catalonia royal bavaro punta cana

Standing on the balcony of my hotel room in Punta Cana last week, I was struck by the beauty of my surroundings and forced myself to put my phone down and truly take in the moment (without the knee-jerk reaction to share it on social media). It was during my short visit to the Dominican Republic last week with Catalonia Hotels and BookingHello.com (as well as my blogger buddies Do The Daniel and Fashionights) that I realized what I really need most of all right now is to slow down, and appreciate the now rather than the what’s next in my life.

With a round-the-clock schedule, this is easier said than done. Getting a good night’s sleep is a rarity for a busy blogger (yes, we actually do work hard. Really hard. Haven’t you read this article on what most people don’t know about fashion blogging yet?), but is one of the most important things for all of us to ensure we can live up to all of those smiley selflies just as much in real life as we do online.

As 2015 comes to a close and 2016 kicks off, I’ve decided that my word for the upcoming year is HEALTH. That’s right, I don’t normally make a list of resolutions, instead I choose to focus on a positive word that will affect all of my actions and decisions in the coming year. In 2015, for example, my word of choice was HAPPINESS. Considering I cut out what was making me the unhappiest (my 9-5 job) in October, I feel proud to cross off one of the biggest and scariest things I’ve had on my mental ‘list’ all year.

Naturally, getting a good night’s rest plays a crucial role in both health and happiness, and, in my own case, always helps control the severe Scorpio mood swings that I’m prone to. In an effort to put more energy towards getting some much-needed sleep on a daily basis, here are 10 things I’m committed to improving in my life to help me get more sleep and wake up peacefully.

1. Go to bed earlier (like, before 1am)

2. Turn off my phone (actually all the way off)

3. Netflix, less. (ok, 1 hour max a night)

4. Do more yoga (at least once a week)

5. Eat more mindfully (aka eat more greens, less pizza)

6. Drink less wine (make caffeine-free tea your new wine)

7. Embrace green tea (in the morning)

8. Use my essential oil diffuser (because a home spa is a good thing)

9. Read more books (real ones, not on a screen)

10. Use light to wake up, rather than alarms. (But with help from a light alarm)

Out of my 10 ways to get more sleep and wake up peacefully, number 10 is probably the easiest for me to implement thanks to my new Philips Wake-Up Light that I am legit totally obsessed with. You may have heard of wake-up lights already (I certainly had) and always wondered how they worked, and if they actually worked. I was thrilled when Philips asked to try out their version so I could find out first hand how these “alarm clocks” can transform the way you wake up.

philips light alarm 1

Like many of you (I’m sure), I’ve always used the alarm on my phone to help me get up in the morning. In fact, I rely on it so heavily that normally I’ll have it go off at least 5 different times on any given morning to actually get me out of bed. There’s just something about that jarring, annoying sound that makes me want to roll over and never leave. In fact, the noise often triggers the feeling of being more tired, even if my body has already woken itself up naturally, before the alarm has gone off.

This year, I’ve had some of the earliest recurring wake up times that I’ve ever dealt with in my life; from waking up to work out with Nike at 5am all summer, to getting beautified for Breakfast Television segments at 4am. Now that we’ve hit winter, getting up in the pitch black darkness is even harder than before.

This is where the Philips Wake-Up Light has genuinely transformed the way I get up in the mornings, especially when I’ve got a particularly early wake-up time. Instead of scrambling to turn off a screeching alarm that makes me to want to rip my hair out, I’m now greeted by a warm light that gets increasingly brighter (filling my room with a soothing glow) and the sounds of nature – think sweet little chirping birdies – to wake me up in a way that has me springing out of bed and feeling like a modern, real-life Snow White.

philips light alarm  2

The photo above will give you a better idea of what this light really looks like – and the light it emits – from your bedside table. For anyone out there who loves to wake up to their favourite radio station, rest assured that this setting is also available with the Philips Wake-Up Light.

This is seriously the coolest and best alarm clock I’ve ever had and highly recommend it to anyone else looking for new ways to get more sleep and wake up more peacefully on a daily basis. Now, back to bed a I go!

xo

@GracieCarroll

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