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September 7, 2011 6:00 AM   Subscribe

Recommend a dawn simulator alarm clock for me!

So, I've decided to get a dawn simulator alarm clock. What kind should I get? Previous Ask threads are about 4 years old (unless I missed one?) and many of the models are out of date. I would like a fairly high quality one.

Not looking for recommendations to put a regular household lamp on a timer, unless you can teach me how to replicate the gradual brightening of a dawn simulator.
posted by thinkingwoman to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
I have this one, and I really like it.
posted by Emera Gratia at 6:11 AM on September 7, 2011

The cheapest one I found was this one, and I like it.
posted by idb at 6:22 AM on September 7, 2011

I have this Philips Hf3485. I got it last year in the spring and so I'm just now starting to use it to wake up when it's still a little dark out. I have mixed feelings about it -- the light alone is not enough to wake me up 99% of the time, so I have to have the chirpy bird sounds wake me up. Also, the light doesn't flood the room -- it's kind of like a glowy ball of light just within a foot or so of the light itself. If I'm facing the other way, I can't even tell it's on, and it doesn't do anything for my husband who is only like 4 feet away from it. I feel like if it flooded the whole room, it would work a lot better!

I am just hoping the light turning on has some effect on my sleeping brain??
posted by pupstocks at 6:23 AM on September 7, 2011

We use a Happy Lite with a wall timer. We got it off of craigslist for a substantial discount off of that holy crap I can't believe that they're asking that much for a freakin' fluorescent light price.

If I were doing it today I'd get another Intermatic digital wall timer (we wore through two mechanical timers before we went to that) and a big ol' 4' fluorescent shop light fixture with "daylight" (ie: blue) bulbs. Relatively cheap and very bright.
posted by straw at 7:20 AM on September 7, 2011

Best answer: I use a thingy from a company called Lighten Up! It's a simple plug dimmer thing that you plug your own lamp into (I use the 205 version with a cheap Ikea lamp and a 100-watt bulb). The only drawback is that it's kind of a pain to set it up - you have to plug it in 8.5 hours before you want the lamp to reach full brightness, so you can't change it at the last minute or anything.

Looks like the company now has a more complicated and customizable version; might be worth checking out!

I find this thing seriously life-changing in the winter; waking up to light is the best. I usually use it in conjunction with a traditional alarm, but I'm mostly awake by the time the alarm goes off.
posted by mskyle at 7:24 AM on September 7, 2011

I rise and fall to my sunrise clock from Biobrite. I have the second model on the page.

Best $125 I've spent for my winter sanity.
posted by noonday at 7:44 AM on September 7, 2011

I have the Lighten Up unit mentioned by mskyle and it's a pain to use - if you forget to plug it in exactly 8 hours before you can't use it.
posted by exhilaration at 2:28 PM on September 8, 2011

I received this Northern Lights Sunrise clock as a gift and I love it. Super easy to use, can make an alarm sound or not, and the light is bright enough to wake me without an alarm. It also has a sunset feature, meaning I can program it to set in 90 minutes and not have to worry about falling asleep reading with the light on; it automatically turns itself off. It can rise or set over 15 minutes, 30 minutes, 60 minutes, or 90 minutes.

The price seems high, but it's so worth it. This will be my sixth year using the lamp.
posted by stellaluna at 3:36 PM on September 8, 2011

I have this Sunrise System light, and it's pretty good. I still need the alarm sound 90% of the time, but the light helps me from being ultra-disoriented in the morning. However, it does not make me a happy person, it does not make me a morning person, and it does not make me love winter (cross-country skiing is the only thing that does that for me). I had such high hopes! I've had it for 3 years now.

I don't use the "sunset" feature intentionally (though many times accidentally, which sucks when you're digging through your closet to find your pajamas). You have to use an incandescent bulb in the lamp that's plugged into the clock, so it was kind of annoying to buy light those bulbs after I switched my apartment to compact fluorescent.

One unexpected bonus is how nice it is that the clock stores different alarm times for each day of the week. This was awesome when I was in grad school and had different starting times for my morning classes and job, and it's awesome now that I have early meetings at work one day for per week. It takes a lot of hassle out of setting, mis-setting, and double-checking alarms the night before.
posted by Maarika at 7:36 PM on September 9, 2011

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