These are high-tech light alarms that are built to mimic the sunrise. These alarms sit in your room and use artificial light to wake you up without sound. It’s a more natural way to wake up, with better effects for our health.
What are sunrise alarm clocks?
Sunrise alarm clocks are digital clocks that also use an artificial light source. Like regular bedside alarm clocks, they’re set to wake you up at a specified time. Instead of using noise, it mimics the slow rising of the sun. It steadily increases in brightness until it wakes up the user.These sunrise alarm clocks come in a variety of types that also include different light intensities and features. The main reason people use light alarms is because it’s more natural to wake up to than using loud alarms.
How do they work?
Sunrise alarm clocks use our bodies natural response to sunlight to wake us up. Our bodies have a natural response to light exposure; light governs our wake and sleep cycles, and light exposure takes part in regulating our circadian rhythm.
Light suppresses melatonin, which is a hormone that initiates sleep. It has a waking effect on the brain and body, which makes it a more natural way to wake up. Our bodies also respond to artificial light the same way.
Sunrise alarms slowly increase in intensity over a period of time to wake you up. This time can be personalized, though there are studies that show that timing of light exposure greatly influences the effect of light on the circadian clock.
Light and the circadian rhythm
Your circadian rhythm is the daily cycle of your physical and mental behavior that follows your biological clock. Your circadian clock regulates the timing of your circadian rhythm, like your sleep and wake cycles.
Exposure to light can influence our internal circadian clock, which regulates our sleep and wake cycle and is governed largely by light. This circadian rhythm governs many critical functions in the body. The reason we respond so well to light is because of how light exposure affects our body’s production of hormones like melatonin, cortisol, and other biological processes. When light exposure increases during the day, functions like cognitive arousal begin.
There are studies that show how light influences and also regulates our circadian rhythm. In a study, different intensities of light resulted in varying levels of melatonin suppression. All things like intensity, timing, and duration of light affects our internal clocks.
Light is also stimulating; this is why blue light from digital screens tends to keep us up late at night, even making it more difficult to fall asleep.
Research on light exposure
Light has an influence in our central nervous system, which is how it has such an influence on our body’s rhythms of melatonin, body temperature, cortisol, and even hormone production.
Light also has an effect on our mood; a study found that light affected the production of serotonin, which is a hormone that regulates mood. Light therapy has been used to treat certain mental disorders like depression. Light exposure therapy has been used as part of treatment for some sleep disorders.
Light exposure has even been shown to subjectively increase alertness and attention in sleep-deprived individuals.
Read more: Using Blue Light Glasses For Late Nights
Using light instead of noisy alarms
Read more: Weighted Blankets for Better Sleep
Using these light alarms has more benefits than using a noisy alarm, mainly because our body naturally responds to light in a more healthful way.
Loud alarms tend to jolt you awake; they cause spikes to your cortisol and blood pressure which cause unnecessary physical reactions to stress. By abruptly waking you up, they can also disrupt you from deeper stages of sleep which can make you feel disoriented.
Using light alarms is a much slower, more gradual process which prepares your body to wake itself more easily and comfortably.
Some of the downsides
Sunrise light alarm clocks have a lot of benefits, especially compared to loud alarms. They’re far healthier, but they also have some caveats.
For one, their prices are quite steep. For most light alarms, you have to invest a bit. Philips is one of the most popular brands, and their fully spec-ed out model costs over $200.
At that price point, there are other things that limit its usefulness. You can’t take it with you if you’re traveling, you can’t take this bulky product with you, let alone use it on the go. They also aren’t personal; the light alarm works by illuminating the entire room. So anyone else in the room near you will also be exposed and wake up.
While clearly a healthier option, there are better, cheaper, and more efficient sleepwear technologies that exist that are also healthier alternatives to using loud alarms.
More, natural sleep tech
VibeRise is the complete package when it comes to better alarms. It’s the only sleep tech that allows you to get the best sleep quality by waking you up better in the morning.
It uses gentle haptics to wake you up more slowly, without disrupting you from deep sleep. Even if you went to bed late, waking up to a silent, gentle alarm is shown to improve your sleep quality & wake you up feeling more well-rested.
You can check out VibeRise on Indiegogo.