Do you often wake feeling tired? Does the sound of your alarm clock buzzing drive you crazy? What if there were a better way?

Some people believe that your body reacts better when you wake to light– with a natural dawn simulation — easing your body into the day the way the sun does naturally.

Here’s a fun project you can do in just a few minutes given the right supplies. You can make your own wake-up light with a few simple items you may already own. Of course you could always buy one of these:

But if you’d rather be handy and make your own dawn simulator, here’s what you’ll need:

A digital wall timer is recommended, because most now offer programming customizable for 7 days– this lets you set different on/off patterns for weekdays vs. weekends, etc.

Once you’ve assembled your parts, you’re ready to get going on the path to simulating natural wake up patterns with your wake up light. If you’ve opted for a full spectrum bulb (one that is closer to the sun’s own light frequencies) install the bulb in your lamp).

Important note: If you plan to use a dimmer with this project, you may want to choose an incandecent bulb — newer CFL and LED bulbs are often not compatible with standard dimmer switches.

Next, if you are using a dimmer switch, plug your lamp into the dimmer switch. Then plug into the wall timer. If not using a dimmer switch, plug directly into the wall timer.

Then, plug in the wall timer to your outlet and program your on/off patterns using the provided instructions– each timer is different, but most allow for multiple on/off times per day and per week. ┬áConsider turning the light on before you plan to wake and leaving on for an hour or more to allow your body to adjust before you rise.

If you’ve installed a dimmer switch, test the brightness you’ve selected to ensure it is to your liking. Experiment with different settings until you find the level of light that helps you rise naturally without making you cringe.

There you have it, your very own wake up light – at a fraction of the cost of commercial dawn simulators.

Note, one advantage of the commercial models is the ability to integrate an alarm sound and to grow the light brighter over time — if you find difficulty getting brightness to your liking, consider a commercial model.