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Using Sleep Cycle Alarm Clocks

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 0

Do you know the feeling of waking up in the morning wishing you could sleep for another hour?


When I used my normal alarm clock, being groggy in the morning was the wrong term. I was dead. Sometimes it would take me up to an hour to fully wake up, which wasn't so great because the morning was the time dedicated to university, and all the other little tasks that had to be done.

I knew I had to find a better solution. I did endless research on the internet, reading up on sleeping patterns etc. I did find a lot of useful advice and little tricks (Have you ever tried eating a handful of almonds before bed? This will keep your blood sugar at a decent level combating the groggy feeling after getting up), but most of this advice needed a lot of discipline, and you had to think of doing it every single day.

Honestly, I'm quite lazy. I have a bunch of things I have to keep in mind every day, so when I find something new, I try to automate it.

And so I stumbled upon something interesting. Sleep cycle alarm clocks. Ever heard of them? Normal alarm clocks will wake you up when you tell them to - these alarm clocks will wake you up close to your desired time, but when your body is ready.

I found out there were two good types available, and so I tried both.

The first one was an REM alarm clock. It works by wearing a wristband during sleep, which measures electric impulses and movement, figuring out if you're in an REM stage or not. REM means Rapid Eye Movement - this is when your body is in deep sleep, and your brain is recovering. It will try to wake you up in a non-REM phase, which results in feeling alert right after getting up. It works pretty well, but unfortunately it only around 70% of the time. Otherwise it will wake you up at your normal time, just as a normal alarm clock would.

The second one I used was a light alarm clock. It pretty much has the same effect but achieves it differently. The light alarm will start getting brighter 30 minutes before you actually want to get up. The increasing light intensity will make your body start producing certain hormones signaling that its wake-up time. You will wake up naturally a few minutes before the alarm goes off, feeling alert and ready to start your day.

 

Personally, I only use the light alarm anymore. The REM alarm basically has the same effect, but will unfortunately fail to wake you up in a non-REM phase about 30% of the time - resulting in the same groggy feeling as always.

Both aren't very cheap, but for me it's definitely worth it. I can't imagine going back to a normal alarm clock anymore.

I use this one here right now:

Philips Hf3485 Wake-up Light Plus, White

They aren't quite cheap, but there are also less expensive models out there.

I Hope I could help all those morning grouches. Please leave me your comment if you have any experience with sleep cycle alarm clocks, I'd be very interested to hear how they helped you.



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