A travel alarm clock that uses lights - but is meant for travel...?
December 30, 2018 6:32 AM   Subscribe

So the good news - I'll be traveling for work; the bad news is I'm having trouble sleeping and getting up too early in the morning. Part of my approach is to find a good travel alarm clock that isn't my phone but has waking lights on it.

So the good news - I'll be traveling for work; the bad news is I'm having trouble sleeping and getting up too early in the morning. Part of my approach is to find a good travel alarm clock that isn't my phone but has waking lights on it. It ideally something that does a lot of what the newer Wake-Up Light Alarm Clocks do using progressive light and sound - the one from Philips seems well regarded. However, does a smaller one that would fit in a suitcase meant for travel exist? Should I get the Philips (or another brand) and try to find a nice case for it? I've also seen a lot of smaller wooden travel clocks that don't have the lights and don't seem to be well made. Bonus points for clocks that don't seem to be $150 - I literally need it to just have the lights that go up and down like the sun, be small-ish and I don't need programmable whatevers with bells and whistles.

If there are other tips people have for frequent traveling to make hotel rooms less annoying for sleep, I'm all ears. I use a eye mask and eyeplugs, avoid coffee and exercise at night, but I'm hoping having a better alarm clock can help with sleep hygiene as well.
posted by rmm to Health & Fitness (12 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
There are lamps like this that give off more of a bright white light (they're used for SAD therapy but also for sleep therapy). Not sure if that's what you're looking for, but it's small and light and has a 100-240 voltage adapter. It would do the morning wake-up part, but probably not the sundown bit.

There are also a lot of cheap knockoffs of the Philips lamp you linked to (some are listed on that page) that all seem to be more or less the same and might be both worth a try and physically lighter than the Philips. I have one; it's okay (never had a Philips so I can't compare).
posted by trig at 7:09 AM on December 30, 2018

The way I handle this when I travel (actually year-round, I do this at home too) is to bring a light timer and plug one of the lamps in the room into it. With a timer the light doesn't turn on progressively, but it works for me.

I also swear by my white noise machine.
posted by sockermom at 7:16 AM on December 30, 2018 [5 favorites]

I use a wake up light on days I need to get up early, and I think it's really fantastic, much nicer and easier than an alarm sound. As a rule I have the light start turning on 15 minutes before the alarm. I don't use the fade out exactly at night, I turn the lights dim for a while, then off when I want to go to sleep. If I were trying to sleep at the same time every night I think I'd use this.

I absolutely vote for progressive light on in the morning. Something like this? Sunrise alarm clock is the search term you're looking for. Though I'd do some double checking on reviews and sizes, I'm not sure how small you're looking for.
posted by jeather at 7:25 AM on December 30, 2018

The other phillips one listed is much smaller and i I would say travel sized, plus it's only $50.
posted by chasles at 7:30 AM on December 30, 2018

Also, when i Google "travel wake up light" i found about a hundred more including this battery operated one.
posted by chasles at 7:33 AM on December 30, 2018

i have great difficulty getting up in the morning. Honestly, I did not comparison shop but I purchased the big Phillips sunrise simulating alarm clock. Highly recommend! Granted, you may not need the bulky and expensive Phillips one but please try a sunrise simulating alarm clock. The gradual light stimulates the brain to produce the hormones involved in waking up. For me, it has been a great help!
posted by ticketmaster10 at 8:12 AM on December 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

Re: other sleep tools, I replaced my eye mask with this nodpod because I was getting tangled up in the elastic - I love the gentle weight and it slides off by morning.
posted by zepheria at 8:34 AM on December 30, 2018 [2 favorites]

I carried a knock-off sunrise light that looks like the Philips one but cost about $30 on two international trips. On one long trip, I used it with a power bank and USB cable on a darkened airplane so I could get my kid to wake gently on a different timezone schedule for school that day. It was about as bulky as a biggish paperback and as heavy, I just packed socks around the awkward shape in my suitcase.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 9:00 AM on December 30, 2018

Came to second the light timer that goes between lamp and wall .. So easy , so small, and so cheap! I see them in thrift stores often for a dollar.
posted by elgee at 10:46 AM on December 30, 2018

You people are awesome - so much to look over, and feel reassured I'll be traveling with the sun, as it were. As far as size, it would be something to fit in a suitcase I bring with me - so less than a pound, if possible.
posted by rmm at 3:59 PM on December 30, 2018

I can't suggest an alarm but battery-powered is going to be better than something you plug in. Any hotel built before 2010 might lack easily accessible outlets.

I travel a lot and all of my hotel profiles* are for high floors, away from the ice machines. Staying in a high floor at the end of the floor helps to be away from where a lot of people are going to be moving and talking at 5 a.m.

* Chain hotels with a membership will let you decide where your room is ahead of time. Work your stays, work your hotel-related credit cards.I stay several nights free per year on personal travel based on my hotel loyaty credit cards or points.
posted by ITravelMontana at 5:08 PM on December 30, 2018

The 7", 1.5 lb, $25 one from the wirecutter round-up. (You may have other reasons for avoiding your phone, but wirecutter also mentions sunrise alarm apps.)

And since you wear an eye mask - Smart Sleep Mask: "Sleep better and wake refreshed with your own personal sunset and sunrise."

(To sleep, I use a tiny travel white noise machine's fan settings, as well as nrr 33 foam earplugs and this specific sleep mask with its pliable bridge area.)
posted by Iris Gambol at 5:18 PM on December 30, 2018

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