Two and a half. That’s the average number of times I hit snooze on a weekday morning. At least, it has been for the last decade. But when my first wedding anniversary recently came ’round and I learned that the modern gift is a clock, I took the opportunity to buy my husband a gift I secretly desired for myself: a Lumie clock. I’ve been oggling this technology for the last couple years, umming and ahhing about whether it could really make a difference. Alas I always faltered at the point of purchase, put off in the end by the premium price tag.
As a word of introduction for readers who are unfamiliar with this invention, Lumie is an illuminating alarm clock designed to mirror the gradual brightening of dawn and reduce symptoms of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) in the process. It’s among a number of new products on the market that promise to increase your energy levels and enhance your mood. It also works in the opposite way, gradually darkening to simulate dusk when you’re winding down for the night. There is plenty of scientific evidence to suggest this can improve sleep quality, with over-exposure to artificial light and computer screens reducing our melatonin levels – our bodies’ natural trigger for rest. In the morning, alertness-boosting hormones like cortisol take over from melatonin, and these too can be stimulated by gradual exposure to light.
Prepared for the clocks going back
After finally giving into my curiosity, my only regret is not making the investment earlier. I went for the entry-level Lumie Bodyclock Starter 30 (£59.95), and believe it more than justifies the price. Firstly, it’s versatile enough to be both a reliable alarm clock and chic bedside lamp. And, most importantly, it’s brought my snooze average down to nought. I really struggle with dark mornings, feeling the ill effects of vitamin D deficiency within weeks of the summer’s end. I’ll go months without a cold and suddenly I’m struck down by countless infections as the temperature drops. But for once I feel prepared for the clocks going back – I hope you’ve scheduled an extra hour in bed this Sunday – and for adjusting to that official mark of winter.
With my Lumie on side, I wake feeling much sprightlier, and it seems to prevent that groggy wintry feeling from settling in throughout the day, too. I usually wake naturally just a few minutes before the alarm sounds, ready to pounce out of bed without a moment’s hesitation – no need to wait for my eyes to adjust to any harsh artificial light. I especially love how the Lumie lamp casts a soft glow on the wall, like the sun slipping through the blinds. And although I’ve admittedly felt the first bite of a winter cold, the blow has been much gentler this season because I haven’t experienced the exhaustion-induced fuzzy head and heavy limbs that typically accompany a sore throat or touch of congestion.
Rethinking my bedtime routine
I am yet to try the Lumie’s dusk setting, as I’m a nighttime reader and tend to devour the latest novel until my eyes close on their own accord. Until recently, I was guilty of reading on my iPad, but I’ve now resurrected my Kindle to give my eyes a rest from backlit screens and reduce any sleep interruptions caused by a lack of melatonin. I imagine the dusk setting would be an incredible tool for a bedtime yoga or meditation routine – something I’m keen to incorporate soon. Armed for my next sleepless night, I also intend to try the dusk setting alongside breathing and muscle relaxing exercises to reset my body and override any excess cortisol.
If you’d like to know more about improving your sleep habits, please leave me feedback and I’ll plan a dedicated post soon! With that, I wish everyone a winter of restful nights and energetic mornings!
Other illuminating innovations I’d like to try:
- Noisli – Free creativity-boosting background screen for writing without distractions. Bespoke background sounds also help tune out disruptive noises.
- Lucas Hugh Octane Leggings – OK, these don’t generate light per se, but they are eye-catchingly reflective when artificial light shines on the logo and panels. That means I’d feel safe and confident running at night, and would get the full benefit of that post-workout, mood- and energy-enhancing endorphin high.
- Kindle Paperwhite – I like that the new Kindle gives you the choice to read with a gentle built-in front light, but is also satisfyingly paper-like so you can reminisce over the beauty of the book. I’m ready to upgrade!