The 7 Best Wake-Up Lights
7. In Life E7
- battery backup for power outages
- has a complete darkness mode
- may be difficult to program for some
|Rating||4.1 / 5.0|
6. Patch Products OK to Wake
- helpful timer for naps
- adorable interchangeable faceplates
- can only be powered via usb
|Brand||Patch Products LLC|
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
5. Tstar Sunrise
- takes up minimal nightstand space
- simple setup instructions
- also has an audible alarm
|Rating||4.2 / 5.0|
4. MagicLight Smart
- comes in different wattage options
- can pulsate to music
- controlled via a smart device
|Rating||3.8 / 5.0|
3. Nature Bright Sun Bliss
- compact size is perfect for travel
- includes a universal power adapter
- user-friendly controls
|Rating||4.9 / 5.0|
2. Flux Bluetooth
- app controls one or multiple lights
- efficient and energy-saving
- installs like a standard light bulb
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
1. Philips HF3520
- convenient snooze function
- automatically dims in darkness
- sleek and modern design
|Rating||4.8 / 5.0|
Unexpected Consequences Of Not Getting Enough Sleep
You already know that sleep is important, although it's a lot harder to remember that when it's midnight and you're binge-watching Netflix. But not catching enough Zs has a bigger impact on your body than you might think, with more dire consequences than simply feeling groggy at work.
One of the most unexpected effects of sleep deprivation involves weight gain. This seems counter-intuitive; how could spending less time in bed make you fatter? However, sleep helps regulate the hormones leptin and ghrelin, which affect your feelings of hunger and fullness. So, if you don't spend enough time hitting the hay, you're likely to spend more time hitting the buffet.
Conversely, one thing which probably won't surprise you about lack of sleep is that it can cause mood disorders. This much is obvious to anyone who talks to me before I've had my fourth cup of coffee in the morning. But beyond basic irritability, not getting enough shuteye affects your brain's ability to process information, which can lead to depression, impulsive behavior, paranoia, hallucinations, and more.
Your ability to fight off sickness is also affected by your rest habits. While you sleep, your body produces things like cytokines, which are basically the foot soldiers in the war against infection. If you don't get your forty winks in, your immune system won't be able to assemble much of a fighting force. Think about that the next time you wonder why you're always the one who catches the flu every year.
There are myriad more ways in which lack of sleep can sabotage your health, and researchers are learning more about slumber's effects on the body every day. The most important takeaway you can make, however, is that you need to get enough sleep every night if you want to be your best.
In fact, that's what you should tell your boss if he catches you napping on the job. Let me know if it works.
How Light Affects Your Sleep Cycle
Now that I've convinced you that you should make sleep a priority (I have convinced you, haven't I?), you should know that the best way to get the proper amount of rest is to establish a sleep schedule and stick to it. Yes, that means going to bed and getting up at roughly the same time every day, but trust me, it's worth it.
Of course, if you've already tried and failed to stick to a sleep schedule, then you know it's not as easy as just setting an alarm or slipping between the sheets at a certain time. Your body is regulated by your circadian rhythm, which is basically your brain's best guess as to what time it is. One of the biggest factors in your mind's ability to determine time is how much light it's getting.
Makes sense, right? After all, our ancestors didn't have watches, so they used the sun to determine when to get up and when to go to bed. But you know what else our ancestors didn't have? Cell phones and TVs and tablets blasting light in their faces at all hours of the night, confusing their delicate internal clocks about what time it really was.
Of course, they also didn't have to wake up literally before the crack of dawn to beat traffic and get to work on time.
While human technology might have evolved by leaps and bounds over the centuries, our circadian rhythms haven't caught up, so you're going to have to trick yours. That means unplugging from all bright lights (especially blue ones) at least an hour before you go to sleep, and it means waking up to warm, refreshing light shining on your face.
That last part is where wake-up lights come in.
The Benefits Of Wake-Up Lights
As mentioned above, you can't always count on the sun to wake you up in the morning. You might need to get up before sunrise, or you may have a bedroom that doesn't face the dawn. In that case, you need to cheat, and a wake-up light is the best way to do it.
The clocks start by emitting a warm glow a little while before your alarm is set to go off. This allows your body to process the fact that dawn is breaking, and you'll begin to transition into lighter, non-REM sleep. This is important, because if you wake up immediately out of deeper sleep, you'll feel extremely groggy, and it will take you longer to get ready to confront the day.
The light gets gradually brighter the closer it gets to your designated wake-up time, and then, when it's time to wake up, your buzzer will go off. At this point, it's as bright as a summer morn in your bedroom, so it's hard for even the most dedicated snoozers to sleep through their alarm. Fair warning, though: if you sleep with your eyes covered, the brightness may not affect you at all.
Wake-up lights are great for non-morning people who nevertheless have to wake up early for work, or for city-dwellers who can't leave their drapes open all night because the city lights affect their ability to rest. People who are naturally early risers may not see as much benefit, unless they just want to add a little brightness to their mornings.
Regardless, waking up to a room bathed in a warm, refreshing glow is significantly more satisfying than being jarred awake by an obnoxious beeping. After all, if I wanted to wake up to blaring noises, I wouldn't have taken the batteries out of my smoke detectors (note: please don't do this).