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Dawn simulator


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#1 Tasha90

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 10:06 PM

I found this article online, and I am definitely going to make my own dawn simulator until I can afford to spend $60+ dollars on a clock. It's also a kind of funny article...

If you don't like this article or the instructions, I'm sure there are other ways to make your own dawn simulator that you can find on Google!

http://everything2.c...node_id=1513392

QUOTE
The problem

As far as I'm concerned, the worst part of winter by far is the darkness in the mornings. My alarm goes off to wake me for work, making its ghastly insistent bleeping, and it is not so much 'a bit dark' outside as it is NIGHT. My body says "Bollocks to you, bleeping alarm, for it is night, which is for sleeping," and so I ignore the alarm until it shuts up, only to begin its wretched bleeping again five minutes later. This goes on for a while until finally I struggle out of bed, late, and struggle to get ready for work in time. Then I spend most of the day half-asleep, and in fact spend most of December and January feeling like I haven't really woken up at all at any point.

The solution

Does this sound like your winter? Well, thanks to modern technology, you need suffer no longer! You need a 'dawn simulator'. A dawn simulator is an alarm clock that wakes you up with light rather than a horrible grating nasty bleeping noise.

Now, you have two options here - you can spend approximately £60 (110 USD) on a fancy-schmancy alarm clock with a built-in lamp. Or, if you're cheap like me, you can build your very own E2 dawn simulator from things lying around in your house, as invented by me and ascorbic right here on E2 in the chatterbox.

Building your dawn simulator
You will need:


* One ordinary study lamp.
* One mains plug timer switch.
* One fluorescent 'energy saver' type light bulb, the brightest you can find, with appropriate fitting for your study lamp.

Instructions

If the instructions seem patronising, gentle noder, it's because I don't want you to make any mistakes in your SAD-addled state, and not, I assure you, because I hold your feeble intellect in contempt.

1. Fit the light bulb to the study lamp.
2. Plug the study lamp into the mains and switch it on.
3. Mark the switch on the lamp so you know which position is 'on'. (Usually they are unmarked on the fair assumption that you'll be able to tell when it's switched on, but our timer switch complicates matters.)
4. Set the timer switch so that the lamp will be switched on about half an hour (or earlier if you like) before your evil bleepy conventional alarm and switched off at some point when you're sure you'll either be out of bed or so irrecoverably late that it makes no difference.
5. Plug the timer into the mains socket and set the correct time on it.
6. Plug the lamp into the timer and make sure it is switched to the 'on' position.

Lo! You will now be woken up by the gentle caress of electro-magnetic waves, rather than interminable electronic caterwauling from hell.

It's a cliché, but my dawn simulator really has changed my life. I get up in a good mood, and more importantly I am awake rather than being semi-stunned for most of winter.

Credit to ascorbic for the suggestion of a fluorescent bulb, which will be initially dim and then brighten over time, not unlike the more traditional arrival of our beloved Sol. Another nice quality of the fluorescent bulb is that it doesn't blast out heat like an ordinary bulb would - I haven't tried it, but I suspect a 'roasted alive' simulator would be unpopular.


#2 Healthoid

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 04:07 AM

Very cool biggrin.gif .

#3 alternativista

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 09:32 AM

They also make timers that will make a lamp come on gradually. But they are more expensive than an ordinary timer I'm sure.


I would not set it to come on 30 minutes prior to when you want to get up because it might wake you then and you lose 30 minutes of sleep that maybe you needed.

Also, a flourescent bulb doesn't come on immediately, but it only takes a few seconds so I don't really see how that would make much difference. I think a better thing to do would be experiment with different wattage bulbs to know how much it takes to wake you, so you don't have too harsh a light waking. Usually people don't like 60 watts and up equivalent to just suddenly come on. I'd rather wake to a dim light.

Maybe another alternative would be a dim light coming on to start triggering the seratonin and stop the melatonin, then your audible alarm.

Or two lamps and two cheap timers set several minutes apart.

#4 Tasha90

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 12:33 PM

^^^Great ideas--whatever works for you smile.gif

#5 alternativista

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 01:03 PM

I'm thinking I might do this with a small, dim lamp and my regular alarm clock radio. Maybe one of those candlesticks with a night light bulb.

And get rid of my primitive sun clock which is actually a nuisance. The clock face and alarm are no better than the cheapest dollar store clock, you can't hardly tell what time it is with the poorly lit face and I have to set it every night.

Also, I've noticed that as compact fluorescent bulbs get older, they are dim for quite a while when they first come on, then brighten up. So older bulbs might work very well as your alarm lamp like the article said.

#6 Tasha90

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 03:34 PM

QUOTE (alternativista @ Jan 27 2008, 02:03 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I'm thinking I might do this with a small, dim lamp and my regular alarm clock radio. Maybe one of those candlesticks with a night light bulb.


That's a good idea, I might do that too, let me know if it works out

#7 alternativista

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 08:44 AM

Well, I was going to post this to the original discussion where we started talking about sleep and dawn similators, but it's four pages long and not actually about sleep anyway. So..

For people who have trouble sleeping, if you get up in the middle of the night, do not turn on the lights. That will stimulate seratonin. Get a night light for the bathroom if you need it to see. As dim as possible.

#8 Healthoid

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 06:40 PM

QUOTE (alternativista @ Jan 29 2008, 07:44 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Well, I was going to post this to the original discussion where we started talking about sleep and dawn similators, but it's for pages long and not actually about sleep anyway. So..

For people who have trouble sleeping, if you get up in the middle of the night, do not turn on the lights. That will stimulate seratonin. Get a night light for the bathroom if you need it to see. As dim as possible.

Yeah this is good advice and very important. If possible, don't get up during the middle of the night at all. I find that once I stay on a regular schedule for many days in a row, I will sleep through the whole night very well, so I won't even have to worry about it.