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It seems to be an unfortunate curse for the women in my family that we are all terrible sleepers. I find it difficult nodding off, I find it difficult staying asleep and so when morning rolls round I find it difficult getting up. This is made especially traumatising in the winter when it is pitch black and freezing outside when my alarm starts screeching loudly to wake me up.
My mum suggested that I try the Lumi Bodyclock as she has gotten one and fallen in love. I was sceptical at first but after one too many mornings of drifting back to sleep after hitting 'snooze' one too many times, I decided I had nothing to lose.
Appearance wise the Lumi Bodyclock starter 30 is a sleek white dome, almost egg like, with a blue circle in the middle and three buttons. It is attractive to look at and doesn't look cheap or tacky on the bedside table.
In terms of function, things are relatively basic. You choose your alarm time and whether you want an audio alarm as well (which I never use as it is a hideous beep). The clock starts lighting up before your required time so that it has reached peak brightness by your selected alarm time (this is also when the audio alarm would go off, if selected). The clock then stays lit up for 30 minutes. You can also use the clock as a dim nightlight by manually turning it on and selecting the brightness.
So what do I think? To be honest, my favourite thing about this clock is having a light already on when I wake up. It just makes it so much easier to get out of bed in the mornings. I do still set an audio alarm on my phone though (nice, gentle music) because the light alone doesn't always get me up if I'm very tired.
Waking up definitely feels less traumatic using the Lumi Bodyclock and I feel less groggy throughout the day even when I've had a really bad nights sleep. I don't know whether this is due to the more relaxing wakeup causing less of a spike in stress hormones first thing, or the gradually increasing light slowly preparing my body for morning so it is less of a shock to the system.
Whatever it is, it works
Both me and my husband were both finding it difficult to wake up and come round in a morning during the darker months, and starting the day off grumpy was just not something I wanted. Mentioning how tired I was to a work colleague and how difficult I was finding to wake from sleep despite getting a good 8 hours, they jokingly mentioned that I was probably suffering from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). I wasn't convinced as it sounded a bit dramatic but I looked into it anyway. I was pleased when one of the first things I found when I googled SAD was the Lumie products as I had been mentioning too my husband around the same time that we really should invest in a proper alarm clock rather than relying on mobile phones.
I wasn't particularly sure where to start with the Lumie products once I had decided that I would be purchasing one, so the Lumie Starter 30 seemed a good introduction as it is actually (as the name suggests) the starter product if you haven't been woken by light before. The Starter 30 is also the most affordable bodyclock so it seemed the best option in case we didn't like it, we hadn't invested in an expensive alternative.
The first night that we went to bed with the Lumie plugged in, I was apprehensive but excited at the same time about how we would react to the light therapy that would wake us the next morning. The next morning (and every subsequent morning!) was lovely and being woken gradually by the increasing light was wonderful. I always feel revived and like I have slept well rather than needing a 'nap' after a full 8 hours by constantly pressing snooze on my phone alarm. It is perfect for getting you back into a routine quickly after a trip away. My body clock was back to normal after two nights sleep with the Lumie after my recent trip to America, but the last time I went to America my sleep patterns were all over the place for about 10 days.
The Lumie works by giving the body a signal (with light) to slow down its production of melatonin (or sleep hormones) and increase those that help you get up and boost energy (cortisol). The wake up light will allow your body to get into a proper routine and increase energy and boost the mood. I feel more productive and have really noticed a difference in the way I go about my day in the seven or eight months or so since I have started to use this wake up light.
It took me a week or so before I properly took notice of the light before I realised there is also the option to have a 30 minute sunset fade out option which really helps you wind down for bed. I find it more difficult to sleep nowadays. I don't know if it's as I've got older or if it's because I read with a Kindle at night. When my girls are over tired or struggling with sleep, I will put them in my bed, turn the light on and read them a short story, all the while the light is continually fading. It relaxes you and I have to make a swift exit from the room otherwise I feel myself nodding off too! They are asleep in no time at all.
