Pros: Wakes me up slowly, feeling refreshed, well-made, chirping birds are natural-sounding
Cons: Expensive, sometimes wakes me 20 minutes before the time it should have
I have to wake up early for work on some days. Some days it is 6 am, some 5 am. Not having the same schedule, combined with waking up at 5 am when it is still dark and using an alarm clock was pretty harsh on the system. I didn't feel "refreshed" after waking, and in the early part of the day I felt like I was still slowly waking up.
I saw the Philips Hf3470 Wake-up Light online and after reading its features and testimonials decided to give it a try. It comes with a 45-day trial period after all, during which you can return it if it doesn't work for you.
About the Philips Hf3470 Wake-up Light
The Philips Hf3470 Wake-up Light is basically a combined lamp/alarm clock. It has a built-in 120W lamp, clock and alarm with either radio or chirping birds. The lamp has 20 different gradations of light intensity. The alarm on/off/snooze switch is a small mechanical lever sticking out on the right side.
The idea behind the device is simple. Our bodies are used to waking up when the sun rises. 30 Minutes before the alarm times, the device starts gradually increase the brightness of its light from 0 to whatever level you set. That level is reached in 30 minutes and then the alarm goes off (I used chirping birds).
Even with our eyes closed, we can detect the light and our bodies start getting ready to wake up. Eventually, when the brightness of light is high enough, you wake up, somewhat naturally and "refreshed".
Does It Work?
I had my doubts. But surprisingly, it indeed works. I wake up before the alarm goes of and feel pretty good. You are supposed to find the brightness (from 0 to 20) that results in you waking up and then always use it so that you wake up close to the alarm time. I am using 14 so far. The issue I have is sometimes I wake up earlier than the alarm time, at times 20 minutes earlier. So for me it is still work in progress, but at least I feel better, even with 20 less minutes of sleep.
You have to sleep close to the device, ideally within a couple o feet. A couple of times I was turned away from the pamp so that the light did not reach my eyes. For those cases, I have the alarm set to chirping birds. The sound is quite natural and not harsh (but "insistent").
The on/off/snooze swittch is a sturdy lever on the side of the lamp. If you turn the alarm off before the sound kicks in, the light fades out. If after, it stays on until you push the "light off" button.
In all modes, the light fades in when turned on and fades out when turned off, so it is relaxing and might prolong the bulb life. The bulb is a small replaceable "medical" type of halogen bulb. I saw a replacement online for less than $4.
The light can also function as a reading/night stand light, albeit it radiates light in all directions and, as such, is not the most efficient reading light. In fact, it is barely adequate for reading printed media. But for using my Kindle, it is sufficient. And you can adjust the brightness from 0 to 20. One drawback: it has no separate memory for light when used as a lamp and for light used as alarm. So when you turn it off at night, remember to set it to whatever maximum brightness you want it the next morning.
The clock has 4 levels of brightness, even the brightest one is a bit dim (probably not to disrupt your sleep). I find it difficult to read from another end of the room in moderate light. But no issues at night.
Although it might not work for some, it works really well for me. It shouldn't cost as much as it does, but even at the price of $75 I consider it a worthwhile investment in my well-being. Highly recommended...