Friday, July 20, 2012

Philips Wake Up Light Review

1994 - Manchester
07:55 GMT
Mum: "Andrew, wake up! It's time for school!"
Me: "Shut up! I hate you! Leave me alone!"
Mum: "You'll miss the bus."
Me: "The bus is a dick! Shut UP!"

2012 - Zurich
06:55 - CET
Bird: "Chirpy chirpy chirpy chirp."
Me: "Hmm?"
Bird: "Chirp chirpchirp chirp."
Me: "Thanks, little birdy! You're my best friend!"

The Philips Wake-up Light

In Switzerland, people wake up early. What does early mean? My students typically wake up between 5 and 6 and start work as early as 7. This insanity never bothered me until this year, when my earliest classes moved from just before lunch to 07:30.

I didn't think I could cope. But then I found the Philips Wake-up Light (WuL).
A guy trying his Wake-up Light for the first time
Here's what it does: I set it for 07:00. At 06:30 the light turns on, dimly. Over the next half an hour, it gets brighter. By 07:00 it's as bright as a Californian tooth. At that point the device turns on the radio, or plays bird chirping noises, or steel drums.

It's supposed to wake you up in a natural way. I've been using it for 6 months. Does it work?

Life before Wake-up Light
The perfect peace of the morning is shattered by my phone's alarm clock. The nasty, brutal tone was discovered by researchers at Nokia who had been briefed to find cutesy jingles and, as so often happens in Finland, achieved the exact opposite.

I feel like a painting ripped out of its frame. I had been in the middle of a lovely dream. I compare the dream (lovely) with what's scheduled for the day (soul-destroying) and, furious, I smash the pillow with my fist. I'm a grumpy asshole for the next 2 hours and no-one is allowed to talk to me.

Life now
I wake up fifteen minutes before the alarm is due because the room is bathed in light. I feel like I've woken up in a beach-side hotel. I look at the time, am astonished that it's so early, more astonished that I've woken up before the alarm noises have started, and most astonished to realise that I'm not grumpy. I turn off the light and the room is plunged into utter darkness - the difference is startling. It's amazing how bright the kettle-sized thing gets. I get up and start my day.

* I found that some mornings it was still hard to get out of bed, even with the Wake-up Light. Those mornings correlated perfectly with drinking alcohol the night before. I've learned that if I have to get up early the next day I shouldn't drink. (Shocking new information!)

* A new family of birds have nested somewhere near my flat. They sound exactly like the birds on the Wake-up Light. I do not believe this can be a coincidence. Sometimes their birdsong wakes me up because I think it's the alarm going off. This is a cosmic joke at my expense.

The inbuilt radio is handy if, like me, you don't have a radio. I'm forced by Switzerland to buy a radio license, so I might as well listen to it from time to time. Alert readers will have identified this compulsory license as a HUGE EVIL SCAM.

* You can use the WuL as a bedside lamp, but I don't, because I have a cool one from Ikea that you touch to turn on.

* Nick and Cecile bought one because I was raving about mine. Their feedback is that it seems to work well for couples even when one has to wake up much earlier than the other.

* Mine (model HF3470) cost 120 Francs (80 pounds, 120 USD, 100 Euros).

The Wake-up Light is not cheap, but it's worth every penny. If my mum had bought me one when I was a teenager, she'd had saved herself a lot of undeserved grief. Sorry, mum!

Philips gave Wake-up Lights to a whole village in the Arctic and made a nice video about it. Watch it here.

1 comment:

  1. Kaiser Suzy10:51 PM

    Thanks for the info! Sounds like just what I need


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