Cultures across the globe believe that waking up suddenly is actually dangerous for the soul. Somehow, that really resonates. At the very least, the heart-rattling bell or shrill startling beep beep beep of a standard alarm clock is just a crummy way to start the day. Scientists don’t study safety hazards for the soul, but studies have found that gradual awakening increases sleep quality. Read about alternative alarm clocks here and discover how to wake up on time gracefully.
Studies have shown that waking gradually improves sleep quality. In these trials gradual wakening was done through dawn simulation, a technique in which light is gradually increased in imitation of a natural sunrise.
We have inherited biological rhythms that are in tune with our environment—which is to say that our internal clocks are set to the sun. Dawn simulation helps to reset the body clock in a way that allows our bodies to start waking up the way the body naturally wants to wake up. By coordinating awakening to our bodies natural rhythm and our surroundings, overall sleep improves. In studies, dawn simulation not only improved sleep quality, but increased well being overall!
Personally, waking up with the sunrise is my favorite way to start the day and suits my schedule well in the summer. But with shorter days and later sunrises, I need to get up before the sun does. I find that a softly beeping alarm clock is preferable to something more startling, but I think there’s something to this dawn-simulation theory. It just makes sense. And if indigenous cultures across the globe share a similar theory about sudden wakening, I am prone to think there must be some universal wisdom in the belief.
To that end, there are a number of non-alarming alarm clocks designed to ease your way from slumber to bright-eyes. Generally referred to as dawn simulating or sunrise clocks, they have a light that gradually increases—and apparently they actually do wake you up. One even has an aromatherapy option with which you can choose to wake up with the scent of brewing coffee. These just seem like much better options than, say, the Sonic Bomb Clock with its 113 decibels (louder than a jackhammer) and 12-volt bed shaker. Soul, take cover.
Sunrise clocks are more expensive than your average clock, but there is a range in price and less expensive ones can be purchased for under fifty dollars. Some other less expensive, gentle awakening, alternatives to sunrise clocks are listed below as well. And if you’re worried about sleeping through the “sunrise”—most people report that it works even for sound sleepers, but sunrise clocks come equipped with a back-up alarm just in case.
Alarm clocks to prevent a rattled soul:
The Peaceful Progression Wake-Up Clock is one of the least expensive ones on the market, and comes equipped with nature sounds and an aromatherapy bowl.
BioBrite has a whole line of award winning dawn simulating clocks—you can check out the range of their products here.
Lighten Up isn’t an alarm clock, but an adaptor to use with your own lamp that will gradually turn on the lamp. There are other similar products on the market, but at twenty-five dollars this is the least expensive one we found—it is privately distributed.
If a sunrise clock is out of your reach, this Nature Sounds Alarm Clock can give you a similar wake up call, in the form of crickets, water, birds, seagulls, or rooster—all that soul-soothing nature for under eleven dollars!