There’s nothing worse than being jolted out of a dream by the jarring blare of an old-school alarm clock – or the high-tech equivalent of one. The manner in which you wake has a big impact on the quality of your day, so we think it’s important that those first few moments of the day be just as revitalizing as the hours you’ve just spent resting. Here are some of the most pleasant ways we’ve found to wake up and meet the day.

Wake Light

Our circadian rhythms are connected to the rising and setting of the sun. But individuals who work at night, sleep odd hours or have to rise before the sun are forced to work against those natural sleep-wake cycles. A wake light makes awakening easier by simulating – or magnifying – the rays of the sun in your bedroom. The gradual increase in brightness prepares your body to wake up, while pleasant sounds ensure you don’t sleep right through that sun-shiny glow. Some models even simulate dusk in the evening or replicate the red, yellow, and orange hues of a real sunrise.

Wearable Smart Alarms

Lots of people are hesitant to adopt the very intimate tracking capabilities of wearable devices, but those who embrace them can tap into incredible sleep insights. Thanks to their ability to track the passage of time and activity during sleep, some wearables can even monitor sleep patterns and personalize wake times for the wearer. The Jawbone Smart Alarm configures your individualized ideal wake time based on 90-minute sleep cycles. This and several Fitbit models use gentle vibrations to awaken the wearer but let others in the household sleep. For those motivated by discomfort, there’s even a Wake Up Trainer that uses a jolt of electrical power to wake the wearer up with a shock. It won’t be everyone’s idea of a gentle wake-up, but for those who like to start the day with a kick, there’s nothing like it.

Advanced Alarm Apps

Smartphone apps are putting the power of technology to good use by replacing the abrasive default alarm clock with more humane sensory stimulation. ZenAwake for iPhone employs a chime that grows in intensity over time for a gradual wake-up process, while Gentle Wakeup for Android mimics the sunrise simulator of a wake-up light. More sophisticated apps like the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock monitor your sleep much like a wearable but require you to spend the night with your smartphone under your pillow.

Meaningful Mornings

Have you ever thought of flipping the script on your morning routine? Hundreds of online articles tout the value of packing productivity into the first few hours of the day, but there’s a new wave of advice encouraging a less draining approach. If maximizing productivity in the morning isn’t working, consider trading in all that pressure for a healthy dose of self-care. Prioritize your meditation, stretching, reading, journaling, and (maybe) workout as the first must-dos of the day to make sure you get them in. After a few weeks, with your physical and spiritual batteries recharged, you might just start greeting your alarm clock with joy instead of dread.

Bedroom Bliss

Sleep is a big factor impacting your quality of life and the degree to which you enjoy your days. If you spend your nights tossing and turning, your mornings can only be so sunny. If optimizing your wake-up route doesn’t make your mornings feel better, it might be time to start troubleshooting your sleep. Make sure you have a comfortable mattress with a good balance of support and comfort. If you suspect your bed has been keeping you awake at night, start a conversation with the sleep experts at A Goodnight Sleepstore. They’re committed to helping you find your very own best night’s sleep. With your bed squared away, do an analysis of your sleep environment. And if you’re not up on your sleep hygiene, check out the basics to make sure you aren’t sabotaging your own slumber.

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