Wrap yourself up in cute knitwear and switch on as many festive lights as you want, but there's no avoiding the truth of it. The winter months can be bleak. Now that they are officially looming over us, there's an undeniable change in the wind. The days are getting shorter and colder, and for those of us who are affected by the shift in weather, it's time to get a self-care game plan underway.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that can be triggered by the changing seasons. Symptoms include a persistent low mood, lack of energy, losing interest in things that you would usually enjoy, feelings of despair and worthlessness, and sleeping for longer than usual. While I've never been officially diagnosed with the condition, all of these signs sound familiar. As the warmer days start to disappear, my moods naturally become lower, and getting up in the morning becomes even harder.
For a long time, I had to set several alarm clocks on my phone at short intervals (two minutes apart) to even have a fighting chance of getting myself up and out of bed at a somewhat decent hour. Add in the fact that I live in a ground-floor apartment with little natural light in the bedroom, and it's a recipe for disaster. I came across the Lumie Bodyclock Rise 100 Wake-Up Light ($99) when looking for an affordable solution. Because there's no way to bring more sunlight into the space, I figured this was the next best thing. The alarm clock simulates daylight and has a sunrise and sunset setting.
The sunrise setting starts as a dim red glow and gradually moves to a bright white tone over the course of 30 minutes — you know, much like the sun rising, only on a smaller scale and in your bedroom. That accompanied with a shrill beeping noise on the highest setting is my current wake-up regimen. (For those of you who don't like to be shocked into alertness, you can forgo the beep.)
The setup is straightforward: You set the correct time, then hold down the alarm button to get started. You can choose how bright you want your sunrise experience to be and whether or not you want a beeping sound to accompany it. If you choose to have the sound on, you can also decide what volume level you want. Because I need all the help I can get to wake myself up, I put both the light and the volume on the highest settings.
Having warm light flood the room before I'm fully awake makes getting up feel easier.
This isn't my first rodeo. As I write in 2021, I'm coming up on my second winter with the Lumie alarm clock by my bedside, so I can tell you from experience that it works. The first time I used it, I was surprised at its effect. Having warm light flood the room before I'm fully awake makes getting up feel easier. By the time the alarm beeps, I have already started to wake up. I'm usually in that pleasant in-between state of not quite asleep but not fully alert. So when I hear that now-familiar sound, I'm ready to pull myself out of bed, and as I open my eyes, I see the light, literally.
Waking up is never going to be the highlight of my day. However, the sunrise alarm clock has been a game changer through the winter months. The mixed LED lights are set to mimic sunlight, and while I'm no expert, I can say that the tones appear similar to natural light. Getting ready in a warmly lit room is a far nicer experience than fumbling around in the dark or, worse, the harsh "big light." For me, that is worth the $99 price tag — and then some.