I can barely conceive of the truth that it was back in February… but it was back in February when I talked about trying (*cough*) to adjust my wake up time to something a little earlier. It really didn’t work out. I might change direction like a leaf upon the wind when it comes to gaming, sure. But sleep? That’s something apparently I was rather set in my ways about.

So Jeromai suggested trying out a light alarm clock. Of course, when I finally decided which one I wanted to get — COVID-19 happened and put the world in lockdown. No deliveries. So the idea was forcibly put on hold for a while.

Not a photo of mine — but this is the model I picked up.

Welp! Here we go. I’ve had my light alarm in action for the past couple of weeks and I wanted to share some thoughts. If you’re interested this is the particular one I picked up, but my commentary today will for the most part be more general in nature, regarding the efficacy (for me) of a light alarm fullstop.

Before I get to that though — I guess I will at least say that some of the complaints I saw in reviews have either been fixed in the year-by-year iterations or at least haven’t matched my experience. For example some noted the time display on the front being too bright even on the dimmest setting and unable to be turned off. Well; the front display can (now?) be entirely turned off if you so desire. In that mode, it will light up only with a touch on the front panel.

Anywho, that is the boring stuff.

Has It Actually Helped Me Wake Up?

Short answer: Yes.

But it isn’t a miracle cure. There is still an element of willpower in the act of actually getting out of bed and not just switching it off. Although it might depend on the type of sleeper you are as well. I sleep easily and heavily. Even awoken by a bright light in this manner I am very concious of the fact I could turn it off and be asleep again in no time.

Even so — while my light alarm was new and shiny (literally) the novelty factor was strong and without a doubt was a huge aid in committing to the next step of actually rolling my feet out of bed. The mere fact of doing something different may well be enough, truth be told. Although having said that, I do struggle to think of anything else quite exciting enough to grant you this same degree of novelty factor.

And… Going back even further on what I said around change being enough… I also can’t help but to deny that having the light does make a noteable difference to how I feel when my eyes first creak blearily open. Especially now in the depths of winter here in New Zealand. There is little more unappealing to me than having to get out of bed while the world is still dark and dim.

So yes — if you’re absolutely adamant on staying in bed in the morning that little bit longer, having a light alarm isn’t going to stop you. Having one is an aid, but it’s going to be on you to use it. If you’re not already feeling like a box of beans ready to spring out and attack the world head-on in the morning, a light alarm isn’t going to give that to you.

Not right away at least. Not directly.

But it does ease the difficulty and might provide the needed kick to change current habits.

I can’t say for sure I’ve changed my habits yet. I’ve only been using it for a couple of weeks, and there has been the odd day where I’ve found an excuse to shut it off and wait for my phone alarm (now set for shortly after 7am).

I’m also not even attempting my earlier goal of waking up by 5am. I might yet switch to that — but for now I’ve set my alarm to 6:10am with a 30 minute ramp-up on the light. So from 5:40 the light will come on — albeit very dim — and ramp up to the full brightness by 6:10am.

This is mostly working for me at the moment, and giving me some quite relaxing time in the morning. I’m not using it for anything overly productive yet. I’m just… existing. But it’s a start and one I’m happy for. :)


Naithin

Gamer, reader, writer, husband and father of two boys. Former WoW and Gaming blogger, making a return to the fold to share my love of all things looty.

5 Comments

Jeromai · July 30, 2020 at 1:51 am

Nice to hear that it’s helping somewhat!

Yep, there’s a bit of mental trickery in overcoming the urge to shut it off. I set mine up on a shelf at the foot of my bed, rather than the typical bedside table position. So getting it shut off involves a full sit up and additional stretching at the very least, which does rather make one’s body a little confused over whether getting back to sleep is appropriate and gives some time for the brain to wake up and make an executive decision.

    Naithin · July 30, 2020 at 6:32 am

    I’ve tried the ‘put the alarm some physical distance away thing’ in the past with audio alarms — unfortunately for me, knowing that I can get back to sleep pretty easily, I end up just cursing the need to get up to reset it to a later time but still doing so. Hehe.

    But aye, I appreciate the recommendation! So far it has been, by far, the most successful thing I’ve personally encountered or tried. :)

paeroka · July 30, 2020 at 6:20 pm

I have never had an issue getting up. Maybe that’s because when I was a kid, my bedroom was on a different floor than my parents’ and my dad used an interphone device with a horrible sound to wake me up and only after replying to him that I’m up did he stop calling for me. :p So, I’ve always been used to the routine of hearing the alarm, getting up, walking downstairs to the bathroom.

My husband has a difficult time getting up. So I bought him such a light alarm clock as well when he’d mentioned that it may help. It hasn’t changed much, though. But as you said, there’s willpower involved and I think it’s him liking the idea of getting up earlier, but he doesn’t really want it. ;) But he still says it’s nicer to be woken up with the light turning on slowly.

Our light alarm also has a sleep function where I can turn on rain and light for 20 minutes. Both the light and the rain sounds are gradually getting quieter/darker. I think it takes me less than 5 minutes to fall asleep now, even with the bedroom being lit up. :p So either way, the purchase was worth it for us!

    Naithin · July 30, 2020 at 11:21 pm

    I haven’t tried the go-to-sleep function yet. My wife and I go to bed at quite different times, typically with me being the later. If it woke her up — I would be in a great deal of trouble. Hehe. Just as my wife is opposite to me in preferences of sleep times (she sleeps and wakes early by nature) she is also opposite in ability to get to sleep.

    It’s more of a struggle for her and being awoken is a big deal. Plus she sleeps light where I sleep heavy.

    Also? That sounds like a pretty rough way to awaken, especially during the teen years. Haha. Did you get that treatment over the weekends / holidays as well?

      paeroka · July 30, 2020 at 11:38 pm

      We have a difference of about 2 to 3 hours with our sleep patterns. So yeah, pretty similar to yours, I guess. :) Maybe she likes the go-to-sleep function, though? I am also a light sleeper, but thankfully, also fall asleep quickly again. However, I don’t hear my husband coming to bed. I only wake up when he’s not there at a time where he’s usually in bed already. So I guess some part of me stays awake to check… ;)

      The interphone was only in elementary school. My dad generally woke me up this way when the bathroom was free and he went to prepare breakfast. I quickly didn’t need it anymore and used my own alarm with my dad only checking if I got up, so I wouldn’t oversleep and then not checking anymore because I always did get up. On the weekends, I was usually the first one awake, but we had a very strict “no entering the lower floor”-rule until it was 9.30h. Thankfully, I had my Commodore 64, so I just turned that one on and played for an hour or two, or read a book or played with other toys until I heard my dad downstairs in the kitchen. Then I was allowed to go there.

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