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Daylight saving time can be a difficult transition for many people as it disrupts their sleep patterns. Every year, when the clocks “spring forward” an hour in the spring and “fall back” an hour in the fall, people have to adjust to a new sleep schedule. This can cause fatigue, difficulty concentrating and other issues related to lack of sleep.
The disruption of our circadian rhythm is one of the main reasons the switch to daylight saving time can be so hard on our sleep. Our bodies are used to following a particular pattern of light and darkness throughout the day and night. Changing the clocks twice a year throws off this natural rhythm and makes it harder for us to get enough restful sleep.
One type of product that may help regulate this process is wake-up lights.
“Light is the central driver of circadian rhythm, so finding time for daylight exposure on the days following the change to daylight saving time can help your body’s internal clock acclimate to the new timing of light and dark,” says Sleep Foundation product expert Jackson Lindeke. “Wake-up lights simulate this effect, acting as a natural light replacement and activate at your set wake-up time. So as the clock jumps ahead, you are waking up easier with one hour less sleep.”
A wake-up light is designed to simulate the gradual sunrise that typically happens outside, starting off dim and gradually increasing the light intensity over 30 minutes or more. The Sleep Foundation tested these lights and curated a list of the best options available. Following are a few highly-rated lights from that list, all available on Amazon.
Sleep Foundation named this light best overall for its many features that can help you get optimal rest and wake up feeling energized. It includes a sound machine for soothing and blocking noise, a smart light to help you wind down before sleep, a personal sleep routine setting, a bedside reading light, wind-down content and a sunrise alarm clock for gentle wake-up.
The light, $129.99, has over 7,000 ratings and 4.2 stars. Customers like that it helps them fall asleep and wake up more easily.
“Great product,” one reviewer wrote. “I was looking for something to help not only wake me up in the mornings, but help me stick to a bedtime routine and it’s changed my sleep game. Sounds, stories, meditation, lighting options… I love the customization of it all.”
Several reviewers mentioned that some content is only available with a paid subscription.
Named “Best Value” on Sleep Foundation’s list, the Dekala Arkenstone sunrise clock has a smart wake-up light that gradually increases its intensity over 30 minutes or more, allowing you to naturally ease out of sleep and experience deeper REM sleep. It also has an ambient light and sleep assistant, which lets you customize your sleep patterns with soothing music and dimming lights. The white noise sound machine night light blocks disruptive noises or conversations while providing a calming atmosphere.
The Arkenstone, $59.99, has more than 1,300 ratings and 4.3 stars. Customers say it is user-friendly and appreciate that you can control it from your smartphone or through voice commands via Amazon Alexa or Google Home.
The Lumie Bodyclock made the list for best features. The Lumie Bodyclock Shine 300, $159, is the newest model in the brand’s popular wake-up light alarm clock series. You can customize your sleep and waking hours with its 15 natural and soothing sounds, radio and sunset options.
Customers like the sunrise/sunset feature that gradually brightens or dims its lights to mimic the rising or setting of the sun. It also has adjustable sound controls so you can pick an alarm sound that won’t jolt you awake in the morning. And for those who need help falling asleep at night, the built-in white noise generator creates a tranquil atmosphere with calming sounds such as ocean waves or raindrops.
You can view the complete list of top wake-up lights on the Sleep Foundation’s website.
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