Call me lucky (or perhaps chronically sleep-deprived), but when it comes to falling asleep, I typically have no problem. Heck, most nights, I can even get away with dozing on the couch to the low din of a reality TV show—something sleep doctors don’t recommend—and still fall back asleep easily after transitioning to my bed. But, waking up is a different story. I tend to have a harder time avoiding the snooze button and getting out from under my comfy duvet.
My saving grace in this regard has long been my Hatch Restore sunrise alarm clock ($130), which floods the room with a sunrise-esque light before I need to get up. But this week, the brand dropped a new version, Restore 2 ($200), which includes content for an easier wake-up—and since trying it out, I feel so much less drowsy and grumpy in the mornings.
The biggest new addition to the Hatch Restore 2 from the original is something the brand calls “morning moments,” which are bite-sized pieces of content including guided meditations, gentle stretches, and affirmations designed to help you get up and at ‘em. (These are included on the device as part of the Hatch sleep membership, which costs $5 per month or $50 for the year and is the only downside of the product: buying another subscription service.)
The new Hatch Restore 2 has bite-sized pieces of morning content designed to help you get up and at ’em.
This content is the morning equivalent of the soothing music, dreamscapes, guided rest, and sleep stories included in the original Hatch Restore (and on the Restore 2)—but just designed to gently rouse you from sleep rather than put you to sleep. “We’d received feedback from people who had the Restore that they were enjoying the wind-down content and being more intentional around their nighttime ritual for sleep, and they wanted a way to approach the morning with a similar intentionality,” says Hatch co-founder and CEO Ann Crady Weiss. The morning moments are the brand’s answer to that request, created in collaboration with Hatch’s board of sleep and mental-health experts.
My morning moment of choice thus far? A selection called “Jump Start” that features the brief sentiments of an upbeat motivational speaker named Dane. And over the past couple weeks since I began listening to Dane’s “Wake up, sleepyhead!” followed by his punchy words of wisdom each morning, I have to say, I’m finding it easier to start my days with a positive mindset (however much the cynic in me wants to deny that).
How the Hatch Restore 2 alarm clock’s “morning moments” make it easier to get out of bed
First, it’s worth noting that before you arrive at the content for whatever morning moment you’ve selected on the Hatch Restore 2, you’ll still get the sunrise wake-up experience of the original Hatch Restore. That is, before the soothing—never jarring—sounds of the alarm start to go off (think: the gentle melody of birdsong, waves lapping at a coastline), your bedroom will be filled with the glow of a rising sun for a customizable length of time (the default is 30 minutes) and in your choice of color and brightness. The beauty in this is that the increasing lightness of the room helps shift you into a lighter stage of sleep by the time the alarm sounds, so that you’re primed to wake up more easily.
From there, the new morning moments take things one step further, helping you go from, “I’m awake” to “I’m ready to actually get out of bed.” After pressing the big, tactile “rise” button on top of the alarm to turn it off (signified by an open eye), you just press it again to cue up your morning moment. This means you don’t have to touch your phone or go to the Hatch app to get the content going—which helps circumvent the temptation to immediately open your inbox or scroll through a spate of news notifications (and sacrifice those few minutes you would’ve had for yourself).
Instead, by just pressing the “rise” button on the Hatch Restore 2, you’ll be guided, right away, toward the brief content of your morning moment. (All of the options are purposefully concise—four minutes or shorter—so that even the busiest of people feel like they can partake.) It plays through three speakers embedded in the alarm clock at a volume you can adjust by tapping on the face of the clock, which also glows with a light pairing of your choice.
While, again, there are morning moments that include things like guided stretching, energizing breathwork, and inspiring affirmations, the option I’ve been vibing with is the “Jump Start” content from my pal Dane (you met him up above). As of now, this includes about 15 different selections of motivating sentiments served up at random (though the app promises additional content on a rolling basis), always rounded out with a declaration to “get after it” or “seize the day.”
So far, I’ve listened as Dane has told me, cheerfully, that the outcome of any day is “10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react,” that it pays off “to do the hardest thing on your to-do list first,” and that reframing challenges from “I have to” to “I get to” can promote an “attitude of gratitude.” And as corny as it sounds, there’s something about the combination of Dane’s unending enthusiasm and the comforting consistency of knowing he’ll always be there, ready to usher me into my day, that’s actually made these few minutes each morning rather pleasant.
Several days into this new morning ritual, even my once-skeptical boyfriend has gotten behind it, often cracking a smile at Dane’s commentary. Sometimes, his motivational messages skew so cheesy in tone or content that it’s hard for both of us not to laugh—but regardless of whether we’re laughing with Dane or at Dane, we’re laughing all the same. And what better way to start the day than with laughter?
The sleep science behind the Restore 2’s “morning moments”
I don’t just have Dane’s particularly motivating voice and content to thank for my ability to get out of bed more easily these days. There’s real science behind embracing an inspiring morning ritual of any sort. And the Restore 2 makes it seamless to do so by working it right into the alarm clock I’d be setting and turning off anyway.
“A morning routine is important to give you space between being asleep and the busyness of the day.” —Jessee Dietch, PhD, DBSM, clinical psychologist and Hatch sleep advisor
“We hear a lot about the importance of a bedtime routine, but a morning routine is also important to give you space between being asleep and the busyness of the day,” says clinical psychologist Jessee Dietch, PhD, DBSM, Hatch sleep advisor and director of the Sleep Health Assessment, Intervention, and Dissemination (SHAID) research lab at Oregon State University. “Building in this buffer can help create less rush and stress in the morning and set you up to engage positively with the day.”
Indeed, research has found significant benefits of a morning routine called “R.I.S.E. U.P.,” originally developed by clinical psychologist Allison Harvey, PhD, and her team at UC Berkeley’s Golden Bear Sleep & Mood Research Clinic for research on the co-morbidities of sleep issues and mental-health conditions. The name of the routine is an acronym:
Increase activity in the first hour after awakening
Shower/wash face right away
Expose yourself to sunlight
Phone a friend to boost alertness
And in particular, this routine has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of subjective sleep inertia (aka that groggy, brain-isn’t-quite-on-yet feeling that happens immediately after waking up).
The Hatch Restore 2’s morning moments support a few elements of this R.I.S.E. U.P. routine, says Dr. Dietch, “including helping you to resist snoozing and increasing activity in the first hour after awakening.” Additionally, the morning moments “help to encourage a consistent wake-up time each morning, which, when combined with exposure to morning sunlight, can strengthen the circadian rhythm, contributing to better sleep,” she adds.
As for why I’ve become so fond of Dane’s morning monologues, in particular? Some people respond especially well to something that “engages us cognitively first thing,” says Dr. Dietch. This works like a warm-up for the brain, prepping it to go forth and conquer the rest of the cognitive tasks of the day, she adds.
Especially for folks who aren’t necessarily morning people (hello, it’s me) and don’t always feel cognitively up to speed upon waking up, a motivational jumpstart like Dane’s could be “just what you need to approach the day with a little more enthusiasm,” says Dr. Dietch. And that enthusiasm then has a subtle way of trickling into the rest of the morning (and day) to follow, setting you off on the right foot.