I wrote about my "new alarm clock setup" back in January 2008. I claimed it worked. Well, I lied. I would simply get up and turn the alarm off.
Fortunately, I have a new and improved setup! My sister bought me a very expensive sun clock. It's a special kind of clock that simulates sunset and sunrise. At a preset time, the bulb attached to the clock will diminish or increase in intensity. The idea is that the simulated "sunshine" will help you in the wintertime when there isn't much light.
My particular sun clock is the BioBrite Digital SunRise Clock - Advanced Model with White Noise. The BioBrite can simulate sunset and sunrise in 15, 30, 45, and 60 minute durations. I use the preset 30 minutes.
So here's my new alarm setup. My bedtime is 9:30 pm. Around 9 pm, I pull out my sun clock and put it on a chair by my pillow. I turn the sun clock lamp up, all the way to full intensity and set it to sundown in 30 minutes. You can see I was a little late getting to bed last night. The clock reads 9:37 pm.
This is what the clock looks like at 9:52 pm.
At 10:01 pm, the clock is really dim. And I should be in bed by now.
The sun clock is set to wake me up at 5:25 am. The lamp brightens gradually. This is what it looked like at 5:07 am this morning. Yes, the sun clock woke me up earlier than 5:25 am. I decided to get up and take a picture before hopping back in bed.
The lamp is really bright at 5:33 am, 8 minutes after the alarm was supposed to "go off."
At 5:30 am, my iPod alarm clock kicks in. When I hear my iPod, it means I have to get up. Currently, my iPod is set to wake me up to the opening number of Sondheim's Company. Too bad the actors sing "Bobby, Bobby." I think I should edit the mp3 to have them sing my name in the morning. Wouldn't that be cool?!
I didn't actually take this photo at 5:30 am. The picture is just to show you what my iPod alarm clock looks like.
Yes, there is a radio alarm clock (the thing with the giant green numbers) next to the iPod stereo. I *could* set the radio alarm clock for a third alarm, but I find that two alarms is enough.
The current setup works pretty well. (Thanks, sister!) Independent of technology, it helps that I am finally putting my body on a regular schedule -- bedtime 9:30 pm, wakeup time 5:30 am. I find that once you get a regular schedule started (at least 7 days of waking up at the same time), it's much easier to keep it going.