If you're tired of being jolted from your sleep by the sudden sound of a jarring alarm clock, there's a more pleasant way. Try beginning your day with a simulated sunrise, emanating from a natural light clock or enticing aromas to soothe you into the world of the awake.

How it Works
Usually starting 30 minutes before your set wake-up time, the light from a natural light alarm clock starts to mimic sunrise, gradually getting brighter. On some models, you can set a timer that allows you to wake up gradually over a period of time as short as 10 minutes or as long as an hour and a half. At the same time, natural sounds such as those of a jungle, rainforest or ocean, wind chimes, or songs from a selected radio station, start out at low volume and gradually reach a pre-set higher volume. So with a 30-minute wake-up, if you need to be out of bed by 6:30 a.m., the light and music start at 6:00.

Plug In
Natural light alarm clocks have built in radios with speakers. Some also come with docks for iPods, iPhones, and USBs. There are even brands that contain aromatherapy beads that wake you to the soothing scent of lavender or familiar smell of freshly brewed coffee. In some models, you can add your own essential aromatherapy oils.

Pick a Style
A variety of designs from robotic to light box to lamp-like. Some are spherical, presumably to resemble the sun. Others have a more clinical appearance, and when they are not lit, could be mistaken for a personal humidifier or vaporizer with a built-in clock.

Choose Well
If you have a hard time getting up no matter how well an alarm works, look for a natural light clocks that also comes with a snooze button or even a beeper that goes off when all else fails. The bottom line is: do some research to find a wake-up light that works best for you. Be sure to try out the sound effects before you buy. Not everyone likes to fall asleep or wake up to simulated sounds of birds chirping or rain falling, or to the smell of perfume and flowers. On the other hand, if you don't get good radio reception where you sleep, you may need those nature sounds or that iPod dock.

Sleep Tight
Just as natural alarm clocks help you wake up to gentle sounds and gradually increasing light, some can also be set to provide gradually decreasing light and sounds to help you fall asleep at night. Some models include white noise and low-intensity night light options.



Shattell, Mona M. "Peaceful Awakenings: Taking the "Alarm" out of the Alarm Clock" Issues in mental Health Nursing, 2007 28:1271-1272. Web 11 May 2011