In Australia, winter is definitely here. Which among other things means darker, colder mornings. On top of that, in the states that are fortunate enough to be lessen their COVID restrictions, this could mean a gradual reintroduction to the work commute. (So long the 5 minute commute from bed to the desk!) With that built into the schedule again (or perhaps an entirely new COVID normal schedule built), we’re always going to need to make the morning wake-up routine as smooth as possible.

I’ll admit, I’ve never been a morning person. It’s just not part of my DNA. But over the years I’ve used numerous – and sometimes quite elaborate – ways to trick my body into waking up at a time that never felt natural. A time made even crueler by the fact that until the winter solstice (where the days start to become long again), each morning would be darker than the one before it!

But let me let you in on a little secret…

With a Google Assistant Smart Speaker (like the popular Nest Mini or the Mest Hub), when you set your alarm at night – regardless of it’s a recurring alarm or for a different time every single morning – one simple command will have your Philips Hue lights slowly dim on 30 minutes before you alarm goes off.

For someone like me who is always at that best part of the dream when the siren of the morning alarm goes off, this feature has been life-changing.

It’s as easy as…

“Hey Google, turn on gentle wake-up”

This one command (and you only have to say it one time) simulates a sunrise which should bring you out of REM sleep gently around 30 mins before the jarring sound of your alarm. The bulb starts with a soft glow and gradually raises in intensity which does in some ways mimic the sunrise. I certainly notice the light has come on ~at some point~ in the half hour cycle which at least gets me ready for the concept of being an awake, productive human (which doesn’t always come easily, to be fair).

And that’s how easy it is!

Literally. With this one command your daily morning alarms set with Google Assistant pair with gradual brightening of the Hue lights in the same room.

If you want to do this as an ad-hoc request, and not link it to an alarm, simply say “Hey Google, wake up my lights in the bedroom at 6:30 AM” to gradually brighten your Philips Hue lights at 6:30 AM. This can be set up to 24 hours in advance.

And it works in reverse, too

Try “Hey Google, sleep the lights in the living room” to begin gradually dimming the lights in the living room. It’s also a fantastic one to integrate into your sleep routine – either the “Hey Google, goodnight” pre-built one or one you invoke each night as you’re getting ready for bed. Your Hue lights will change to a warm white tone and slowly fade 30 minutes before your sleep timer.

And just announced this week

At the Google Smart Home Summit, Google have just finished building a new Light Effects trait is now public so all developers can integrate their native Sleep or Wake experiences – in fact LIFX has recently launched! We encourage you to build and integrate your own unique experiences.

Google have promised larger launch moment later in 2020 so you can expect all the major lighting brands to being using this excellent feature as a key selling point for all their smart lights later this year.