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I'll be the first to admit that my sleep schedule is, without a doubt, terrible. After a late afternoon slump, I get a second wind of energy around 10 p.m., after which I'm wide awake until the wee hours of the morning. I even joke to friends that if they ever want to make future plans or hear about my goals, they should text me around midnight, because it's when I'm my most ambitious.
And while there's such a thing as a reverse cycle, these habits often leave me groggy and cranky the next morning—a phenomenon worsened by the pandemic, which enabled me to keep my laptop on my nightstand and work from my bed in the mornings. At the end of 2021, I decided that I couldn't go on this way, and started looking for ways of regulating my sleep schedule.
At first, nothing worked. Neither chamomile tea nor melatonin induced sleepiness, abandoning electronics before bed just meant I'd get caught up reading books until 1:30 a.m. instead of scrolling through Instagram, and setting an ambitiously early alarm the next morning to force my schedule into regularity just made me crankier and more accustomed to hitting snooze.
The solution to my sleep woes was one I never expected: A new alarm clock. More specifically, the Hatch Restore, which serves as an alarm, light, and sound machine.
Interestingly, I started using my Hatch not as an alarm clock, but as a nighttime sound machine. I live a floor below people who, I'm convinced, own shoes made of solid concrete, and to make matters worse, the stairwell to my building sits directly above my bedroom area. Almost unbelievably, my neighbors also happen to work in music production, and begin the dull roar of their daily practice between the hours of 10 PM and 1 AM (I wish I was kidding).
Because of these circumstances, when I first moved into my apartment, I found it impossible to fall asleep. No matter how tired I was or how many sheets I pulled over my ears, I couldn't drown out the noise. Suddenly, I remembered the Hatch Restore that I'd received as a gift months earlier, and took it out of its box and plugged it in beside my bed.
The instructions in the box prompted me to download the Hatch Sleep app, which easily connected to my device and prompted me to create evening and morning routines, all of which I can control and adjust at any given time. Routines can include certain levels and colors of light, as well as various ambient sounds. For instance, my evening routine starts with 30 minutes of reading time, which is marked by white light along with heavy rain sounds. Then, it transitions into "fall asleep" time, which consists of light rain sounds with no light. Other restful auditory options include the sound of a dishwasher, an evening campfire, a fan, crickets, a creek, the ocean, and much more, while the light can be adjusted to any color and intensity.
Miraculously, these sounds drown out the sound of my neighbors. And although I can, of course, hear a bit of stomping around from time to time, the ambient sounds give me something to focus on, and calm my frustration and anxiety. I'm also flabbergasted at the extent to which the light rain sound helps me sleep: For years, I've had to toss and turn for hours every night, unable to fall asleep, but with this new routine, I've been passing out in minutes.
Now, in terms of Hatch's alarm function, I was more skeptical at first. I'd heard of alarms like this one, which promised to gradually wake users through light and natural sounds (like birds chirping, for instance), and I never thought that such gentle means would be enough to stir me in the mornings—especially because of my tendency to wake up so exhausted.
But Hatch's alarm function subtly wakes me up so that it feels like I'm coming back to consciousness on my own. In fact, I've often awoken surprised that my internal clock got me up so early, only to realize that it wasn't my internal clock at all: It was my Hatch. And because I'm naturally aroused from my REM sleep, I wake up ready to move instead of reaching for Snooze. Personally, my wake-up routine consists of gentle red light accompanied by bird sounds, but other options include chimes, bells, clocks, flutes, and other sounds, and the light, of course, is completely customizable.
Let me be clear: I am still a long way from considering myself a morning person, and I still tend to get a strong surge of energy long after day turns into night. But by making my routine something that I look forward to and find peace in—and by streamlining that routine so that I don't have to self-regulate so much—my Hatch Restore has helped me sleep better and longer, feel more energized throughout my day, and overall become a healthier, more balanced individual.
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Gabrielle Ulubay is a Beauty Writer at Marie Claire. She has also written about sexual wellness, fashion, culture, and politics both at Marie Claire and for publications like The New York Times, Bustle, and HuffPost Personal. She has worked extensively in the e-commerce and sales spaces since 2020, including two years at Drizly, where she developed an expertise in finding the best, highest quality goods and experiences money can buy. As a film school graduate, she loves all things media and can be found making art when she's not busy writing.
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