We received a Lumie Bodyclock Active 250 for Christmas after at least a couple of years of thinking about buying one. I am definitely a believer in SAD, and think I suffer from it myself. When the mornings and evenings are dark I go into a state of slump, losing what energy I had built up during the summer months and feeling tired and down in the dumps pretty much all the time. A number of people have recommended SAD lamps and these wake-up lights in the past but I’ve always been a bit sceptical I guess – these things aren’t cheap and how do I know it would actually work for me?
Over the last few months, since the clocks changed this time around, it’s been a whole lot worse. I felt terrible, my eyes saggy and tired, my body aching, and I’ve had very little motivation for pretty much anything. Getting up in the morning has been incredibly difficult, I can’t even begin to describe how much I could have easily given up and stayed in bed, probably more often than not. My energy levels have generally been low and while I’ve carried on with everything as normal I have been very close to giving up and staying in on more than one occasion.
I read a number of blogs and watched some vlogs about the Lumie and chatted to a few friends about their experiences and decided yes, it was time. After a lot of research we chose the Lumie Bodyclock Active because it seemed to suit our needs, and put it on our Christmas list, with the intention of buying on in the January sales should we not receive it. But receive it we did, and I thought I’d let you know how we’ve been getting on with it so far.
I spoke to Lumie and a couple of friends and all explained that one Lumie should fill a normal sized bedroom with wake-inducing light so we only needed one unit between us. When we received it we set it up on the chest of drawers the other size of the room to our bed (not a large room, we live in a ‘modern’ house), the only place other than our bedside tables that it could sit. We tried it there for a few days (until we went back to work) and decided that while it did indeed fill the room with light, it wouldn’t work as an alarm clock because one of us would have to get out of bed to snooze/turn it off/set it and so on, which would just be a pain. So we moved it to my side of the bed, as I get up first, and it has been there ever since.
I’ve read that some people have found the clock difficult to set, but I think I can now pretty much use all the settings without referring to the handbook. Well the settings I need every day anyway – set, snooze, unset, light up and down, that sort of thing. The first time set-up was a bit convoluted, but pretty easy when following the check list in the instructions, and some of the settings are one-time-only – such as how long you want sunrise to take (we went for 30 minutes), how long for sunset (15 minutes for us and rarely used), radio tuning, wake up sound and volume.
After two working weeks of using the Lumie to get me up for work I would say it’s definitely doing its job. While it’s no miracle cure for motivation and energy (!), it is waking me up and without any piercing sounds or sudden noises; I am awake well before the lamp is on full brightness and before the wake-up sound starts. I have chosen the bird song sound to come in once the lamp has done its sunrise simulation, which is quite pleasant when you have the volume set right – be warned that I don’t recommend full volume, that’ll make you jump up out of bed thinking there’s a load of birds sat on your head and singing directly into your brain through holes they’ve pierced with their super sharp beaks. Yes, speaking from experience! Not only am I awake, but I also feel like I’m doing that more naturally, in a much nicer and gentle manner than using a normal alarm clock (which I would tend to snooze several times before I could manage to swing my legs from under the covers and sit up). This is a much more pleasant way to wake up in the morning, and while I’m still tired and would much rather stay in bed (I know I’m not the only one), it’s much easier and I feel much less stressed out first thing in the morning.
With the lamp being on my side of the bed LincsGeek doesn’t get the full benefit I know, but it is making a difference to him too. I have noticed he is more awake in the morning and is definitely waking up more fully earlier. I don’t think there is anything that would help LincsGeek wake up bright and early, but this is helping a little!
There are a couple of things I would have liked to have on my Lumie Bodyclock Active that would truly make it a “an all-purpose bedroom light” as described on their website. The first would be a couple of pre-sets for alarms so I can set up a couple of options and just select the one I want – for example, one for work days at 6am and one for non-work days at 7.30am. Unfortunately if I want to use the alarm clock at the weekend or on my days off I either have to get up at 6am like normal (nooooo!) or go to the trouble of re-setting the wake-up time, which is not that difficult but is a little annoying. The other thing would be a “full brightness” button for the lamp so I can use it properly as a bedside light and just turn it on and off without slowly making it brighter or darker. I know the idea is that the Lumie simulates sunrise and sunset, but sometimes you just want a light on. Both are things that can be overcome, but the additions would make the unit even more useful.
I’m genuinely a convert and would recommend the Lumie Bodyclock Active (available on Amazon) or a similar lamp to anyone who struggles with the dark mornings. The sunrise simulation of this lamp is working wonders for my morning routine and I feel much less stressed out first thing. I just wish I’d given into the hype years ago!