Welcome to our curated collection of tools for better sleep and wakeup! Here, you find products dedicated to helping you enhance your wake up experience. This list is closely linked to our course. You find resources for each day of the course below.
Over the last few years we got to try different things to help us reach our vision of becoming a morning type person. Here, we’ve handpicked a selection of resources and products which worked for us and ranked them regarding the following parameters:
Things to consider when you incorporate a new tool
Convenience: How easy is it to use something every single day. In order for something to be effective, a regular use as intended by the tool is absolutely key. It also helps in forming a habit if it fits right into your schedule without being a distraction.
Efficacy: Efficacy is the capacity to produce an effect under ideal circumstances – so how much of a maximum influence you can expect from the tool. We will describe the desired effect of most tools in it’s description box.
Look & Feel: The quality and design of a product might make you feel good about using it, or it might have you wishing your friends never notice it. This can also be a decisive factor for everyday usage – e.g. could you be proud of it?
Price / Performance: At the end of the day you always have to decide for yourself what something is worth to you. However, we try to give our personal impression if something is a “no-brainer” or should be considered more in detail. Our “Pros” & “Cons” section should also help putting things into perspective.
Reach out to us if you have any questions or other (product) suggestions for tools for better sleep and wakeup!
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Resources for Day 1: Make your early morning something to look forward to
This list consists of tools that will help you understanding your own sleep patterns, forming and keeping new habits as well as useful tools for your evening and morning routines.
Daily Planner / Journal
Planning your day ahead can really help you getting out of bed the next day, as you already know why you would want to get up. We have come up with a template of our own, which we gladly share with you here. Feel free to adapt this to your own needs, especially the section with your own motivation to get get up each morning.
This template further includes a routine checklist, a space to write down your gratitude (which is the number one tip to feel happier in life) and some space for your own journalling. Download it here. <insert link>
Besides this template you can also opt to use a journal (see our favourite here), some even come with pre-printed sleep tracking fields. We would always advise you to go for a non-digital version rather than journalling in an app, because it helps you focus and relax better in the evening.
Sleep Tracking Hardware
Sleep tracking can provide really interesting insights into our sleep habits. It is important to note though, that while this might be fascinating, you should never let a device disturb your sleep in any way. Wearing uncomfortable watches on your wrist or headbands on your head can reduce sleep quality, which is something you would want to avoid.
Having said that, nearly all smartwatches offer sleep tracking nowadays, though the quality of their tracking varies a bit. In our experience, Fitbit (which was recently acquired by Google) offers the most advanced sleep tracking of all smartwatches so far, although Apple, Samsung and Garmin are not far behind.
Our winner in the category “smartwatches” would therefore be the Fitbit Sense 2. It features excellent auto-sleep-detection with some relevant in depth metrics, such as skin temperature and heart rate variability.
If you really want to best tracking and can compromise on activity tracking and other smartwatch features, our clear recommendation is getting an Oura ring Gen 3. It allows for unhindered sleep due to it’s wearing comfort and offers some of the best sensores out there.
Sleep Tracking Apps
There are many sleep tracking apps out there and they have come quite a long way since we started using them. Most of them double as a (smart) alarm clock and offer some sort of a sleep diary with interesting long term diagnostics. They can also be connected to other sleep tracking hardware, such as your smartwatch, enhancing their capabilities. Some interesting insights these apps could provide you with include:
– sleep phase detection (amount of deep sleep & REM sleep)
– overall sleep score (+ lack of sleep build-up)
– snoring detection
Advanced features (some only available with specific hardware)
– heart rate and heart rate variability (why is this important – click here)
– respiratory rate and sleep apnea (through blood oxygen sensors)When using sleep tracking apps, always keep in mind that your personal feeling is what matters most, not only what the data tells you. Although their tracking technology is really advanced (e.g. sonar motion detection), relying too heavily on it’s data can actually decrease sleep quality, because you tend to be more concerned about the data than your actual feeling after a nights sleep – just something to keep in mind.
Having said that, we would recommend Sleep Cycle as our number one pick. It is available for both Android and iOS and offers everything from relaxing sounds in the evening, a smart alarm clock (which takes your sleep phase into account) and extensive sleep data, which can be backup up into the cloud. It is free for all the basic day-to-day data, but for 30 € / year you get full insights into your statistics.
