Med thumb sunrise

A confession: I haven't hit the snooze button in six months. Prior to that, I was a chronic procrastinator, blindly pawing at my iPhone three, maybe four times a morning to steal a few more precious minutes. This was not a source of enjoyment but a sysiphusian act, as the extra time allotted by each tap-and-swipe of the screen only meant I had to suffer through an ear-shredding salvo again and again. To wake up to a screaming alarm, I finally realized, was to start my day in a panicked state.

My solution: I dropped $70 on a gradual light alarm. Much like a standard bedside model, the device has a clock to set and a few chimes that go off. But rather than rousing me with sound alone, it has an LED inside that, a half-hour before my scheduled wake up time, steadily grows brighter, simulating a natural sunrise. When the subtle alarm does go off, my coal-dark bedroom is already swathed in sunlight and my body is already nudged awake naturally without the need for a DEFCON-5 dose of stress hormones.

Scientifically speaking, light is the guiding force in our sleep-regulating circadian system and we’re biologically inclined to doze in the dark and rise in the light. But all I can say is that the steady glow of the alarm allows me to wake without elevating my heart. And, just in case I do want to steal a few more minutes, it does have a snooze button.

Here are five options to help brighten your morning. 

1. Philips HF3506/66 Wake Light

Philips has an array of excellent light-therapy alarms, many of which are approved by the National Sleep Institute. This spherical number, which I currently use, is small enough to sit on a nightstand and has a programmable LED clock. It peaks at 200 Lux (roughly the equivalent of a standard bedside table lamp) but has ten settings so you can personalize the intensity to your liking. $90;


2. LIFX Original Smartbulb

What looks like a standard 60-watt is actually a wifi-connected, programmable LED bulb. Screw it into a bedside lamp and through a partner app you can set it to turn on at a certain time and gradually increase in brightness. The bulb offers are more than 16 million colors to select, but save the psychedelics for your next house party — when it comes to waking up, sunlight-mimicking white or yellow work best. Starting at $40;


3. BioBrite Sunrise Clock Advanced Model

In addition to its simulated sunrise wakeup, which can be set to start at 15, 30, 45 or one hour before your alarm, this dome-shaped Biobrite also features a fade-out setting that dims the light as you fall asleep. There's also an FM radio setting that can be set to correspond with either modes. from $120;


4. Yantouch Diamond + BTS

Perched on a nightstand, this polygonal system seems like a prop snatched from the set of The Avengers. More than a mere design exercise, the Diamond is a take-anywhere rechargeable Bluetooth speaker that doubles as a wakeup light. The 2.1-watt sound system features dim and rise light options, a ten-hour battery and the choice of hearing either preset alarms or other content streamed from a compatible device. $149; 


5. Lumie Body Clock Active 250

Certified as a Class 1 medical device, the Lumie Body Clock not only uses light to trigger natural waking, but also uses its precision-tuned light to help those suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder Syndrome. While a bit girth-y, the light is crammed with useful features, including six alarm sounds, dim and rise settings and a timer that can be dialed in between 15 and 90 minutes. $120 (est.);