Everyone does it: but are we doing it correctly or is there actually a better way to wake up and go to sleep? Well, there’s a company called Lumie that challenges the notion of sleep from beginning to end with the £160 Lumie Bodyclock IRIS 500. It blends aromatherapy with gradual sunset and sunrise lighting functionality for what is intended to be a more relaxing and natural approach to sleep.
It’s an attractive bedside table clock with a calming design approach and sculpted curved body that is a real spectacle when emitting its hued light. A single blue LED screen displays the activated settings along with the time and date on the front of the Lumie Bodyclock IRIS 500. The clock runs off mains electricity but has some backup power to trigger an audible alarm if the power goes out - although this doesn’t run the display or anything else. We did think Lumie could have equipped this with a USB port for charging a smartphone, but accept that this might create a temptation to disturb our quality of sleep.
Set-up & Controls
To get started, two separate chambers located under the lid require filling with water and a few drops of your preferred oils for the aromatherapy side of things. One chamber is intended for night use, where we currently use the appropriately named Neal's Yard Night Time oil for sleeping, and the other chamber for morning use, where we have Neal's Yard Orange oil to wake up with.
We wouldn't say the controls and overall system is instinctively intuitive; a reading of the manual will be necessary with this one. Nevertheless, the pickiest of sleepers will rejoice in the intricacy of settings that impact almost every aspect of the Lumie Bodyclock IRIS 500. Its system settings run admirably deep through the level of customisation offered, with the most important being the length of emission time given to the sunset and sunrise light. It allows for your own considered variation in the time it takes you to get to sleep or wake up, with 15, 20, 30, 45, 60 or 90 minute timers to choose from. Additionally we can choose the maximum brightness of the Lumie screen or light, the aromatherapy timing, the strength of the aromatherapy scent and whether you want a gentle beep alarm noise to accompany the light and aroma. There is also the option to set and forget the alarm; which we use to wake up with a ‘daily’ option that programmes the alarm for the same time every day. The other choice is ‘weekly’, whereby you can specify what day you want the alarm on and what time each day.
Does it work?
Getting to sleep is a very personal experience for everyone and environmental factors hugely impact how quickly you can become rested and then importantly enter that ideal REM deep sleep state during the night. The Lumie Bodyclock's sunset lighting is intended to encourage the body to unwind and create the sleep hormone melatonin. We can say it definitely creates a tranquil environment which encourages both body and mind to become softened through the gradual sunset lighting and aromatherapy sense oils. Within minutes the scent begins wafting out from the clock top to fill the bedroom.
But can the Lumie Bodyclock IRIS 500 really wake someone up without an audible alarm? Well we’ve tried this as a studio effort, and even the deeper sleepers, who would have needed outlandishly loud alarms set on smartphones to wake up, have actually risen to silence - with just the sunrise lighting coupled with the aromatherapy of our orange scent to infuse their mornings with a get up and go zest. Although this wasn't consistent every day with these deeper sleepers, the lighter sleepers found that they could always rely on the system and needed no alarm noise. Interestingly you don’t need to be facing the light - when sleeping with your back towards it, it still triggers your body to recognise it is time to get up. This is quite odd, but nice in the earlier months of the year when the sun isn't up in the mornings; and it just goes to prove the body is instinctively activated by natural light. We have all commented that on some mornings we’ve felt like we were 'awake previous to waking up', if that makes sense? We’re not waking up in a daze with the only foggy thought being HIT THE SNOOZE! The sensation is similar to when you wake up in a tent outdoors; as we, like most, sleep in darkened environments that don’t let in natural light until the curtains are opened.
Really, isn't the loud and jolting audible alarm in the morning a peculiar way to start your day? Instead the whole business of going to sleep and waking up becomes more pleasant with this sunset and sunrise dual scented aromatherapy system. The word gimmick gets banded around far too often and it could be very easy to label the Lumie Bodyclock IRIS 500 in this way if you have not actually used it. Ultimately, after being in multiple bedrooms with both deep and light sleepers trying it for themselves, it has proved effective in waking us every day without fail - via the sunrise lighting and aromatherapy alone in many cases, with some deeper sleepers needing the alarm just in case. The considerable choice of sleep and wake control settings will please the pickiest of sleepers and, of course, you can choose your own essential oils to encourage peaceful sleep and energised waking.