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on December 28, 2008
This dawn simulator is better than all the others--I know because I researched them all. Many of them turn off completely 5 minutes after reaching full brightness, which makes them useless if you have trouble getting out of bed. The SunUp stays on a for a full hour after it reaches full dawn.

A lot of them also are built into the alarm clock and don't have much wattage. Those ones are too weak, whereas the SunUp one can take up to 400 watts, offering you more brightness than you need if you choose to use all 400 watts.

I saw the LED dawn simulators, and the downside is they must be pointed right exactly at your eyes to get the full effect, plus the light color isn't too nice. The SunUp is superior because you can use it with any lamp or combination of lamps--you could plug three lamps into one extension cord, then plug it into this unit if you want. The man who sold me this told me not to go all the way up to 400 watts, but to leave a little buffer, maybe just do 350 or so. The studies I read said that one 75-watt bulb is enough to wake you up and have the antidepressant effect, if the bulb is directly over you. If the bulb is not directly over you, you will want more wattage. I have one 150-watt lamp on my headboard and it works great.

Also, the SunUp is the only one that mimics a real sunrise. Rather than getting steadily brighter, it increases the brightness in an "S" curve like a real sunrise. This is what's responsible for the antidepressant effects. Other dawn simulators don't do that. I was curious about this one -- so one time I watched the "dawn simulation," and really the "S curve" light pattern looks sort of like a gentle throbbing. Since I started using the SunUp, I can't believe how much easier it is to get out of bed. In fact, it's hard to be lazy now because I actually feel like getting up. This is one of the few products I have ever owned where there is no downside to it--it's easy to use and it does exactly what I want it to do with no problems. It does not have an alarm clock, but I don't care because I still have my old alarm clock that I set as a backup. (Which is mostly unnecessary)

I considered getting a dawn simulator that doubles as a light box. I decided against this because the only ones available are LED dawn simulators. The light color is displeasing, and it does not use the "S" curve which is very important for antidepressant effects. Also, LEDs have not been tested long term for eye damage problems. If you want a light box, get a fluorescent one. The light is much prettier and they are proven to be safe long term. Personally I got both -- this dawn simulator and a fluorescent light box. And guess what....the SunUp dawn simulator got rid of my winter depression (which was severe), so the light box just sits there unused.

EDIT: I have now had this product for 10 months and it has cut my chronic insomnia in half. Also, I used to get very depressed every February here in Minnesota and this year I experienced no depression at all. I am astonished. If there is ever a fire, I will grab this unit before I run out of the house.
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on May 7, 2009
I've used this product for a couple of months, and am really singing its praises. I chose this product because I wanted the room fully bright, no matter which way my face was pointed. This device lets me plug both nightstand lights (via an extension cord, as it only has one outlet) to accomplish this goal.

The first morning I used it was wonderful. I used to require my husband to dim the lights in the bathroom when I woke up because I couldn't handle the stark shock of pitch black to 400W of vanity lighting (he gets up before me). No more. I haven't had to deal with that misery anymore!! It's wonderful. I FEEL awake when it's time to get up, and no more jarring dark-to-light! I also am finding myself waking up with my face pointed at the light on my nightstand. Like a flower. It's really odd, but it works really well.

I also like using the Dusk simulation when I am having trouble sleeping. You can start the lamps at any level of brightness, and it will dim them from there. That works surprisingly well, too.

There are some Cons, though. It's not aesthetically pleasing on the night stand ... I really does look like research equipment. The controls are not immediately intuitive, sometimes requiring you to press up to three buttons simultaneously. So you'll need to keep the instructions nearby to program it because ... most annoyingly, there's NO BATTERY BACKUP OR MEMORY of any kind!!! If the power even flickers, bye-bye programming. You have to reset the time, reset the wake-up time, and reset the wake-up duration. It's spring. We have storms. The power flickers. Even my stove can remember the time through short outages. What's really bad is if the power flickers or goes out at night. This happened to me once (I, of course, had no idea), and in the morning ... no lights. You'll still have to keep a back up alarm clock ... just in case.

Overall a good product that works, but quite pricey for something that looks like a 1960s Heathkit, with the usability of the original TV clicker remote, and not even enough juice to remember the time after a power hiccup.
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on April 10, 2009
Pros:
-works great
-adjustable dawn time, i prefer 30 min
-sunset can start from dimmed

Cons:
-clock display small and faces the sky
-buttons small and all the same shape
-buttons do not glow
-no snooze

Tips:
If you have a wide bed and sleep on your side, use lamps on both sides of the bed.
Double the suggested wattage (60 watts of direct light is not truly enough for someone who hates getting up) go to 150 on each side of the bed and lengthen the dawn time or get a big halogen torch lamp to put nearby.
If you have tall ceilings I'd imagine you'd have to get a direct lamp on sides of the bed for it to work, the farther away the lap is the poorer it would work...
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on December 13, 2009
While the little simulator box is not attractive and doesn't exactly add to the decor in my room, it does what it's supposed to do (and that, to me, is all that matters!).

PROS:
1. You can use the simulator for dawn, dusk, or both dawn and dusk. To set dawn, make sure you press the Time and Auto buttons at the same time (otherwise, it won't work). To set the dusk, just hold down the dusk button until the light is at your preferred brightness and you'll go to sleep with the automatic dimming.
2. I have found that using the dusk feature at night has really helped me fall asleep better.
3. You can hook up almost any light (or lights, if you have an outlet adapter) so you have control over the brightness and location of the "sun" in your room.

CONS:
1. It would be much better if you could have different settings if you have to wake up at different times on different days rather than resetting the unit for each change.
2. Expensive -- but you really have to weigh how much going to bed and waking up in the morning are worth in relation to the cost. For me, I'm glad I bought it!