Habit Tracking Apps
Forming habits can be quite challenging – but we have something for you that could make it a little bit easier: an app called Habitica (both for Android and iOS). It lets you gamify your tasks and routines, so every time you do something you get a reward in the game and move onwards, building your virtual character. We really like it! In fact, we like it so much, we are working on converting our tasks from our 7-day-course into a challenge in habitica. We’ll let you know once it’s ready.
If games are’nt your thing, we can recommend Fabulous, which is also available for both platforms.
Meditating can help in various ways and might also enhance the quality of your sleep. While there are some really great apps out there, it very much comes down to personal preferance of the style of meditation you like. They all come with their own repertoire of calming sounds and other (paid) content to help you fall asleep.
Having tried several, here is a list of our top pics:
Resources for Day 2: Do no harm – Sleep pressure & quality
As Day 2 is all about understanding the importance of your surroundings, these tools help you to adapt your lighting conditions to match your desired sleep/wake rhythm.
Light Measuring App
Knowing how much light your are exposed to enables you to make changes where they are most necessary. Factory calibrated sensors can be had for cheap nowadays, but even better: your smartphone already has a sensor integrated! Installing a “Toolbox” app lets you access all the internal sensors of your phone, including the light sensitivity meter. It is important to note, however, that these tiny phone sensors can not match the accuracy of a real lux meter and can be off by a significant amount, especially in an extreme dark or light environment – so do consider it more as a rough estimation, but that should cover our use case nevertheless.
Our personal favourite app is the Physics Toolbox Suite for Android, as it is free, comes without advertisements of any kind and gives you a ton of possibilities and option (even exporting graphs to Excel if you want).
On iOS we really like Light Meter LM-3000, because it comes with better calibration than most other apps and is free to use for long enough to take your measurements.
If you want to introduce a real romantic and biorhythmically optimised evening light, you might want to consider candle lights. They are atmospheric and offer enough light to be able to navigate around, while keeping your biorhythm intact. As parraffin based wax is not ideal in regards to the climate, we can highly recommend these 100% beeswax candles without additives.
Smart Light Sources
There are endless smart light solutions out there, most of them are not as smart as they claim to be, but let’s start from the beginning.
Two major things decide how much you can do with your smart lights – their hardware capabilities and the accompanying software which enables you to really use those theoretical capabilities.
Things to look out for in regards to the hardware
– fitting and form factor
Next to the maximum brightness, the form factor often gets neglected. It makes all the difference if you have to look directly into a tiny light bulb to get your desired bright light intensity, or if you have a big diffuse panel your eyes have no problem looking at directly. We recommend indirect lighting for most use cases, especially in the evening.
– light spectrum & color accuracy
Almost all smart lights are based on LED-technology, which traditionally has a suboptimal light spectrum it can reproduce. This in turn can lead to fatigue and unnatural colors. Thankfully, more and more suppliers also share their “CRI” value, which indicates how closely the light imitates the real sunlight spectrum. The maximum value is 100, but anything above CRI 90 can be considered good quality.
– light temperature
Many smart lights can change the temperatur of their lights, look for keywords like “tuneable white”, “CCT (correlated color temperature)” or “HCL (human centric lighting)”. In general, anything around or beneath 3000K is considered warm white and anything above 5000K is considered cold white (sunlight is at about 5600K). Use warm white in the evening (at minimum brightness) and cold white in the morning.
– maximum and minimum brightness
The maximum light output of a light source is measured in lumen (lm), and this is what most people will consider as the most important thing, while neglecting the dimming capabilities. Some light controllers only offer a given set of dimming steps, others start off really bright – not ideal if you want to use them as an alternative to candles. A good range for a light bulb would be 1 – 1500 lm, which would replace a 100W incandescend bulb.
– Ecosystem expandability
We really like to be able to still use “normal” wall switches, even with smart lighting implemented, so look for systems that give you the option to do that (although you should be safe if you buy products which are able to communicate with “Alexa” or “Google Home”). This will also give you the full list of possibilities of home automatisation, if you are into that – welcome to the world of smart home!
Things to look out for in regards to the software
It is up to you if you want to automate your home with one of the various smart home systems out there, but we would advise you to choose a system with the folowing capabilities:
– automatic dimming during the day
This concept is called “human centric lighting (HCL)” and is marketed as something really new, while we are actually going back to our lighting roots. HCL tries to mimic the outside light ambience, giving you bright cold light in the morning and dimming your lights automatically to a soft warm white in the evening. While we are glad this is getting more available, it is far from being a standard.
