A New Start

I finished my edits on Friday and will be getting them off to the copyeditor today, and then I’ll start work on the new book I just sold to Audible. It feels like the first day of school or the first day of a new year, a time to reset and try to start again with new habits, or reviving the old habits.

I even set an alarm this morning. I had been using sunrise to wake me up, but they put a really bright LED bulb in the lamppost in front of my house, and that meant it was essentially as bright as daylight all night long. I kept waking up in a panic, feeling like I’d overslept because it was so bright outside, and then I’d look at the clock and see that it was two in the morning. So, I had to put up light-blocking curtains on my bedroom window. That let me sleep, but then it made it harder to wake up because the room was still dark even after the sun came up. I needed to set an alarm if I wanted to get up at a reasonable hour, but I hate waking up to an alarm because I wake up startled but still groggy.

Then I got the bright (pun somewhat intended) idea of trying one of those wake-up light alarm clocks. Instead of waking you with a sound, they gradually brighten a light, which replicates what I was doing with the sunrise. Most of them are pretty expensive, and I couldn’t see spending $90 on an alarm clock when it’s not even critical that I get up most mornings. But then I found a $20 version on Amazon and thought I’d give it a try.

I suspect that the difference between the $20 version and the $90 version is that the more expensive one really does light up gradually and changes color temperature to match the sunrise, so it does a better job of resetting your body clock and tricking you into feeling like the day has started. This one theoretically gets gradually brighter in the half hour before the wake-up time you set, but I honestly can’t tell much of a difference. Still, I find that I wake up five to 20 minutes after the light comes on, depending on how deep I’m asleep and which direction I’m facing, and I feel like I’ve awakened naturally instead of that startled, groggy feeling I get with a regular alarm clock. There’s a sunset feature that supposedly (again, I can’t tell a big difference) dims the light at bedtime before it cuts off, but since I read before going to sleep, I don’t have much use for it. That light’s not bright enough to read by, so it would mean having the clock light on for a while after I turn out the reading lamp, and then I’d be lying there with light on for a few minutes more until it cut off.

I’ll have to see how this works on an ongoing basis, and then I may keep an eye out for sales on the more expensive models that do a better job of mimicking a sunrise. Giving myself an extra half hour to hour of productivity a day (possibly even more in the winter) may be worth it.

And now to make use of that extra time …

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