You asked: “do dawn simulators work?“
The resounding answer is yes, if used regularly. using a simulated sunrise helps your body wake up in a natural and relaxed state, feeling like you’ve had a great nights sleep.
Ask yourself this question:
How good to you feel when you’ve had a great sleep and wake up to a lovely sunny day after a great sleep?
Now compare this to waking up on a cold miserable morning. Just wanting to stay in bed longer, thinking of ringing in sick to work.
Using light therapy really does help people to feel better and less depressed.
Clinical trials have tested these therapies many times, and it is well documented that using a simulated “morning” can help you in numerous ways, from dealing with S.A.D. through to tackling depression.
Here are just a few clinical trials:
- Clinicaltrials.gov – shows a trial by the University of Oulu. The outcome showed a 50% reduction in the severity of the symptoms.
- Pubmed.gov – showing a trial to have given the intended result – i.e. help from seasonal affective disorder and depression
What does a dawn simulator do?
As you can probably guess, it is a light that comes on at a set time, and imitates a naturally bright morning as the sun rises and casts light into your bedroom.
- The dawn simulator starts off on a low brightness and gradually increases the intensity of light over a set period of time.
For many people, dark dull mornings can make people feel down, sad or depressed and they never really know the reason why.
These wake up lights all do the same thing:
Try to trick your mind into thinking it’s a glorious new day.
The end result being that you wake up in a happier more positive mood ready to take on the day!
Even if you think it sounds a bit strange, the proof is in the clinical trials. Light therapy does indeed work, and dawn simulators are a wonderful way for you to start each new day in a positive vibe.
Why do we have these sleeping problems? Do dawn simulators work well?
Have you ever heard of circadian rhythms? or your body clock?
Well it’s a proven and real thing.
Your body has an internal clock located deep in your brain near to the optic nerves in your head behind your eyes. The area is know as the SCN. This regulates all sorts of things, and is based roughly on a 24 hour clock.
It is resonsible for regulating hormones in your body, alertness and making sure you wake up at roughly the same time each day.
- In modern days with a multitude of electronic devices, often peoples’ body clocks are “off”, not in sync when compared to how they should be.
- Sleep disorders, bodily issues with hormones etc, and the increasing use of electronic gadgets can all have an effect on your own Circadian rhythm.
- One of the things which affects your body clock is sunlight.
- This is why some people are affected in Winter (others equally during Summer) when it is darker for longer.
Enter the Dawn simulator light.
It starts to fill up your bedroom with light that mimics the rising sun, and is clinically proven to help.
One of the leading researchers and producers of dawn simulator lights “Lumie”, have an extensive list of more tests and trials which you can read right here.
After using these wake up lights, trial participants:
- Woke up feeling more refreshed and alert
- Performed better in physical trials
- Had quicker average reaction times
- Felt an improved mood / less depression
- and so much more…
Can you ACTUALLY get better sleep using a dawn simulator ?
- A separate trial involved using 100 volunteers. Each was given a wake up light / dawn simulator. These people did not typically suffer with symptoms relating to S.A.D. The idea was to see if people with no sleep issues could improve the quality of their normal sleeping by using one of these lights.
- After just 6 days of using the lamps regularly, most of them noted definite improvements in their overall quality of sleep – i.e. getting a better nights sleep.
- HOWEVER those who then stopped using the wake up light soon reverted back.
So it make sense to use a wake up light as an every day part of your life, even if you do not get the “winter blues”.
What sort of dawn simulator lights should you get?
Even though there are a number of these now available on places like Amazon, eBay etc., you still need to do some due diligence.
- Some are a simple light, pure and simple.
- Some have alarm clocks, radios etc. built into them.
- Some are even Bluetooth enabled.
- Some come with nature sounds you can wake up to
- Some are downright terrible, and some are superb. Stick to well known brands such as Philips or Lumie/
Dawn simulator alarm clock reviews
Naturally, it makes perfect sense to turn this concept into a bedside alarm clock too. Thankfully there are now PLENTY that are fully functioning wake up lights along with digital clocks, and many others also have optional “normal” alarm clock and radio alarm functions to suit your desires.
- You can even programe some of them so that they wake you up at different times for different days, and then it is completely hands free, should you wish to go down this route.
Let’s have a brief look at some of the better ones out there and what sort of dawn simulators and dawn dusk simulators are out there to help you run your life as it should be run, and also help deal with the symptoms of SAD. Look out for well known trusted brands such as Lumie and Philips.
If you’ve got a budget in mind that is fine, as there are now many of these in a wide range of pricing brackets.
Cheap dawn simulators:
- Typically in the range of £20 to £60, you can find a lot of budget brands of dawn simulator lights that offer many features, and trusted brands at the higher end of the price bracket. For example, here you will see unbranded models, and then at the top end, you can get the trusted Lumie model called the “starter 30”. You will easily find a dawn simulator within this price range.
- If you’re happy to choose a brand you’ve not heard of before (essentially a smaller company who have imported a container full and put their own label on), you will find plenty, and the good news is that some of these are getting good reviews.
Fitfort Alarm Clock Review – Our Pick For A Cheap Dawn Simulator!
This is classed as a cheap dawn simulator / wake up light, and because of it’s great feedback, we wanted to mention how good this really is. You can see how cheap it is right here on Amazon if you like.