– light alarm clock feature
Imagine your whole house is already bathed in bright light when you wake up – that can really make getting out of bed so much easier. Many suppliers offer this feature already, and there are also some DIY methods to get this done, if you are interested – click here.
Our solutions and recommendations
Overall, the Philips Hue Ecosystem has got you covered for most use cases. They are easy to integrate, offering a robust software which can operate on it’s own (although you will have to buy their own hub/bridge to make it work! – for a DIY solution with HCL click here), but let’s you integrate their lights into any smart home control system (e.g. Alexa, Google Assistent, …). At the time of this writing, the only thing they are still missing is a good HCL implementation, as described above in “things to look out for”.
We have also experimented with some cheaper hardware, which only comes with basic software functionality, but can be integrated into most smart home systems to really leverage it’s capabilities. So for those who already have an ecosystem and/or don’t mind setting things up themselves and do not want to spend too much on hardware, we can recommend looking into the “MiLight” Brand, as they offer a large variety of lights with decent specs (similar to Philips Hue, but more affordable).
Bluelight Blocker Glasses
As awareness about the importance of light and it’s effect on our biorhythm is increasing, more and more products are coming to the market adressing this issue. Bluelight blocking glasses are all over the place, so what to look out for?
What do/should they do?
If you are wearing glasses, you might have been offered “bluelight filtering glasses”, which are mainly targeted at people working in an office, staring at a screen all day long. These glasses do not look any different from normal glasses, except maybe for a slight yellowish tint. They are intended to filter out the potentially harmful bluelight spectrum coming from an LED display, in order to avoid eye fatigue when working long hours on the computer. They do not, however, really block blue light altogether and are only marginally improving your evening light situation. A real “blue light blocker” should consist of clearly noticeable orange tinted glasses and filter out all blue light over a broader spectrum. Having said that, the effect on your biorhythm is still far more dependend on the amount of light, whether it’s warm or cold white. So if you cannot avoid bright light in the evening, consider wearing orange sunglasses.
If you want to invest in pure bluelight blocking glasses, take a look at these by Somnoblue, as they filter almost 100% and come with advice on when and how to use them.
Bluelight Filter Apps
You might already have come across a “night-mode” setting of some sort in your operating system on various devices. In the last few years, this functionality has been implemented as a basic feature in Android, iOS and Windows, making it easy to use without installing further software.
What does it do?
You can choose to shift the colors of your display to a warmer spectrum, either automatically by nightfall or on your own schedule. Mostly you will also find the option to automatically dim your display to a minimal brightness when it gets dark, which is even more effective when it comes to keeping your biorhythm intact – we recommend using both settings.
Where to find it?
The name of this feature can depend on which smartphone brand you have – look for keywords like “eye comfort”, “blue light filter” or “night mode”. Oftentimes it can be activated by swiping down to reveal your quick settings icons. On iOS the feature is called “Night Shift” and can also be found in the quick control panel. On Windows you will find the settings when searching for “night mode”.
Resources for Day 3: Behind the wake-up – Circadian rhythm basics
Another important part of tools for better sleep and wakeup are such that have the power to directly influence your circadian rhythm. In this section you will find hardware suggestions, which – if used properly – can guide you towards a more stable inner clock and/or more positive energy in the morning.
Bright Light (Daylight) Therapy Lamp
Bright Light Therapy has shown to be really effective to treat depression and/or SAD (read more about the science here), if applied correctly. Yet even when attending a study, participants have found it difficult to comply with the recommended procedures, which require you to get up extra early in the morning in order to get an effective dose of light exposure at the right time. However, they can be of great help to shift your biorhythm when there is no sunlight available at the time of getting out of bed (in the winter time e.g.), given you are willing to spend some of your morning time looking into these lights.
If you are interested, just be sure to check out how and when to correctly use your lamp and stick to the recommendations, as this greatly impacts your results.
Having talked to several doctors and researchers, there are some aspects to look out for when buying a bright light therapy lamp:
Look for a minimum of 10.000lux at a given distance to the lamp. Oftentimes, lamps will require you to place them max. 20cm away from you and look directly into the light in order to reach the given intensity. The brighter the lamp, the further you can move it away from you.
