What is the most stressful way to wake up every morning? A noisy alarm clock. It cannot be healthy to go from a sleeping heart and breathing rate to an adrenaline fuelled alarm respiration and heartrate in one second, five or six days a week.
A light alarm clock is a much kinder way to wake someone up. You do not feel sick, as you do when your alarm suddenly goes off at full volume right in your ear.
What is a Light Alarm Clock?
A light alarm clock wakes you up by switching on a light instead of a noisy bell or buzzer. You might ask how is suddenly having a light in your eyes any better than having a noisy alarm in your ears…The light usually starts off dim and gets gradually brighter.
Waking up with the dawn light is the natural way to wake up. It's the way cavemen used to wake up and the way animals wake up.
Anyone who has been woken up by a phone at 2am would give a lot for a phone that would wake them with a gradually increasing light level.
Why is a Light Alarm Clock Better?
Being woken suddenly sends a jolt of adrenaline into your bloodstream, adrenaline that is not needed just to get you out of bed. The sick feeling you have after your alarm wakes you suddenly is because of the adrenaline all through your body.
Repeated unused adrenaline rushes, like this are not good for anyone and can cause you health problems over the long-term.
A light alarm clock turns on a dim light, which penetrates the thin skin of your eyelids and impacts on your eyes' retinas. This sends an electrical signal to your brain, to the effect that "It is dawn, time to get up." This is the way your body expects to wake up, so it is less stressful. The alarm clock is the equivalent to a caveman of a sabre-toothed tiger roaring over his baby.
Who Needs a Light Alarm Clock?
If you have teenaged children who are grumpy in the morning, they will benefit from the gradual wake-up call from one of these clocks. Some of the clocks even have a socket you can plug an MP3 player into, so she can wake up to her favorite music.
Anyone who struggles to wake up and has low energy levels on winter mornings will benefit, and buying a light alarm clock is a small price to pay for feeling so much better for three months of the year.
Some people find the sunset function useful to help very young children to settle down to sleep on winter evenings.
Features to Look For in a Light Alarm Clock
Light alarm clocks usually need to be plugged in, but a battery backup, at least of the clock function is very useful.
Look for a light alarm clock that starts off with a dim light and gets brighter. This can be achieved using a dimmer switch or by switching on more light sources over time. LEDs can be switched on one at a time to give a gradually increasing light level.
Ideally you should be able to set the rate of progression from the dimmest light to the brightest. Only higher priced lamps have this facility.
Some light alarm clocks include a variety of natural sounds that gradually increase in volume, ranging from frogs croaking to birds singing. The sounds can be used separately or in conjunction with the light function,
SAD Light Alarm Clocks
If you suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) then a SAD light alarm clock may help you feel happier, though no light alarm clocks have medically proven results in treating Seasonal Affective Disorder.
SAD lights give a full-spectrum light that is very similar to natural sunlight, so even though it is dimmer than a normal photo-therapy SAD light most users say it is making them feel better.
The Best Light Alarm Clocks
BioBrite Sunrise Clock Advanced Model Charcoal…$129.95
The finish on the clock is not as good as you would expect for a light alarm clock at this price.
Soleil Sunrise Alarm Clock Radio Ultima…$78
Very small light alarm clock with a very dim light, hardly what a SAD sufferer needs at all.
GPX C280 AM/FM Sunrise Clock Radio (Multi-Color)…$24.99
This is a good value light alarm clock that does the job of waking you up in a healthy fashion. At this price you do not expect very much in the way of being able to vary the light intensity, you do not get it either
Philips Hf3470/60 Wake-up Light, White…$99.99
This is a high quality light alarm clock with a built-in FM radio. The controls are easy to use and you can vary the light transition time – Recommended.