It’s January 16th, the day known as “Blue Monday”. Considered to be the most depressing day of the year, many people feel especially low. January is a strange month. We feel excited about the new year and new starts, but many of us feel miserable and sad with the cold weather, long nights, broken resolutions and a long wait until pay-day. It’s enough to make anyone want to stay in bed and hibernate, especially when you find it hard to get out of bed on a dark morning.
I definitely find it hard to get up in the morning during winter. On a beautiful, sunny, summer day, I can bound out of bed full of energy, but during January? Not. A. Chance. I cannot fathom those 6am club runners who post their selfies at silly o’clock in the morning, have just run miles, showered, dressed and eaten breakfast, all while I’m still moping in bed. And yes, I am a bit jealous.
It’s a well-known fact that there is a direct link between natural daylight and mood. Opening the curtains to let the light in is a great boost to the mood to start the day, but what do you do when it’s still so miserable and dark outside? Opening the curtains to a dark sky and rain certainly doesn’t do much for me – in fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that I have a toddler, I would be back in bed. Instead, I’m snappy and huddle with “mummy juice” (strong coffee) on the sofa, sulking.
Philips have been experts in light for over 100 years and have developed the Philips Wake-up Light, which uses a unique combination of light therapy and sound to wake you up in a natural and gentle way. We all know that sleep is so important for well being – it gives us a chance to rest, prevents daytime fatigue, improves our mood, and sharpens attention skills. For athletes, a well-rested body is much more likely to perform well. But while sleep is important for a health, how we wake up is also important. A rude buzzing from an alarm clock jolts us awake before we’re ready to wake up. We’re not refreshed. We feel pretty rotten. Not a great start to the day, right?
I was sent the HF3505/1 to put to the test, to see how it helped me wake up in the morning and how it made me feel. Rather than a screeching alarm clock suddenly jolting you rudely awake, the Philips Wake-up Light works by gradually increasing light levels over a 30 minute period, culminating in the brightest setting with a choice of two natural wake up sounds – both variations of birds. If you prefer, it is also possible to set to radio instead.
A lot of thought has gone into this product – it can be completely customised to the individual. In addition to choosing from your preferred birdsong, Philips are aware that everybody has a different level of light intensity. The Wake-up Light has 10 different light intensities and you can set how bright you’d like yours to go. Over the 30 minute wake up period, it starts on a duller level and gradually moves through to bright yellow, before finally playing your choice of sound for a minute and a half, getting gradually louder. If you like to snooze like me after being woken up, there is a snooze function. After 9 minutes, your sound will start playing again, but the bad news for chronic snoozers like me is that you can only snooze once and then you have to get up. Of course, you shouldn’t need to snooze more than once as you should be feeling nicely and naturally awake.
So does it work? According to 92% of consumers who have tried the product, they find it easier to get up in the morning with the Philips Wake-up Light. I have a toddler who likes to get up before I’m ready to wake up, so I was eager to try out a more natural way of waking up. The light was easy to set up and has a handy test function so you can get an idea of what to expect when you use it properly for the first time. It took me a couple of nights to really get the feel for it, but now I have, I think I’m starting to feel the benefit. The first night I used it, I kept compulsively waking up to check the time and I’d also used it as a lamp for my bedroom reading the night before. I wondered if it worked so well, that I’d woken myself up to the extent I couldn’t sleep well. Doh.
On the second night, I didn’t use it as a lamp before bed and didn’t wake up as often. I did feel slightly blinded in the morning (I was on light setting 10) and I think this was just a little bit intense for me. I now have it set to 7, which feels more natural for me and not blinding. The light does a great job of mimicking the sunlight and waking up to the sound of birds did convince my body it was a bright spring day and I jumped out of bed, although I do now have to confess to having it tuned to Absolute Radio – I love a good bit of rock in the morning!
I have embedded a short video below, showing the light intensity on test mode of my light.
I only have two small complaints about this clever piece of kit. The first is the clock display. Although there is the function to dim it, I still find the orange glare quite bright and my eyes get drawn to it when I wake up in the night. I appreciate that this is a common trait on all types of alarms and maybe I’m being fussy, but it would be very clever if the time could be completely dimmed and displayed only when a button is pressed. The second small complaint is the snooze function. To activate it, all that you need to do is to tap the top, but I find it takes a few attempts to actually make it work. Both minor complaints and they certainly don’t outweigh the benefits.
The Philips Wake-up Light is a great tool to help you wake up in the morning. It’s certainly kinder than a toddler and while I’m not sure I’ll be joining the 6am run club anytime soon, seeing 7am is starting to get a little bit easier. These products are available from £49.99 on the Philips website, with the HF3505/01 currently on offer for £65.
Meanwhile, why don’t you try these tips to make the morning a little bit easier?
- Set your alarm across the room so you have to get up to turn it off
- Open the curtains to let in as much light as possible
- Go outside and take in a few deep breaths of fresh air
How do you find waking up in the morning? Do you suffer SADS or winter blues? Are you a 6am club runner?