Wake up Naturally With a Sunrise Alarm Clock

Leveraging the body’s circadian rhythm to create a relaxing wake-up experience.


Sleep, Happiness

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“Waking up on the right side of the bed” is a cliché that means starting the day feeling well-rested, content, and mentally prepared to tackle the challenges the day throws at you. It’s not just a saying; the way you feel when you drag yourself out of bed in the morning actually has an impact on our moods throughout the day. Although there is no substitute for getting enough sleep, sunrise alarm clocks can ease the transition to wakefulness and help make every day a “right side of the bed” day.

Following the circadian rhythm
Sunrise alarm clocks work by getting in sync with the body’s circadian rhythm, mindbodygreen explains. The circadian rhythm is the body’s internal clock. It regulates metabolism, body temperature, sleep patterns and other daily rhythms. 

Seema Bonney, founder and director of the Anti-Aging & Longevity Center of Philadelphia, elaborates. The circadian rhythm is controlled by the brain’s “master clock,” otherwise known as the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN).

"When light travels from the eyes via the optic nerves to the SCN, it suppresses melatonin and creates a waking effect on the brain and body, initiating the awake phase of the 24-hour circadian rhythm and waking you up," Bonney explains.

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Waking up to the light
That means that light perceived by the eyes affects the natural, circadian, wakefulness cycle. Sunrise alarm clocks capitalize on this with LED technology that gradually brightens the room in the morning. They are especially helpful for apartment dwellers without large bedroom windows. It’s also useful for those winter months, when it's still dark at 6:30 am, the Cottage Life shares. 

According to NBC News many sunrise alarm clocks have additional features. Some accompany the gradual “sunrise” lighting with pleasant natural sounds, like chirping birds. Others also have relaxation routines, calm sounds, music, and reminders to help users fall asleep “on the right side of the bed” at night as well. They can also sync with health and sleep metrics on other devices.

Dr. Bindiya Gandhi tells mindbodygreen, "Light therapy is not new, and doctors have long been recommending this therapy for many different ailments". Sunrise alarm clocks work in a similar way as the light therapy tools used for Seasonal Affective Disorder and other mental health issues. 

The Sleep Foundation media company explains that light therapy is even used to treat insomnia. In fact, the Foundation explains, “Light is the strongest for training your circadian rhythm.” Using the sunlight to train and regulate sleep and wakefulness patterns isn’t often possible in the modern world, and that’s where sunrise alarm clocks and light therapy can come in handy.

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Maybe our human ancestors naturally woke up to the sunlight at daybreak, but modern day bosses aren’t likely to understand if we start coming into work at 5:30 am in the summer and 8:30 am in the winter. Modern problems require modern solutions, and sunrise alarm clocks are a tool people can use to sync their circadian cycles with their daily routines. 

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