I’ve had my Lumie wake up light for a couple of weeks now and since I’d tried to do as much research as I could before getting this I thought I’d share my experience in case it’s of use to anyone else.
First up what is it?
Quite simply it’s an alarm clock with a light built-in. Half an hour before the alarm goes off the light very gradually comes on getting brighter and brighter. It’s intended to simulate a sunrise. You can also have an audible alarm for the prescribed time. I’ve got this option turned on as the light itself isn’t enough for me. Thankfully the noise it makes isn’t quite as jarring as with my “regular” alarm clock.
Inside the box you get the alarm itself, a bulb and the instructions.
Initial setup is easy enough. Take the top off, screw the bulb in, put the top back on and plug it in.
Using the clock is straight forward.
The + and – buttons are used to increase and decrease the brightness. Pressing the middle button activates the alarm program. If you’ve got the light on at the time it starts a 30 minute countdown and slowly lowers the brightness simulating a sunset.
When the light is turned on there are some slits in the back of the light cover to help simulate rays of sunshine. I’ve got mine tucked into a corner so the effect isn’t quite as dramatic as it could be if it was against a big empty wall.
Changing the options is reasonably straight forward. You hold the middle button until the display flashes and you can then press the button again to cycle through. The + and – buttons change each option.
It did take me a little while to realise you can’t change the setting while the alarm program is on!
Easy enough on the whole though.
This is the entry level model. The more expensive models give you more options such as the ability to control the amount of time it takes to brighten instead of the default thirty minutes. I’m happy enough with the model I’ve got though.
That’s the practical stuff out of the way. If that’s all you were interested in thanks for reading .
You might be wondering why I felt the need to get this?
The first and most obvious reason is sleep.
Sleep is something I’ve struggled with for years. Getting to sleep, staying asleep and waking up in the morning are all very difficult for me and have been for as long as I can remember. I’ve tried various things down the years but it’s just something I’ve learnt to deal with. (which isn’t without it’s benefit, sleepless nights with two kids were just normal to me!)
However, this year I actually realised that on the whole I’d sleep pretty well during the summer.
This brings me onto the second reason, winter.
I really dislike the winter in the UK. The cold, wet and dark make me miserable and it was only this year I joined the dots to realise that my problems with sleep seem to be much worse once summer finishes.
This lead me to look into Seasonal Affective Disorder (sometimes called the Winter Blues)
Looking down the list of symptoms highlighted a lot of things that do seem to affect me that I’d not really considered as part of something bigger.
Now…I’m not normally one for self diagnosis after reading something on the Internet but I figured that getting the clock wouldn’t do any harm just to see what happens. At the very worse it would mean I wouldn’t have to turn the light on in the morning!
A few weeks in I have a couple of things to report.
It hasn’t made all that much difference to how easy it is to get up. It’s just not bright enough to wake me up on it’s own. I’ve had to use the audible alarm too.
However there have been two noticeable differences.
Firstly, I am actually sleeping better. I’ll know a little bit more as the months go by but I’m waking less in the night and significantly I’m actually remembering dreams. This is hard to describe unless your really sleep deprived and have experienced it! Dreams are something that I’m not usually aware of. I’m not saying I never have them but I very rarely wake up knowing I’ve had a dream.
Last night I dreamt I’d won a million pounds on a scratch card….
The most important difference is how my mornings go.
Until I started using the clock I’d wake up with what I can only describe as low energy levels. It sets up an awful start for the day and comes with various problems around mood, and motivation. It’s not something I can easily describe but it’s more than just tiredness.
Now I have a new found alertness when starting out. It doesn’t mean I’m suddenly not tired but the huge feeling of lethargy just doesn’t seem to be there anymore.
I’m pleasantly surprised as I’ll be honest I was a little sceptical about the whole SAD thing and wasn’t sure if a light would make any difference.
I’m going to give it until the new year and take a look at a proper light therapy lamp. Sunrise simulators are not specifically used to treat SAD. They can help with some of the sleep related symptoms but actual treatment is with a specific type of light. I’ll likely talk to my doctor too.(you know, because of that whole self diagnosis thing!)
I got my lamp from Amazon but they are available from lots of different places.
sad.org.uk (has a list of various approved manufacturers)
It’s fair to say I came pretty late to podcasts. Between my music collection and the radio I was pretty generally entertained in any scenario where I had the opportunity to listen to something.
However after having a variety of podcasts recommended to me (and Radio 1 deciding they don’t want me as part of their audience) podcasts are now my primary in car entertainment.
Having your own personally curated radio station is perfect for whiling away the miles on any journey!
Since my first foray into podcast listening was through recommendation so in no particular order here’s what I’ve got on my phone at the moment.
Welcome To Night Vale – This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but if you “get” it then it’s very entertaining. It’s the community radio station for the fictional town of Night Vale where the weird, wonderful and terrifying are mundane and routine.
Freakonomics Radio – A companion to the book that “explores the hidden side of everything”. This is one of my favourites as it puts a different spin on a variety of topics. A great example is the show they did around car parking. Sounds dull but was one of the most interesting things I’d heard in ages!
This American Life – This is a recent addition but one I’m hooked on. First-person stories and short fiction pieces that are touching, funny, and surprising. One of the first couple of episodes I listened to had me welling up in the car!
The Bugle – satirical news podcast. That’s enough to describe it! Has me in stiches every week as John Oliver and Andy Zaltzman slaughter the weeks events.
The Jeff Rubin Jeff Rubin Show – very geek culture orientated (just how I like it!) but in depth interviews with a ton of interesting people from the world of geek.
Wired.co.uk Podcast – Complementary podcast to the Wired UK magazine and it’s accompanying website. Takes a look at the weekly events in the world of science, technology and business.
RadioLab – very similar to This American Life. They take a concept and dig up interviews and stories around that theme. Some very powerful stories make for compelling listening.
Stuff You Should Know – Very cool. With titles like “How werewolves work” and “How Guide Dogs Work” this is pretty self explanatory.
Richard Herring Leicester Square Theatre Podcast – or as all the cool kids are calling it RHLSTP! Richard Herring chats with the biggest names in comedy and entertainment in only the way Richard Herring can! Serious and ridiculous in equal measure. his is podcast where Stephen Fry revealed he’d once tried to take his own life.
Friday Night Comedy From Radio 4 – Alternating between The News Quiz and The Now Show.Comical look at the weeks events. I listened to these shows before I started listening to podcasts. Now I don’t miss any!”"
Still Untitled: The Adam Savage Project – Adam Savage from MythBusters fame! Primarily about the “maker community” but frequently talks about movies, comics and similar subjects. Adam tells really interesting stories so I enjoy it even if it’s not a topic I’m specifically interested in.
Radio 4 Comedy of Week – A weekly comedy program from Radio 4 with a variety of different shows and comedians.
CIAOPS Need to Know Podcast – Small Business Community stalwart, SharePoint and Office 365 expert Robert Crane regularly interviews a variety of people from around the world who are involved in SMB IT. Always informative!
I’ve also got some other new podcasts that are queued up for to listen to or I’ve only just added – I’ll likely update this list once I’ve listened to them properly.
Wired Storyboard (RSS)
Richard Tubb also has a “Recommended Podcasts for IT Business Owners” list which is well worth a look.
Is there anything you’re listening to I’m missing out on?