HEALTH

Why I Ditched My Alarm For a Sunrise Alarm Clock

Waking up to the shrill beeping of an alarm has been the norm for many years. However, there is an alternative. Natural alarm clocks or wake-up lights can mimic the natural rhythm of the sun. They gradually promote wakefulness with soft, simulated morning light. Here’s how these devices can foster a more balanced and refreshed start to the day.

Downsides of a Traditional Alarm

People have relied on traditional alarm clocks with loud, blaring sounds for decades. While these alarm clocks may be effective at rousing a household, there are some potential downsides. For example:

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  • Abrupt Awakening: The sudden, loud sound of traditional alarm clocks startles a person awake. This sudden jolt may cause a spike in stress hormones like cortisol and lead to grogginess, which may last a while after waking up.
  • Increased Stress and Anxiety: Waking up to a loud alarm can create stress and anxiety, especially if the sound is irritating. The association with stressful situations (like rushing to work or school) can also contribute to feelings of anxiety.
  • Disrupted Sleep Patterns: Abrupt waking from a deep sleep stage can interrupt our natural sleep cycle, the circadian rhythm. This may lead to disrupted sleep patterns and tiredness throughout the day.
  • Negative Mood: Starting the day with a loud, unpleasant sound can set a negative tone for the morning, impacting mood and overall well-being. Starting the day with negativity is not a recipe for a good day at work or with the family.
  • Physical Effects: For some people, the sudden shock of a blaring alarm clock can even increase heart rate and blood pressure. High blood pressure is a known risk factor for cardiovascular problems

To avoid these potential downsides, some people opt for alternative wake-up methods. They may seek out wake-up lights or alarms with soothing music or nature sounds. These can create a smoother transition from sleep to wakefulness, creating a better morning experience.

What is a Wake-up Light? 

A wake-up light, also called a sunrise alarm clock or dawn simulator, is a type of alarm clock that produces an artificial dawn. It’s designed to wake you up more gently and naturally by simulating a sunrise. Instead of abrupt sounds, wake-up lights use light to mimic the natural sunrise. They gradually increase in brightness over 15 to 40 minutes before the alarm time.

The idea behind wake-up lights is to simulate a natural sunrise. When the sun comes up, it triggers the body to gradually reduce melatonin production and increase cortisol production. While many people emphasize cortisol as the “stress hormone,” it also helps you feel awake and alert. 

This gradual increase in light helps regulate the body’s internal clock: the circadian rhythm. A potential result is a better mood and energy when you wake up each morning.


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