A few weeks about I wrote about the winter blues and seasonal affective disorder, along with some new products from Philips Home Healthcare Solutions (formerly Apollo Health). One of the products they were kind enough to send me to try out is the Daybreak Duo, an clock radio that features a sunrise and sunset simulator.


The Daybreak Duo uses your existing bedside lamp as a light source. I unplugged my lamp, plugged the Daybreak Duo into the wall and then plugged the lamp into the socket on the back of the Daybreak Duo.

At first look, the product seems to have an unusually large display, but that’s because it also functions as a touch-screen for some functions. It has a plastic body, but it is heavy enough to give it a solid feel and keep it in place on the beside table. It also has a number of great features, including two independent wake-up time, alarm, AM/FM radio with three presets and adjustable sunrise/sunset lengths. It took me a few minutes to it up, including switching it to 24-hour mode and setting one of the alarms to wake me up the following morning.


The Daybreak Duo can be set to wake with light, light and alarm, or light and radio by pushing a button to cycle through the options. There are two buttons, one for each of the wake times, making it great for couples or those who rise later on the weekends. The sunrise simulation starts a pre-set period of time before the wake time, so you set it for the time you wish to wake like you would set any other clock.

To keep my experience in context, it’s important to understand that I sleep like a log. I’m a night owl, and have never in my life been described even remotely as a “morning person.” I’ve been known to sleep through radios and even turn them off without fully waking up. So it is no surprise that I didn’t wake up that Friday morning until the radio came on.  However, I did notice that my eyes were already accustomed to the light, and that walking into our brightly lit bathroom didn’t result in the customary squinting.

My wife, on the other hand, informed me that she woke up within minutes of the start of the sunrise simulation.  Unfortunately that was about 15 minutes before she wished to wake up.  It was suggested that if I continued this experiment into the weekend that I too would wake up as soon as the simulated sunrise began –one way or another.

The default sunrise length is 30 minutes, and if I could, I’d probably set it to an hour for our northern climate.  However, to prevent it from prematurely waking my wife, I shortened it to 15 minutes to synchronize the start of the sunrise simulation with her clock radio (which is almost never loud enough to wake me up).

So what’s the bottom line a few weeks later?  Sometimes the light wakes me up and sometimes it doesn’t.  Some days I reach for the snooze button and some days I don’t. I’m certainly not a morning person yet. But I do seem to wake up more gently, and the light in the bathroom isn’t quite as blinding, so the Daybreak Duo has earned a permanent spot on my beside table.

Next, I’ll be testing out another product from the same vendor, the goLITE BLU. Check back in about two weeks to see how it went!

2 Responses to Daybreak Duo

  1. Haya
    Jan 21, 2009

    Interesting. I’m sure things would be even better if you could set it for the suggested 30-60 minutes. Is there any way you could give yourself an extra 30-45 minutes of sleep after your wife has woken up, so you start the sunrise 15 minutes prior to her wake-up time and it goes on for 45 minutes after she’s been up?

  2. Eric Jacksch
    Jan 21, 2009

    Perhaps when the kids are old enough to get themselves out of bed and off to school 🙂 Another 30 minutes of sleep would be luxurious…

Leave a Reply