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Let's imagine a scenario. It's 6 am on a cold winter's morning. It's pitch black outside, the windows are lined with frost, and you are warmly snuggled deep under the covers. You are in the midst of a wonderful dream. One of those types of dreams that just make you feel good, where there are unicorns and rainbows and you have no cares in the world. In your dream you see a magic ball floating in front of you and you know instinctively that you need to touch it. You raise your hand and let it hover for a second, and then gently place your palm down on it and suddenly BEEP BEEP BEEP.
Your alarm goes off and you begrudgingly open your eyes, remove your arm from under the warm blanket, and groggily turn the alarm off. You feel slightly disoriented and not at all ready to tackle the day. In fact, you just lay there for a while, trying to wake up. You grumble about it being so dark, and as you lay there you start to think of all the things you need to do that day. The stress and anxiety just starts to pour on and by the time you actually do get out of bed you are just a bundle of nerves.
Not a great way to start the day, is it?
Now imagine another scenario.
It's 5:30 am on a cold winter's morning. It's pitch black outside, the windows are lined with frost, and you are warmly snuggled deep under the covers. A small glow starts emanating from the alarm clock beside you. Not anything that wakes you up, but just a very faint reddish orange light. Over the course of the next 30 minutes this light gets brighter and brighter, slowly turning more yellow and then white. You are still asleep, but your body somehow knows it will be time to get up soon. Your hormones that help with wakefulness and being prepared for the day start to get triggered, but slowly, not abruptly. You start moving around a bit, slowly coming out of the warm cocoon you've been nestled in. At 6 am the light is quite bright now, and a gentle, soothing sound starts playing from your alarm clock. You open your eyes, sit up, and turn the alarm off. You immediately get out of bed, feeling energized and ready to tackle the day.
Which one sounds better to you?
If you are anything like me, the 2nd scenario sounds MUCH better. And that's why we've been using a sunrise simulation alarm to wake up now for over two years. We even got one for our older son who is in 1st grade this year because I was sick of having to go into his room at 6:30 am to stand there while he sloooooowly got out of bed and got dressed (very grumpily I might add). If I didn't stand there he would just stay in bed, but I had a billion things to do downstairs to get ready for the day. So we got him one of these alarms and now he comes downstairs at 6:35 all dressed and happy. Total life changer.
The other advantage to this alarm clock is that it gradually eases your cortisol levels to the morning high that it needs to be, as nature intended. Cortisol is the stress hormone but it also naturally occurs each day to help up get through our days. It’s typically highest in the morning and then tails off as the day goes on, letting serotonin take over to help guide us to sleep at night. But when we are deep asleep at 6 am and our super loud annoying alarms go off, it causes an extra spike of adrenaline and cortisol levels go up even more. If you are like me and suffer from hormonal imbalances and adrenal fatigue, the last thing we need is for our cortisol levels to spike more than they already do. We have plenty upon plenty of opportunities to have that happen throughout the day between our commutes, jobs, family duties, and so on. So gradually awakening each morning is the way we are supposed to get up, and this alarm helps with that process. It really is the next best thing to waking up with the actual sunrise. But since most of us don't have that luxury, this is a great alternative.
The alarm we use is the Philips Wake Up Light with Colored Sunrise Simulation. I know there are other brands out there too, but I can't speak to them as I haven't tried them. If you have a different brand that you love, let me know about it in the comments. The Philips one we have multiple of now costs around $110, but it is worth every penny. They have some cheaper models (in the $70-90 range), like this one, but they don't do the full spectrum of light like this one nor do they have as many wake up sounds. If that's not important to you, then the cheaper models or a different brand might be perfect for you. I am just such a huge believer in these kinds of alarm clocks that I think you should get one any way you can!
Have you tried a sunrise simulation clock? What did you think?
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