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Here comes the sun (-light lamp that will make getting out of bed less agonizing)

Having trouble waking up in the morning? It could be because you’re not getting enough light. It’s a common problem for anyone with a bedroom that doesn’t have a lot of lighting. 

Like me. I sleep in a dungeon. I mean, not like a literal medieval dungeon with stone floors and iron shackles affixed to the walls, but my bedroom happens to be in a basement without windows, so it feels like a dungeon sometimes. It’s great for lazy weekends when I don’t need to wake up until the late afternoon, but during the week when I’ve got to get out of bed at a reasonable hour, it’s a nightmare.

Not being able to see the sun’s cycle really messes with your head. Literally. Lack of light can have a profound effect on your brain chemistry. When no light enters your eyeballs, your pineal gland produces a chemical called melatonin – a hormone that causes you to become sleepy. This is why it’s sometimes hard to keep yourself from nodding out in dark concert halls and movie theaters. Low light levels trick your brain into thinking it’s time to pass out.

Conversely, when certain wavelengths of light hit your eyes, your brain temporarily halts the production of melatonin, leaving you feeling slightly more energized and alert. Even just a small amount of light bleeding through your closed eyelids can provide a significant energy boost in the morning.  

Philips Wake-up light makes use of this phenomenon by incorporating a soft-glow, variable-intensity light into an alarm clock. Rather than firing off a horrible, jarring klaxon to wake you up in the morning, the light flicks on and gradually grows brighter over time, eventually reaching full intensity and sounding an audible alarm when it’s time for you to rise and shine. 

The idea of a light-based alarm definitely isn’t new. This latest light is actually just a fresh, modern redesign on Philips’ original Wake-up light – but it also comes with a few new features. In addition to a slimmer, more night-stand-friendly form factor, the new light has more intuitive controls  and a new tap-to-snooze function.

The new light retails for $70 at Philips.com.