To use the light you simply set it for the time you would like to be woken up as you would any alarm clock, and rather than being woken up by a shrill alarm, you will be gradually woken naturally starting lightly 30 minutes before the wake time you have set. This really is a wonderful way to wake up and I really do notice a difference when I can't use the light when I am away from the home.
The LED clock is something I thought I would use but actually I don't ever sleep through the light alarm, and so the need to see the time isn't really needed as I can guarantee that I will wake, so the option to turn the clock LED off is perfect for me. The option to add a back-up alarm beep for added reassurance is a nice reassuring feature.
The light is a nice size, not too bulky on a bedside table. It also can be used as a bedside light and is dimmable too. It emits a lovely glow which I didn't expect would fill the room as much as it does. I've actually removed my lamp from my bedroom now as it felt an extremely harsh light in comparison to the wonderful soft glow this lamp emits.
My favourite feature is the sun ray effect which imitates a sunrise effect and has rays of sunshine literally coming out of the Lumie. If that doesn't make you smile, then I don't know what will!
The light is obviously powered by a bulb and this will need replacing at some point during its life, but after using it for around 7 or 8 months I have not had to replace the bulb. These can easily bought online and cost around £5.
The power failure back-up means that even in a power cut, you will still be woken. Lumie Starter 30 comes with a 2 year warranty.
If my review isn't enough to convince you of its impressive features and ability to transform your life ; ), then the fact that it is certified medical device and has been proven effective through clinical trials. Impressive!
RRP £59.99, but shop around, you can pick it up cheaper in various places.
Although not bad, it is a bit disappointing still. I bought this to help make my mornings easier; being a student I didn't have a great reputation to attending my morning lectures. If my room was tiny and completely pitch black in the mornings, then maybe this would work better, but as it is the light simply isn't bright enough.
Although the light may not wake me up and doesn't seem to make it easier either, it is still a decent alarm clock, easy to use and the benefit of having a light on a timer makes it really useful over other clocks.
I don't think the clock is to blame, it is simply the case that for the light to benefit in you awaking in the mornings it would need to be brighter than the outdoors, which at around 8AM, no matter what time of year, it just isn't the case.
Overall a great and useful clock combined with a bedside light, still use and would recommend as I can't imagine any others being any brighter.
I am not sure for a fact if I suffer from SAD but I know for a fact that my body works differently in the winter months. In the summer I have no trouble getting up at 6:30 and being wide awake and sprightly whereas in winter when the mornings are dark I struggle to wake myself up and instead of feeling refreshed and well rested I am like a zombie for hours and all day I struggle to do things which in summer are a breeze for me.
~~~~~~~~~~ Lumie Starter 30 ~~~~~~~~~~
Because of how I feel in winter and how difficult I find it to get up I am a big fan of light therapy and I honestly believe that wake-up lights make a huge difference in how I wake up and start my day. I have had them before but I decided to treat myself to a new one as my old one broke and I never got around to getting it replaced and I really noticed the difference at the beginning of this winter.
I had a look online and decided to buy the Lumie Starter 30 as it was really reasonably priced and because it was a really nice neat size and would fit on my bedside cabinet perfectly without being too big and cumbersome.
The Lumie Starter 30 is a certified medical device and not just a nice bedside lamp. It works by promoting your body to reduce the production of the sleep hormone melatonin and by increasing the amount of Cortisol your body produces to give you more energy when you wake up and to just make getting up in the morning more pleasant and easier.
Using the light can train your body to restart its internal sleep and wake cycle which can be disrupted by a combination of late nights, early mornings, naps, lie ins, travel and general stress. What this means is that it can help get your sleep patterns back in order so if you tend to sleep in to different times each day this can train your body naturally to start wakening up at a regular time every morning and also train your body to go to sleep at a more regular time in the evenings.
