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Smart Home

4 clever morning routine automations for your smart home

Smart home tech has come a long way, and automating your mornings is easier than ever. Here are four ways to breeze through your mornings.

Taylor Martin/CNET

The entire point of a smart home is to make life at home a little bit easier, if not more enjoyable -- to automate and spiff up the more nerve-wracking features of your home.

One of the best places to start with your new smart home is automating your morning routine. Here are four ways your smart home can help you breeze through each morning.

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Slowly turn on the lights

Getting a good night's rest is important. But just as important is how you wake up. No one likes waking up to a loud, abrupt alarm.

Try waking up calmly to a gentle, gradual increasing light instead. It's more natural and will prevent you from being ripped out of deep sleep. You can do this a few different ways.

Many smart bulbs, for instance, can be programmed to come on at a specific time, and often you can choose how long it takes for the bulbs to reach the desired brightness -- instantly, a couple of seconds or even several minutes. Create a schedule for the bulbs overhead or in a bedside lamp to slowly turn on to full brightness around the time you need to wake up.

Create a schedule for overhead Lutron lights, LIFX bulbs in a bedside lamp or a Philips Wake-Up Light to slowly turn on around the time you need to wake up.

Gently raise the temperature

No one wants to peel off the cozy sheets early in the morning and wake up to a chilly bedroom. To avoid this, you can set your smart thermostat to slowly raise the temperature 30 minutes before you plan to get out of bed each morning.

Like with slowly turning on the bedroom lights, this will help gently pull you out of sleep and make getting out of bed less jarring.

Or maybe you need the shock of brisk morning air to help wake you up. If that's your morning trick, just set the thermostat to lower a few degrees before your alarm.

Automatically make coffee

Who doesn't like a fresh cup of coffee early in the morning? With your smart home, you can wake up to hot coffee every day. And making it happen is easier than you think.

While they make smart coffee makers specifically for this, all you really need is any ol' dumb coffee maker and a smart plug. The one requirement for the coffee maker is that its power button is a toggle switch that will remain on, even after brewing has finished -- this is so you can control its power externally with the smart switch.

Pretty much all smart switches can operate on a schedule, but if you've got one that's compatible with Google Home ($129.00 at Dell Home) or Alexa, like the TP-Link Kasa Smart Wi-Fi Plug, you can tell your smart speaker to make coffee as soon as your feet touch the floor.

Try creating a Google Home shortcut that turns on the smart plug when you say, "Hey Google, coffee time."

Taking it one step further, you can use IFTTT (if this then that) to pair your fitness or sleep tracker, like a Fitbit, with the smart plug. A Fitbit wearable can detect when you start peeling yourself out of bed. With IFTTT, you can build an applet that begins making coffee when your Fitbit detects you're awake.

Get the morning news

With smart speakers spread around your house, staying up to date on the news, weather and traffic is easier than ever.

With Alexa Routines, you can have Alexa play your Flash Briefing every morning at the same time. Or you can simply ask for it by saying, "Alexa, play my Flash Briefing." The same goes for Google Home speakers — automate your news and weather, or ask for it by saying, "OK, Google, good morning."

These morning automations are just the tip of the iceberg. The more smart gadgets you add around your house and the more you use them, the more creative you can get with how you use them each morning. Have a smart oven make toast automatically. Stream your favorite morning music while you shower. Or tell Google Home to play the latest videos from your favorite YouTube channel on the Chromecast ($35.00 at Walmart) while you get dressed.

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