Are sunrise alarmclocks any good?
May 14, 2005 11:49 AM   Subscribe

Are sunrise alarmclocks like these any good? Has anyone here used one? I have a problem sleep pattern (stay up too late/get up too late) which I'm trying to improve and I'm wondering if one of these might help.

At the moment I have a 'Bug' digital radio which I use as an alarm, but I've become too clever at switching it off whilst half-asleep and going back to snoozing. I'm trying to find something which will break that habit and help me get out of bed earlier.
posted by Flitcraft to Health & Fitness (11 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I actually have two of the Soleil Sun Alarm clock exactly like the one shown here . While I thought it was overpriced, it really is great for going to sleep and wakes me easily in the morning. It has a sunset mode which you can turn on to read in bed. It soon gets too dark to read and you feel tired. In the morning, the light slowly illuminates over a half-hour time period and really does wake you up. The time length is also adjustable. The light itself is not very bright, but it is right next to my head, so it is easily noticeable in a darkened room. You can also buy an optional 300W controller to plug in an actual incandescent lamp or light box.

I have two because I bought it for my girlfriend for Christmas and her parents bought her one as well. Now we live together. The radio on one quickly crapped out, but the other still works great. To be honest, I didn't think it would wake me up, but it really did make a difference. I use a clock radio alarm as backup just in case I sleep through the light, which has happened.
posted by Roger Dodger at 12:15 PM on May 14, 2005 [1 favorite]

I use a cheaper method: a simple Radio Shack device timer, the kind used to turn on lights in untenanted houses to make thieves think someone's home. Costs about $11. I plug a lamp with a 100-watt full-spectrum bulb into it. Works great. It does not, however, have a radio nor does it turn on gradually. It's either on or off. You can set when it goes on and when it goes off. For weekends, I just turn off the lamp so the timer doesn't turn it on.
posted by Mo Nickels at 1:36 PM on May 14, 2005

I did what Mo Nickels did for a bit, with one of those lightboxes. It's especially effective in the winter (and apparently some companies like the one I linked to now sells ones with built-in Timers).
posted by weston at 2:12 PM on May 14, 2005

We've done both methods mentioned--a timer that switches a light on and a dawn/dusk simulator. The later is definitely a less rude way to wake up. The dusk simulator aspect could help you fall asleep--it helps me. I think they're worth the expense because it's something I use everyday, I drink less caffeine, I'm far less crabby, it's cheaper than medication, and I'm able to function 100% before 10am, which is how long it can take me without the dawn simulator. It's part of how I make it through the winters in Seattle.
posted by lobakgo at 2:25 PM on May 14, 2005

I've been meaning to get something like that - right now, I just slap on a lamp aimed at my head when I hear the alarm in the morning.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 3:19 PM on May 14, 2005

Very interesting report from Roger Dodger. I used to have huge problems getting up, and ended up in the dreaded up late / sleep late cycle. I think it has something to do with always trying to get one more thing done in the evening. As far alarms and lights and timers and such, absolutely nothing works for me. I found an alarm clock with a buzzer that sounds exactly like a truck backing up and just as loud (I once heard it going off down the block from my apartment), I tried having the alarm across the room, turning on lights, etc. but all that happens is I wake up, turn it off, and go back to sleep. With hardly any memory of it later in the morning.

The solution? I got a girlfriend who's an early riser :)

I get up before she leaves for work (she goes in early, I go in late) and my life is much more regulated now. Still, nearly every morning my mind does that slow-witted debate where I try to argue how I can go back to bed. If I just tough it out for 60 seconds (stay awake) then I've usually made it over the hump.

Anyway, not very relevant to this thread. If I ever need it, I look forward to trying one of these new clocks. RD's description sounds nice.
posted by intermod at 4:46 PM on May 14, 2005

I have tried the cheap Radio Shack timer method and now have a Lumie Bodyclock. The Bodyclock is much, much better at making a more regulated schedule easy. The sunset feature is fantastic. That said, £59 seems ridiculous for such a thing (and an extra £40 if you want snooze???) but I'd pay it again.
posted by grouse at 5:39 PM on May 14, 2005

I've used the Lumie alarm clock to great success during the last UK winter -- no more winter blues for me!

I can always tell when I've got enough sleep -- the light wakes me up before its beeper goes off. You can buy it from John Lewis.

The only complaints I have about Lumie are:

- clock isn't battery backed up (really, is this a big expense?). We had a spate of power cuts and it sucked having to reset it each time
- not so hot ergonomics. The buttons are in front of the display; so if you set the alarm from your bed you can't see the time you're setting easily...
posted by at 6:46 PM on May 14, 2005

I'm a night owl. Waking up with the rest of the world is HARD, and mornings were always a bitch. I'd even sleep right through multiple alarms buzzing loudly in my ear. The Soleil's buil-tin radio and lightbulb are utter crap, and its buttons are itty-bitty, but with the optional controller you can plug in up to 300 watts of real lighting into it. Adequate light is crucial for a dawn simulator's effectiveness. The Soleil/controller/150w lamp combo has reset my body clock with surprising ease. Many mornings I now rise naturally just before the Soleil begins its slow "sunrise". Very portable for travel, very configurable, and haven't needed to hear an obnoxious buzzer in ages. Sweet.
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 9:22 PM on May 14, 2005

(Sorry, should have previewed that one more time. Only "crucial" was meant to be bolded.)
posted by nakedcodemonkey at 9:23 PM on May 14, 2005

Thanks, lots of really helpful answers here. It really does sound as if it might help. I live in the UK so I'll probably splash out on a Lumie from John Lewis. I might buy the advanced one as it seems to have the clock on the side.
posted by Flitcraft at 3:31 PM on May 15, 2005

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