Exposé: My alarm clock is for the birds

My alarm clock doesn’t beep, it chirps.

Actually, I think it could simply beep, but I selected bird sounds as the least annoying option on the menu. I’ve got a fancy alarm clock.

Bedside clock nightstand Mg - 1I didn’t buy it for the birdsong option, but because I need light in order to wake up. That’s another topic worthy of a lot more discussion, but I’ll save it for another day.

The clock’s large lamp begins to glow and the intensity of light gradually increases for about half an hour before the time for which the alarm is set. It’s simulating a natural sunrise.

This bright, sunny morning, I was already awake and started on a bit of blogging over my mug of tea well before my alarm went off.

Sitting at my little table, finishing up my Mother’s Day post, I heard those silly, simulated, alarm clock birds start carrying on. I hurried over to hush them up before they disturbed the rest of the household.

But the clock wasn’t lighting up. Its lamp wasn’t glowing! Usually, the birds don’t sing until the virtual dawn has well and truly arrived.

Was my fancy alarm clock broken? Why wouldn’t the off button work?

And then I realized: the unholy chorus was outside my window.

Bird robin tree sky - 1Ah, spring! It’s for the birds.

7 thoughts on “Exposé: My alarm clock is for the birds

    • Yes, of course! My current sunrise simulating clock is a Philips “Wake-up Light” model. There’s a dual model# on the manual: HF3520/60.

      This is my third clock of this type, and small features make it easier to use or a little more pleasant, but the fundamental piece is the gradually brightening bulb. It takes me from “barely dragging myself awake” to “rising just ahead of the alarm” when the days shorten in the fall.

      My first one had an old fashioned incandescent bulb and cost a lot more, but was relatively more beautiful. I had it for well over a decade before the clock/light setting buttons failed.

      Next I had a more basic model of this Philips type. It worked fine, but I wanted my son to try it to see if it helped him wake up on time on dark mornings. I replaced it with this model because I do enjoy the option to have a “sundown” from white to red light *before* sleep as well as a “sunrise” in the morning. My original lamp did that, but the base model Philips did not.

  1. Thank you for such a specific write-up! I just checked Amazon Japan for HF3520 and was shocked at the price of USD$126. I guess it must be very good though. I’ll see if I can find a cheaper alternative 🙂

    • My price last year was much less than that (about $85.)

      When I was shopping, I also saw small, plug-in clock/timer units that you could use with your own existing lamp. I believe those would represent the cheapest way to try this technology.

      I will also say that my first lamp was from a fancy “wholistic” catalog before internet shopping put everything within easy reach. It was very expensive, perhaps even more than you are seeing for the HF3520 today. I waited years to buy it because of the price, but it helped me so much, I never regretted spending the money afterward!

      Here’s my guess: If you wake easily in summer, when it is light, but struggle to get up on time on dark winter mornings, it’s almost guaranteed to help you.

      Only your own level of sleep issues can tell you what price that is worth. 🙂

      • Oh yes, light definitely plays a big part in whether I wake up or not. I also only feel rested in the dark. So a gradual lighting system is probably very good for me. Now to find a good quality vs price 🙂

      • At the most basic, a simple appliance timer could switch on a lamp at the time you want. (Maybe $5-10 at a hardware store here.) Amazon (US) also sells timers to do this gradual brightening process, at ~$30, I think. I haven’t tried one of those, but I saw reviews after my first clock went kaput. I think you might also need a dimmable light bulb for your lamp to make the latter option work…

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