We’re at that time of the year when waking up is a tough job. The natural awakening that happens during the height of summer has give way to the dismal darkness of a November morning – and with the worst of winter still to come – we thought it was time to dive into some tech to help us overcome the pain. Today we’re reviewing the Philips Wakeup light 3510 – a device which is claimed to help you wake up more naturally, even on the darkest of mornings.
This is not a typical product that we would review here at Burntech. We specialise in fitness and sports technology, but ultimately a good nights sleep is as important as any aspect to an overall health and fitness programme. So lets dive in.
What does the Philips Wakeup light do?
This is an alarm clock with a major difference. As opposed to jolting you from your sleep with a neurotic shrill – it instead gradually awakens you by simulating sunlight. In short – its a big bulb that gradually gets brighter as you approach your allotted wake up time. Its thus a simple, but as we’ll find out, powerful device which offers a lot of benefits over the old approach.
Technology is increasingly looking at ways to help us sleep better. The activity trackers that we review nearly all feature sleep tracking. More recently we looked at the NuYu tracker with associated mattress topper. This clever device looks at your stages of sleep, and helps match your bed temperature to meet your needs. It starts off by making your bed warm and inviting, then slowly cools as you hit rapid eye movement sleep. The gizmo was truly awesome, and has inspired us to seek other great sleeping technology. So when we were asked to review the Philips 3510, we decided it was worth a go.
Wake up naturally through ‘simulated sunrise’
I considered this to be a big and frankly bold claim prior to giving this device a run out. It didn’t seem overly plausible that a very ‘bright white’ looking bulb would do too much in order to trick the body into thinking it was daylight. I had visions of this thing sitting in the corner of my room, glowing fairly uselessly and barely making a dent on the gloomy darkness (I wake up at 5AM every day, and its very dark at that time of day).
The device proved me wrong.
Its 300-lux bulb is not actually overly white and harsh at all, and is instead a quite subdued and warm glow. Its a soft UV light, with a warm yellow glow that kicks in 30 minutes before you’re aiming to wake up. The whole wake up cycle is actually therefore surprisingly gradual, easing you out of the deeper slumber and encouraging you to wake up naturally – usually prior to the alarm sounding.
What’s that you say, an alarm? isn’t the entire premise here to AVOID alarms? Well yes, but the Philips wakeup light range all feature a back-up alarm – and it is just that, a back-up – which features a diverse range of 20 nature sounds as well as the choice of FM radio stations. It seems quite strange to use a device such as this with anything other than a nature sound back-up. t would almost defeat the purpose of having such a natural waking up method, so a chorus of bird chirps was selected to act as my back-up.
The before bed routine – aided by Philips
If you’ve ever had trouble sleeping, and subsequently taken the time to do some research into alleviating this, then you’ve liken red such advice as follow a regular before bed pattern, read at night, take a warm bath and go to bed at a consistent time. The other biggie is to avoid using electronic devices, as their strong UV light wave-length turns our brains on at the precise time that we’re really trying to turn them off.
Interestingly saying as this device is marketed as a waking up aid, it is surprisingly useful before bed. It features a special bedside light mode, which uses a light frequency which is much more inductive to sleeping. So whilst this is not the brightest of bed side lamps, it is actually surprisingly good at helping you drift off. Having used this across three different nighttimes now, I have noticed each time that I get a drowsier faster when reading with this light verses my old bedside light.
Boosting your sleep is as much about attacking the before as it is about waking up fresher. If you fall asleep faster, and sleep better, then waking up fresher kind of looks after itself. I therefore see this as a great feature, and it has some genuine added value. A big plus for us.
The science behind the wake up light
Its worth noting that Philips as a company have a pedigree stretching back over 100 years in the industry of creating light bulbs. The entire company was built on bulbs, its what they do, and they’re therefore well placed to leverage the latest techniques to build their wakeup lights.
The company have funded extensive research into this space, not least the effectiveness of their alarm verses more traditional alarm clocks. Their studies, executed by independent science facilities have proven out the premise of using this device to wake up more energised and refreshed, whilst avoiding the dreaded bolt of a traditional alarm clock. The studies also show that you wake up in a more positive and happy place, ready to take on the day. Whilst my sample size here is small, having used this device three times to date, I must say that it has helped me wake up more naturally and ready to attack my day.
What if I share a bed – will the wakeup light wake up my partner too early?
This was my biggest concern when I started using the 3510. I wake up at the crack of dawn everyday, but my partner does not. There would be nothing worse than being woken up every day – naturally or otherwise – at 5am. Over the years, I have gotten sued to my fixed wake up time, so I rely less and less on my alarm to wake me. I feared that this device, kicking in at 4:30AM, would be a real disruption to my wife.
Fortunately, it hasn’t been. The trick is all about the positioning. So if the wakeup alarm is positioned next to my side of the bed, then we have not – touch wood – found this to be an issue at all. I use the 15-20 setting – the higher end – which makes the light really kick in and this is not a problem, which has been reassuring for us both.
If anything with this device, the main drawback is arguably just how bright it can get to being. Its bright. So be wary and considerate, and you should be ok.
I have been really impressed with this device. I now fully intend to use its cleverdusk feature every evening before I hit the sack. Its the perfect level of dusk to get your body pumping out melatonin, the hormone which makes you sleepy. If anything, this is my favourite aspect to the device. Flick this on for 20 minutes as you read, and you’ll be deep into the land of slumber before you know it.
As for the wake-up – as the light cranks up, i’m finding myself waking up to a beautiful sunny day, complete with bird song. Amply tricked into thinking I’m waking up to a summers morning, I bound out of bed. Then the cold (housed) reality of a November morning hits me, but by then its too late – I’m up and out!
The BurnTech verdict – sleep is so important to our overall health and fitness, that anything that helps has to be worth it. This Philips Wakeup Light 3510 is the perfect blend of features Vs price within the Wakeup clock range. I feel that the cheaper models lack the grunt of this device, yet its not worth paying more as you get everything that you need in this model.
The Phillips 3510 is currently retailing on Amazon.com for $89