Our internal clocks are mysterious, often frustrating biological mechanisms. While some folks pop right out of bed with a spring in their step, many find waking up early to be a daily exercise in self-torture. There are plenty of remedies that aim to shock you, such as Nanda's 'Clocky' alarms that run and roll away to lure you from bed, but I'm no fan of rude awakenings. Here are a few ways technology can ease you into becoming more of a morning person.
Ease into it
If you want to start waking up earlier, suddenly shifting your morning alarm back a couple hours may be as effective as running a marathon without training. We're creatures of habit, and your body simply may not be ready. Instead, try easing into a new schedule by setting your 8AM alarm back to 7:55 for a week, followed by 7:50 the week after, etc. Another important part is better understanding your personal sleeping patterns. For this, consider a JawBone Up — a simple, stylish bracelet that monitors your sleeping activity patterns and wakes you with a gentle vibration. The bracelet communicates with a companion smartphone app to help you learn about your body and tune your schedule.
We're biologically inclined to respond to the day's natural lighting cycle. Just as excessive use of glowing screens at night can keep us from falling asleep, a dark room in the morning can make waking difficult. Consider a daylight alarm, which simulates the sunrise to ease you out of your slumber. These lamps, such as Philips' Wake-up Lights, gradually illuminate your room before your alarm, and are an elegant ally against winter hours or gloomy skies.
Follow your nose!
Now that your ears and eyes are waking more gently, get out of bed nose first with an aromatic lure! If you rely on coffee for your morning jolt, try using a coffeemaker that automatically starts brewing on a schedule. The feature is practically standard on electric drip coffeemakers from most major brands. If coffee isn't your style, consider an aroma diffuser such as the Opus from MadeByZen. This little pod releases the scent of your favorite essential oil at a time you specify via simple touch controls. Now to find essential oil that smells like freshly baked bread...
Late to bed, early to rise?
Lets face it, the elephant in the room is your bedtime. You stay up past midnight watching late-night TV, then wonder why you can't wake up at dawn. Look, I love Comedy Central too — my college thesis was about Colbert — but with services like Hulu and iTunes, "time shifting" is easier than ever. You don't need to sacrifice comedy in search of a good night's sleep!
Are you a reformed over-sleeper? If you had tried jarring and blaring alarms in the past, what techniques or products finally worked for you? Let us know in the comments.
(Images: 1 & 3. Philips, 2. Jawbone, 4. Cuisinart, via Amazon, 5. MadeByZen)