I struggle with waking up in winter. The dark nights come in and I stop waking up easily. An alarm clock helps, but still leaves me sleepy and bleary-headed.
Enter the Lumie alarm clock.
Rather than just relying on noise to wake me up, the Lumie clicks on a light about twenty minutes before I'm due to get up. The light then gradually increases until it's wake up time. Just in case I'm still not awake by then (it has been known for me to bury my head into my pillow) you can then set a back-up of more traditional beeping or radio to get you up.
Advantages: Because the light gradually turns up over time it catches you in a period of light sleep. This means that rather than being jolted out of sleep potentially from a deep sleep you almost feel like you've woken yourself up.
Disadvantages: The radio is a bit rubbish. Which I wouldn't mind if this were a cheap clock, but this costs £50-80 online. For that, I expect them to do better.
Despite that, I couldn't do without this in winter. Very, very highly recommended.
I bought this product, 2 years ago, as a present for my wife who found waking up on winter mornings difficult. On the plus side, it has helped this a little. On the negative side, given its price, I had expected a much higher quality product: setting the alarm accurately to the time required is very difficult (a matter of trial and error); the radio tuning control is very poor (frequency/wavelength markings are on the tuning wheel and are barely visible) and the light control switches are of very flimsy construction (I discovered this when our dimmer jammed and I looked inside to see if I could fix it).
Note also that the light cover gets extremely hot when the light is fully on, so parents of young children would be well-advised to keep it out of their reach. It's also worth mentioning that this is not a 24 hour clock, so if you don't switch off the alarm properly in the morning, the light will be heating up your bedroom in the evening!
I bought the product on the internet, without seeing a working example first; in retrospect, this was a mistake.
Wow is all I can say about this product!! For years I struggled with waking up in the mornings, especially during the winter when it was still dark when I woke up. I often found it incredibly difficult to wake up and then get going. I purchased the Lumi body clock in November last year and I haven't looked back. I wasn't convinced it was going to work but the first morning I used it, I felt much more awake when my alarm went off and was instantly able to get up. I don't tend to use the alarm on the clock - I prefer the gentle tones of my mobile but the light definitely helps. There are now often times where the light of the clock wakes me up naturally before my alarm goes off and I now tend to leap out of bed rather than pulling the duvet back over my head. I would most definitely recommend this product for anyone that struggles to wake up when the mornings are dark and anyone that suffers with mild SAD as it certainly improved my mood as well as my ability to get up. No complaints at all - am very satisfied.
Please note: this review was originally published (in a slightly different form) by me on Ciao.
Given that I hale from warmer, sunnier climes, I found my first winter in the UK very difficult, as I was having to wake up in the dark in order to get to work on time. Add to that the presence of a streetlight outside my bedroom window, forcing me to have blackout curtains on my window in order to sleep in darkness, and you can see that waking up in the morning was not fun all year round. OK, so I'm rarely one to jump out of bed with a spring in my step, but the constant darkness was beginning to make me feel like a bear who'd forgotten to hibernate.
Salvation came in the form of the Lumie Bodyclock. This is not your usual alarm clock- no annoying DJ's (although this is an option), no long, drawn out beeeeeeeeeeeps (again, also an option- more on these late). Instead the Lumie Bodyclock awakens you with a simulated sunrise. Perfect for those dark winter mornings.
How does it work?
As you can see above most of the product is taken up by a light (strictly speaking it's a light shade, with a 40 watt bulb in side). The shade has strategically placed (sunbeam effect) holes in the back, allowing the light to feel very similar to sunlight. Before you go to bed you set your alarm for when you want to wake up. Half an hour before that time the light will begin to brighten, so that its full power is reached at exactly the time you set the alarm. The result: you wake up naturally, as if the sun has woken you. If full power is too much, you can set it to a dimmer light, but I always have mine on maximum. Once it has reached the predetermined setting, the light will stay on for an hour (so that you can get ready for work) and then automatically turn off. You can, of course, turn it off manually before this time as well.
But that's not all...
As I already alluded to, there is also a radio included, which you can have set to come on at the time you want to wake up. Perfect if you are a deep sleeper and need more than just the light to wake up. Personally I find I usually wake up from the light, but I often have the radio on as well, just in case. Unfortunately, the sound quality of the radio is not great- it's analogue dial makes it difficult to tune, resulting in ever present static, and the speakers are small and tinny. In fact I find it quite annoying, and never listen to it, once it's done it's job in waking me up. (I guess it doesn't help that morning radio DJ's seem to be genetically programmed to be the most annoying people on earth). If morning radio is really not your thing, there is the old fashioned beeeeeeeeeep as an alternative.
Now, waking up is one thing, but this clock is also handy for going to sleep. How you ask? Well, when you get into bed, you set the light to your desired brightness, turn on the alarm, get out your bedtime reading, and the light will gradually dim over half an hour, until it is completely gone. You don't even have to turn it off! I love this as it allows me, in theory, to limit my bedtime reading to an alloted half hour, and to fall asleep without having to think. In practice, more often than not, I turn the light up again once it gets too dark to read and continue reading until I can't keep my eyes open any longer.
What's the catch?
These clocks are expensive, considering you can probably buy a regular alarm clock for about 10 pounds or less. These currently retail for around 90 pounds, so they are probably only really an option for people who find it impossible to wake up in the morning darkness. Unfortunately, they are also not particularly well made. The buttons used to adjust the brightness of the lamp are very easily pushed in, and then have to be carefully prised out again using a paperclip or other item (I know this from experience). I have also found that the alarm hand on the clock will move, as the other hands move, meaning that sometimes the alarm time ends up being half an hour later than what I set it for. The solution to this seems to be to push the knob at the back, which you use to set the time about half way in.
Obviously a stronger build quality and better radio would improve this product but even as it is, it's brightened those dark, cold winter days for me, and I'm not sure how'd I'd cope without it.