clock
The Biobrite Sunrise Clock has a different design as you can see in the picture above and has a nice hand blown glass top. It has the same features as the Philips Wakeup Light, with different settings for sunrise and sunset.
Size & Weight – 7 x 7 x 10 inches ; 5 pounds.
UV Free – Yes.
Extra Features – Similar to those of the Philips Wakeup Light.
The light bulb is replaceable.
Battery Powered/Electric – Electric.
Downsides – Though it is one of the best-selling ones, there a few alarming complaints about the Biobrite models suddenly not working or working improperly. You can see them HERE.
If you were my friend,m I would definitely advise you to choose the Philips models over this one.
Price – The price is much higher than the Philips, and doesn’t seem reasonable to me. You can see today’s price HERE.
#3 – Verilux Rise and Shine
The Verilux Rise and Shine comes with a regular incandescent bulb. Like the other ones above, it has both dusk and dawn features, plus 4 built-in nature sounds to fall asleep or wake up to (Songbird Serenade, Pond Life Harmony, Ocean Rhythms, or Streamside Melodies). And FM radio.
It also can be used as a bedside lamps and has 20 different light settings.
Size & Weight – 8.8 x 6.8 x 12 inches ; 2.6 pounds
UV Free – Yes.
Battery powered/Electric – Electric.
Price – The Verilux Rise and shine is the cheapest one of these three. Amazon has a 23% discount on it right now.
Downsides: It’s getting more and more difficult incandescent bulbs and you can only replace it with a bulb which is compatible with an incandescent dimmer.
Who Should Get a Dawn Simulator (And Who Shouldn’t)
If you are miserable when being abruptly awakened to dark surroundings, a dawn simulator will be a game changer for you.
A dawn simulator alarm clock will also be of great help to anyone suffering from trouble in falling asleep and waking up early and do not want to use medication. Dawn simulators help to re-set the circadian rhythm naturally.
The best return on investment in my opinion is the definitely the Philips Wakeup Light. It’s the most reliable dawn simulator, it’s easiest to use and have the most options.
People that suffer from “winter blues” symptoms (SAD) should not a get light therapy alarm clocks, but instead a full spectrum SAD lamp/light box, which emits no less than 10,ooo LUX.
You can see everything you need to know about SAD light therapy here, or check out my head to head comparison between the top 2 SAD light lamps Here.
To your health & (morning) happiness,
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