The Simulation of Dawn

Filed under: General Health

A lot of writers have spent a lot of time providing people with proper habits to improve their sleep quality.

Since most American adults do not get the optimal 7-9 hours of sleep per night this can contribute to many health issues including:

  • increased blood pressure
  • increased risk of diabetes
  • confusion or cognitive impairment
  • obesity
  • poor attention span and more
Clearly this is not something that should be taken lightly, which is why so many writers have written so extensively about creating proper sleeping habits like:
  • make a nightly routine
  • don’t read, eat or watch tv in bed
  • make your room is as dark as possible
  • run a fan or other source of white noise

I think these are all important and helpful tips. To that I would add look into supplements like ZMA and Z-12 by Biotest. While I do not recommend taking them every night, we don’t want you to feel like you need them to sleep, they will absolutely improve your sleep quality. I am especially a fan of Z-12, and I find I feel more refreshed on nights I take it. If I know I am going to get less than 7 hours of sleep that night, then I definitely take it to ensure the sleep I do get is of the highest quality.

Now as important as all these tips are I have one problem with this. No one ever addresses tips on how to wake up. We have evolved to sleep and wake on the schedule of the sun. Making our room as dark as possible is wonderful for falling and staying asleep, but it is definitely counter productive when trying to wake. I actually have a hard time waking when it is too dark in my room, because my body still thinks it is night out.

Waking up to a screeching alarm is not a refreshing way to wake either. It jolts you out of bed and jacks up your fight or flight response, disorienting you.

I have found a much better way to wake up in a calm and more evolutionary correct manner. Instead of using a traditional alarm clock, I use a clock called a dawn simulator. Instead of a blaring alarm to jar me out of sleep, it slowly emits light over a chosen period of time until it fully illuminates the room, waking me up naturally. It is glorious. It also has a backup alarm in case the light doesn’t wake you, but it is not blaring. It is a soft beep that slowly gets louder with each beep to rouse you slowly.

I personally use a Biobrite dawn simulator, though I know there are a few other brands out there. I would highly recommend it, especially for those of you like me, who have to get up really early in the morning before the sun rises, especially in the dark and gloomy New England winters.

While maximizing sleep quality is incredibly important, I think the often-neglected topic of the proper way to wake up can make a huge difference in how you start your day. Get a dawn simulator and try it for yourself!

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Posted on July 26th, 2010 by Brian St. Pierre


  1. Sean Says:

    I think one of the most fantastic features of these simulators is their ability to simulate dusk as well as dawn. It is amazing how powerful the effects of a dimming light can be as you wind down for bed.

  2. Jim Says:

    What a great idea! I also wake up early in the am but I hate the jolt of an alarm. If I wake a few minutes prior to the alarm, I always just start my day to avoid the alarm going off. I may give the dawn simulator a shot. Thanks Brian.

  3. hooch turner Says:

    For some reason Z-12 makes me feel like I’ve underslept. Perhaps if I took it at 8.30pm and woke at 8.30 am I would feel ok, but nearly always when I have it at midnight, and attempt to wake at 8, I feel horrible.
    ZMA is pretty good, but I can have really intense nightmares/dreams after taking it-nothing really wrong with that though, it gives you the feeling you’re dabbling in psychotropic drugs. They also have a new mineral tablet out which is supposed to be good for sleeping too

  4. Miscellaneous Monday : The Home of BSP Training & Nutrition Says:

    [...] I had one of the best nights sleep of my life last night. Like I mentioned the other day I use a dawn simulator to wake up naturally. One of my readers mentioned that his favorite function [...]

  5. The Home of BSP Training & Nutrition » Blog Archive » Research Bulletin Says:

    [...] wrote a while back about my love for waking up to my dawn simulating alarm clock, there is some new research to actually prove how beneficial it is. A new study in the Journal of [...]

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