~~~~~~~~~~ Using the Lumie 30 ~~~~~~~~~~
Using the Lumie Starter 30 is so simple and there is nothing complicated about it. The light only comes with three buttons so even the most techphobic should be able to use this with no problems whatsoever. You use the centre button to control all the settings and the other two are for diming and turning up the brightness off the light.
As well as wakening you up in the mornings the light can also be used at night as it has a sunset feature which starts with the light being normal brightness and then gradually dimming until it completely turns itself off. You would be surprised with just how soothing and relaxing this feature actually is and I have found that it has really helped relax my brain at night and get me in the right frame of mind for sleep.
The light can also be used as a normal bedside lamp and as it also has an LED clock display you can pretty much do away with your old alarm clock or stop using your mobile phone as a clock. The LED clock display can be turned on or off if you find that it is too bright to sleep with.
Unlike with a lot of these lights the bulb can be replaced when it comes to the end of its lifespan but don't worry about that when buying it as the bulb is supposed to last a long time before needing replaced. I am not sure the exact lifespan but I have been using mine for hours at a time for a few months now and there is no noticeable reduction in the brightness of the bulb.
~~~~~~~~~~ My experience of the Lumie 30 ~~~~~~~~~~
I was so pleased when my new Lumie arrived and I finally saw it as it was a lot smaller and more compact than my old one and it just looked more modern and not out of place in the slightest on my bedside cabinet. I really have to give it to Lumie for the design of the light as I personally think it looks fantastic and is a vast improvement on the older style models.
Of course buying this wasn't all about looks but it does help. As a dawn simulator this is absolutely fantastic and it does its job really well.
You set the light to go off at the time of the morning you want to wake up and the light turns itself on 30 minutes before the designated time gradually getting brighter until it is at full capacity. I cannot stress just how well this actually wakes you up and it is such a nicer sensation than being jolted up by loud music or a ring tone.
Before I started to use a bodyclock I was a bit dubious as to how well they would wake me up but I needn't have concerned myself as in my opinion this is vastly superior to a traditional alarm clock in every way. It does have an alarm function on it but I always find that I wake up before this goes off.
The best thing about this is how much it has revolutionised my sleeping patterns. Whereas before when I wasn't using a bodyclock I started falling into old patterns and finding it difficult to wake in the morning and have any sort of enthusiasm this has all changed since having the light. I am not only sleeping better but I am wakening up refreshed and have loads more energy as a result. It really does soothe you when wakening you up and the slight graduation of the light makes all the difference as you don't just wake up when it first comes on and I have never even noticed it until it actually starts wakening my body up naturally and I am ready to open my eyes.
I also have started using this as a reading light as the light it gives off can be adjusted when you decide to have it on constantly so I can make it brighter or dimmer depending on how I want it and the light it emits is much more soothing and less harsh on my eyes when reading than with my actual lamp. It also manages to illuminate the entire room and bathes it in a really nice relaxing glow which is exactly what you want when lying in bed trying to relax after a busy day.
~~~~~~~~~~ Price and availability ~~~~~~~~~~
I bought my Lumie Starter 30 from Amazon where I paid £49.99 for it. The rrp of the light is £59.99 and it is widely available from both online stores and from high street electrical ones.
~~~~~~~~~~ My recommendation ~~~~~~~~~~
I cannot reiterate enough just how much I love my Lumie light. I really do think it is fantastic and has stabilised my sleeping patterns and makes wakening up in the morning a much nicer proposition. This is one of the cheapest lights that Lumie do and to be honest I really cannot see why you would need to spend more on a higher model as this one does everything so well and is perfectly bright enough and as far as I can see other than a few more settings does everything the more expensive ones do.
For anyone that suffers from the winter blues be it Seasonal Affective Disorder or just general sluggishness in the dark mornings then I would highly recommend that you get yourself one of these and see if it works for you as much as it has for me as it really has made the biggest difference to my life during the winter and has made the long dark days seem a little less bleak.