Waking up is hard to do
There's nothing like waking up in the pitch black, only to realize that while it may look like 3 a.m., it's actually 7:00 a.m. and you're going to be late for work. Turns out your trusty cellphone alarm not only didn't survive a dunk in the bathtub, but it also is way less effective when the battery dies overnight.
So, when Philips offered me a chance to test out the Wake-up Light Plus ($119.99 - $179.99), with the promise of a better start to those gloomy winter mornings, I had to give it a shot.
As one of those who'd never given it a go, I was interested to see if it really did make for an easier start to the day and, more importantly, whether the gradually brightening light would actually be enough to wake up this sleepyhead.
In theory, the light works by naturally simulating sunrise, thus increasing the level of energy hormones in the body and preparing it to wake up. It also includes options for natural sounds and radio alarms.
As for the alarm functionality, the first night I hit the wrong setting and woke up in a panic to an almost-too-bright room with birds chirping away, followed by the incessant buzzing of my back-up alarm, my cellphone, just in case I'd programmed it wrong. Effective, yes. Soothing, not so much.
The next week of testing went just fine - I even found I was waking up with less of a jolt than my usual blaring alarm method. I did need to spend some time monkeying with the lighting levels to get them just right -- too bright, and I was awake before my alarm was set to go off, too low and I was still half asleep come go time.
Also, because I work two night shifts a week, it wasn't the ideal solution to rely on for those days when my alarm was set for noon. When it's already light out and you're stubbornly avoiding the outside world with a nightshade, light therapy just won't do. For those days, I had to rely on the radio setting.
As for the decor angle, the alarm is a little plastic looking, but largely not intrusive. Basically, it's not as cool as a retro bell ringer, but no worse than the standard dock. And while it was a little bit on the large side for my wee little bedside table, I was able to make it work because it doubled as a lamp - thus actually leaving me with a little bit more wiggle room for glasses of water, mugs of tea and books come bedtime.