Update (1/31/10): I'm still using this simulator. I love it. Also, one reviewer mentioned that there is no battery backup so you have to reset the clock frequently. Initially, I was worried that I would have issues with this, but it has not happened at all. Ensure that your electric outlet has a firm fit (so you're less likely to bump it out). I bought a outlet in-wall extender/surge protector. While the surge protection won't help in the case of an extended power outage, they have tighter fits for electric cords.
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on September 1, 2008
So far, this is doing just what I had hoped; namely, it is getting me up without feeling like I am being tortured awake. Since I sleep with a pillow over my head, I didn't know if it would help or not, but combined with gentle music at the time I really want to get up, I notice a distinct lack of anger and a willingness to get out of bed and get going. My go-to-sleep time hasn't adjusted to much earlier, so I'm still in the adaptive stage of altering my sleep pattern. I imagine this is going to take a long time after a lifetime of late sleeping patterns, but I am happier to be up and at 'em at a more normal time, believe me.
It seemed like a lot of money, but no amount of money can pay for giving me a fairly normal existence and happier mental health, not to mention this is easily portable The directions were not difficult at all. Only trick is to remember NOT to turn the light on and off manually; I'm geting there. To all lifelong night owls, all I can say is that this is helping me a lot!
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on October 24, 2008
I've been using this dawn simulator for the past 8 years. I have it controlling a 150W floodlight that is directed at a corner of the bedroom ceiling. I love it for several reasons: falling asleep to the dusk function is great; it works as a dimmer so is also mood lighting; if I wake up in the middle of the night, I don't feel the need to look at the clock - if the dawn hasn't started breaking, then it's nowhere near time to get up; getting out of bed in the half-light (it's set so the full dawn isn't until 10 minutes after the alarm goes off) is easier on me than waking up in the dark and turning on a full strength light.

I find that most mornings the light alone will wake me up, but I have a gentle music box alarm as backup.
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on August 5, 2010
Remember when you receive the unit, if you're eager to test it. Make sure to set the "sunrise" sufficiently ahead in the future for the actual time to trigger the sunrise.

Example:

Set Clock: 1:40
Set "Sunrise:" 1:41
Duration of "Sunrise:" 3 Minutes

In this scenario, the sunrise will not work, because the trigger time for the clock was 1:38. It may seem like common sense, but many people commit this error, including me.

After I figured this out, I loved this unit, if you ever experienced a morning where you feel refreshed and jump out of bed instantly ready to take on the day, then get ready to experience that more often.

It's a bit expensive for something that seems so simple, and I wish I didn't have to pay so much, but it's worth it.
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on January 7, 2016
sunUp hasn't been made for several years, but I sought one out on eBay for its good features: easy to program, customizable sunrise length, high wattage, can be used as a manual dimmer, no buzzing, no flicker, and a fairly natural sunrise curve. It works with incandescent lights and with many dimmable LED lights. Though I recommend incandescent lights because they can be dimmed smoothly all the way to zero, and they will not flicker. With some LED lights, the dawn will start suddenly at 10% or higher, it may flicker at low settings, and you won't get the sunrise curve that the unit was designed to produce with incandescent lights. And an LED light will be the same color regardless of the dim setting. An incandescent light glows more orange than white at low dim settings, which really does simulate a sunrise or a sunset, and is great before bed and when I'm first waking up.

The operation and programming are fairly intuitive. In some versions, you program the start of the sunrise, and in some versions you program the end of the sunrise. You'll just have to experiment to figure out which version you have. If you adjust the dimmer up or down during a sunrise, the sunrise is halted and the new setting sticks. The unit does have its quirks: three hours after the sunrise starts, it turns off, even if you halted the sunrise. I don't find the dusk program to be useful. You can't change its duration, and there is no confirmation that the dusk button has been pressed, until you wait long enough to see it getting dimmer. If you lose power for even a moment, the device forgets all its programming. And one time the sunsets just stopped working. Power cycling and reprogramming the device fixed that.

But the big problem is that the cheap rubber buttons wear out quickly. If you use the buttons every day, they'll stop working within a year. I repaired mine by weaving thin wire strands into the rubber pads with a needle. An earlier repair attempt gluing on little pieces of aluminum foil with some Loctite Vinyl, Fabric, and Plastic Flexible Adhesive (available at Lowe's) was an utter failure: the adhesive did not stick to the rubber nor to the aluminum foil. sunUp is a fine option if you're handy and prepared to repair the unit. Everyone else should steer clear. Lighten Up! Model 308 would probably be my second choice.

If you've never used a sunrise simulator, they are more gentle than an alarm clock, but not tremendously. If you haven't gotten enough sleep, a sunrise is just as unwelcome as beeping. The benefit for me I think is that I'm less groggy in the morning when I'm woken up gradually by light. But you need a room that's almost completely dark to take advantage of a sunrise simulator. Blocking all of the light in your bedroom is the hardest part. You don't need a very bright light to wake you. I use a 150 W lamp five feet from my head, and I'm woken halfway into an hour-long sunrise.
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on February 14, 2010
While Dawn simulators are a great tool for helping with SAD and for getting up on dark winter mornings, I've found a great benefit from the dusk simulator. I set it to about 45 minutes and it gradually lowers the light levels as I'm reading and dozing off. It really helps me fall asleep at night. After about 10 years of using one, I needed to get a new one because the control buttons stopped working. The new one is working like a charm!
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on March 1, 2009
I bought this after researching the options for dawn simulators. I really hated how the clocks with a built in light looked. So I opted for this one - where you use your own light and it is small and inconspicuous. And I love it. It is easy to set, easy to use, and the light truly does make it easier to wake up in the morning.
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