Has anyone had any experience with the so-called 'simulated dawn' alarm clocks such as the Bio-Brite, Wake-Up Light or Soleil? It is possible that I may start using one in the winter when I cannot leave the shutters on our windows open because of the cold, but are they worth the expense?
I've used a borrowed BioBrite SunRise in the past. It's pretty nice and works as advertised. The light is bright but not even close to the intensity of real sunlight through a window so results will vary depending on your particular sensitivity to light. Also, as far as I understand it, the perception of light intensity falls off greatly with each increment of distance so you'll get best results if you can put this lamp on a nightstand next to the bed versus across the room on a dresser. When I used the lamp, it was about 2 feet away from my head. It's pretty big for an alarm clock so not necessarily easy to fit on a nightstand.
I haven't purchased one of my own mainly because I allow myself to wake up naturally now and have a cheapo alarm clock that's sufficient for the rare occasion where I need to be up by a certain time. If I ever find myself in a position in life where I have to wake up at a regular time, I'd certainly consider one of these lamps.
It's a rather expensive alarm clock and individual results seem to vary greatly so I'm hesitant to recommend it too strongly. If you find that sunlight through a window is effective for waking you up, it might be worth a shot, particularly if you can get it through a retailer with a good return policy!
I have a BioBrite one and it works. I wake up to it every morning and it helps me to snap out of the deep sleep Im usually in if the room is dark. The craftsmanship isnt the best but it hasnt broken on me. I also sometimes use the Sounds of Nature Lite app (free) on my iphone (plugged into my computer speakers). Since the lamp takes 30 min to gradually lighten the room Ill set the alarm to go off 5 minutes after the Nature Alarm. That way I wake up to the sounds of birds and the outdoors and a bright room. Pretty primal awakening :-)
Apparently, there are some product quality issues with the Philips Wake-up Light.
I would suggest doing thorough research before buying.
I have used one for a couple of years now and would not want to wake up pre-dawn without one. The Verilux Rise and Shine was by far the best, but the bulb burnt out, is difficult to locate, and rather expensive. Right now, I'm using one called "Wake Up Naturally." It is less than stellar as the light is not bright enough, but it was cheaper than the specialty light bulb. As soon as I can overcome my sticker shock, I'll be purchasing the bulb and returning to the Verilux.
I have got the Philips mentioned, and it works fine. So far at least...
And I must say, that during the winter, it was nice to wake up with this alarm clock. Although, with two kids (age 2y4m and 8m), you sometimes don't need an alarm.
It was rather expensive, but worthwile. I hope not to get any problems, like the ones mentioned on amazon.
I gave a BioBrite as a birthday present to my boyfriend who really struggles to get up in the morning. It often wakes me up 5 or 10 minutes into the artifial dawn even though it's over on his side of the bed. It's a nice feeling when that happens because it wakes me naturally durig a light sleep phase before my own alarm goes off. On the other hand my boyfriend sleeps through the whole dawn phase and can easily go through 10 minutes of the audible alarm before he finally stirs.
The verdict is: It works really well for some people but maybe not for those who really need help with waking up :)
For those with an iPhone, I bought the app 'Wake-Up Pro' which gets brighter and brighter for 30 minutes before it wakes you up with your choice of noise (I have farm birds). I usually wake up a few minutes before the birds. It works great for me and was only $3 or something. If you get it, make sure you read about how to turn the brightness down for the rest of the night.
I use a moonbeam alarm clock and have for several years. It is a verycool retro looking alarm clock and was originally created for the blind. Actually after converting to it I have not required an alarm clock in quite a long time, my husband however does and now he uses it. He has to get up before I do and even though it does wake me it isn't that awful feeling a normal alarm causes. I would highly suggest it.