As anyone who has ever encountered me before 11.59am can testify, I'm not a morning person. Getting up is a struggle at the best of times but never more so than during the dark winter months, when 8am can feel like rising in the dead of night.
If, like me, you struggle with those early starts and even the thought of a summer sunrise cripples you with the kind of fear only a vampire could understand, then the Philips Wake-up Light may be the answer.
The science bit The human body has evolved and adapted to life on this planet. We sustain ourselves with nutrients from the vegetation, hydrate with the abundant water from rainfall and take our activity cues from the cycles of the sun like a wind-up toy. The brain tells us when to sleep and when to wake based on a near-perfect 24-hour biorhythm which, as day nears, initiates various actions in the body such as increased heart rate and oxygen intake to prepare us for the physical demands ahead. This biorhythm is commonly known as the body or biological clock and can be susceptible to change, particularly in winter with the sun's later rise.
This is where the Wake-up Light can benefit the morning zombies among you, by imitating the natural increase in sunlight from daybreak; it gently stirs the body clock into action and eases you from your slumber rather than the abrupt reaction to a standard clock alarm.
Good points The 10 light settings do a great job of slowly lighting up the room and bathing you with a warm glow. It can also be used as a bedside light which is less intrusive than your main room light and makes it perfect for reading.
You also have the choice of being woken by additional natural sounds which at one point had me bemused. I woke with the gradual illumination and started to hear a crackling sound getting louder, an annoying tone like the voice of an irritating colleague or neighbour. I didn't like this sound and thought of what natural phenomena might produce such a noise. Surely the Philips technicians wouldn't sample cosmic background radiation? The answer was no, I had switched the audible setting to FM radio and had not tuned it to a station.
Bad points My light-sensitive eyes found the orange glow of the time digits a bit much.
Best for Not lazy people, more the morning challenged.
Avoid if You are likely to be woken at irregular times anyway, either by a screaming baby or if you're on the route of the bin lorry with no sense of timing consistency.
Score 8/10. There's no wrong side of the bed when waking up with this device.
Would I buy this with my own money? If I didn't my wife would make me buy it.
l Philips Wake-up Light, £95 (philips.co.uk)