Although most of the products say “daylight” in their description, that does not neccessarily mean anything. There are some wavelenghts, which are more effective in shifting your biorhythm in the morning than others are – how effective is being measured overall in “melanoptic lux”, although these metrics are hard to find with these products yet.
Make sure you choose a lamp your are willing to use everyday and place it somewhere which encourages you to do so.
Having said all that, here are our top picks:
Light Therapy Glasses
This is still a relatively new product section, but we are excited about it’s potential. New battery form factors and the power of tiny LED diodes allow for the integration of therapy-grade light sources into something as small as glasses. This is specifically useful, as these glasses (in theory) do not hinder you from following your normal routine whilst providing you with activating (blue) light. As always, be aware of the recommended and intended usage.
Products to check out:
Light Alarm Clock
Light alarm clocks can make getting out of bed significally easier for some people. The most deciding factor if it can work for you in the long term is your own sensitivity towards light. While some people will wake up upon subtle changes of the brigthness and like to sleep in near darkness, others are far less sensitive and will not be awakened as easily by a small light source alone. Being more sensitiv will make a light alarm clock more effective.
It is important to know, that most light alarm clocks are not a therapeutical device and are not intended to shift your biorhythm, but are mostly just a different form of an alarm clock, designed to wake you up. If paired with our morning routine recommendations, this can really help to improve your morning experience.
These products performed best in our extensive tests:
– Lumie Bodyclock Glow 150
This provides all the basic functionality of a light alarm clock, including sunset simulation (which can help calming down in the evening). It is certified as a medical product and can help to prevent S.A.D.
– Lumie Bodyclock Shine 300
Same functionality as above concerning the lights, but with significantly improved sound quality and optional UKW radio-feature.
– Philips HF3651 (also available with ambience sensor)
Most aestetically pleasing option with some more advanced features (e.g. breathing in the rhythm of the light, or optional addition of ambient sensors.), also most expensive option.
There are many other brands out there, some of which we tested, but they oftentimes fall short in regards to their user experience and/or their light capabilities.
This is our very own hardware product, which we developed to be the best dawn simuation device out there. In cooperation with leading experts, we integrated the newest scientific findings into a device, which can be mounted above your bed, where it conveniently takes control over your daily rhythm by always giving you your optimal light conditions. Tuned to your individual needs, our system will adjust your biorhythm and boost your morning energy, providing you with an extra dosis of light at just the right time.
If this sounds interesting to you, head over to www.zeitgeber.at for more information, or contact us directly at email@example.com.
Resources for Day 4: Behind the wake-up – Core body temperature
This section is still under development, we will update it asap! something about cooling your bedroom + tipps
Heat Regulating Bedding / Mattress
The technology for active heat regulation in mattresses and duvets is not new, but has gained a great spur in attention since 8sleep started marketing their mattress “Pods” to big names like Kevin Hart, George Russel or Amy Bream. Their strategy turned out to be a great success and now we are left craving their products every hot summer night.
We have not yet had one of their products to test, but countless positive reviews and our own scientific findings point to great potential for better sleep, especially if you like to sleep cool, as they can actively cool down your bed to your preferred sleeping temperature. They do incorporate the latest research when it comes to your circadian rhythm and also monitor your sleep or wake you up (with a vibrating alarm coupled with a change in temperature) if you want to – if you are one of the lucky ones to own one, please let us know and share your feedback!
While they are certainly the best money can buy right now, there are also some more budget friendly alternatives out there. WRITE HERE
Morning Exercise Tools & Plans
If you have not yet found your own favourite youtube-channel for your morning excercises, we have a few recommendations for you:
– Wim Hof Breathing for Beginners (~10min): I just love this! Before doing breathing excercises I would never have believed the tremendous impact it can have on your mind and body. Also very suitable to get a boost of energy without coffein.
– Quick Energy Breathing (~5min): My go-to video for my morning breathing session on the balcony. It makes me feel very present and gets rid of any remaining drousiness.
– some recommendations
We suggest you pick one or two videos you like and save/download them, so you can easily find them in the morning, without having to choose every time from the countless possibilities.
You can also use an app for your excercises, we liked “Yoga | Down Dog” most – available for Android and iOS.
Resources for Day 5: Behind the wake-up – Nutrition
This section is still under development, we will update it asap!
Caffein-free Coffee Beans
This section is still under development, we will update it asap!
This section is still under development, we will update it asap!
Resources for Day 6 & 7: Your future as an early riser
This section is still under development, we will update it asap!