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. :)