Here’s some standard features taken direct from Amazon:
- Intelligent sunrise/sunset simulation: gradually brighten from 10% Brightness to 100% in 30 minutes before the alarm time/dimmed from 100% Brightness to 0% in 30 minutes before the bedtime. Guide you to a restful natural sleep and develop a good sleep pattern. Wake up in the first sunlight of the day With abundant energy
- ALARM CLOCK&BEDSIDE LAMP: Upgraded snooze function gives you extra 5 minutes of sleep after the alarm time. 11-Level brightness allows you to adjust the wake up light to the proper brightness in the night.
- FM RADIO: Want some music after get up? LEVIN Wake Up Light supports manual/auto searching radio channel. Automatically saving the radio channels to the play list(supports 40 channels at most).
- 6 Natural sounds & 6 colours LED light: 6 natural sounds such as piano, Twitter, waves, Violin, croak, beep. Or you can set your favourite radio channel as the alarm too. Touch the light button to choose you favourite colour, including Green, red, blue, pink, orange and Indigo
Good solid mid priced dawn simulators:
- Typically priced from £60 to £120, you really want all the bells and whistles within this price range, saving perhaps some of the more premium extras for higher priced models.
- In general though most dawn simulators will meet your needs within this price range. Let’s take a look at what is available within this price range.
- You will start to see some Philips models available, and plenty of Lumie models showing up too. These are in my opinion the two main players currently for quality trusted brands, however a relatively unknown, the Fitfort Alarm clock is enjoying some really great reviews and quite brilliant customer feedback, AND IT’S REALLY CHEAP!
Top end high quality dawn simulator lights
These wake up lights are at the top of their game.
- This is the price range of £120 and upwards. A lot of the time you are paying just for a name, as you won’t find any budget brands in this price range usually.
- Again you will see Philips and Lumie being the leaders in this field. What you will get is all the bells and whistles, along with the comfort of top end customer support, warranties and peace of mind.
- These wake up lights deliver what you originally wanted.
How much should I pay to get a good dawn simulator?
From a price point you can expect to pay anywhere from under £10, up to the £200 mark.
Sure you will get some benefit from the cheaper models and that’s great if you use it every day, but for a faster improvement in how you feel and perform, aim to find higher performing lights with higher levels of Lumens or Lux figures.
Lumens Vs Lux – huh?
From a PERFORMANCE point of view, choose one that has the greatest number of LUMENS and LUX.
These two are not the same thing. Lumens is how much light a bulb gives off. Lux is how much light reaches you.
- Every so roughly, if a light is directing most of it’s energy towards you, and you are roughly 2 feet away then a 1 lumen brightness would mean 1 lux.
- Many current wake up lights are 2500 lumens or under, but dedicated SAD lamps can be up to 10,000 Lumens.
- If you are further away, or the lamp is casting light around the room, then the Lux figure would be less than the Lumen.
Now before you get too excited. Daylight is around 100,000 lumens.
What is a Lumen?
- Bulb manufactures needed a way to describe a bulb and how bright it was.
- Ever so roughly, 1 Lumen of brightness is the approximate brightness you get from one candle at about 1 foot away
- During Summer time, you would expect around 10,000 lumens per square foot.
- So more Lumens is always better.
At the end of the day, just get the best you can afford.
- This Lumie 30 model on Amazon is a firm favourite as a Dawn simulator. It’s also an alarm clock.
- Or for a straightforward light therapy panel, this Lumie model works wonders, although it’s not designed as a wake up device.
D.I.Y. OPPORTUNITY – MAKE YOUR OWN SAD LAMP:
Want to make a monster light therapy lamp at over 30,000 lumens?
This guy did it himself and claims it’s far more effective at energizing his brain than most traditional lamps.
The science behind it is solid. Most wake up lights range from a few Lumens up to dedicated SAD lamps at 10,000 lumens. A brighter light can only boost the feel good factor you get from being in bright sunlight. I don’t know about you but waking up over Winter with Grey skies gives me a feeling of gloom, whereas waking up in Summer simply makes you feel so much better!
Whatever you go for at the end of the day, more Lumens will help you feel better. For the best feeling, just go for a 10,000 lumen alarm clock, or for a gentler approach, enjoy one of these dedicated dawn simulators to help your body clock get back in it’s proper normal rhythm.
Is it a definite dawn simulator lamp you want, or a dedicated S.A.D. therapy light?
A dawn simulator will get your body used to waking up feeling refreshed and in a happier more positive mood, but it will never be able to replace a dedicated bright light therapy lamp. These are usually prescribed by doctors to help people with S.A.D. or depression.
Light therapy lights are exceptionally brighter than 99% of the dawn simulators and given to help chronic sufferers.
Final thoughts on dawn simulators
Nothing beats waking up on a brilliant summers morning. Window open, breeze gently blowing in, and a dazzling bright sunlight gently entering your room waking you up in a fantastic mood.
Trouble is we can’t enjoy this “luxury” every day of the year. For a quarter of the year we have to put up with dark and chilly winters with far less sunlight.
- If you use a dawn simulator every day you will notice a difference after a few weeks. You’ll not feel so “slow and tired” each morning.
- You will instead feel brighter, more alert and more than likely be able to get out of the front door on time (and without forgetting stuff!).
For a long term purchase that will help you feel happier, more energized, it makes perfect sense to pop a dawn simulator light at your bed side and make it part of your every day routine.
Any more questions?
This Wikipedia entry has some easy to understand findings about dawn simulation lamps.
It explains how people prefer a dawn simulator to using a light therapy lamp.