For a long time I’ve heard about the benefits of light therapy in treating Seasonal Affected Disorder (SAD) and so as the colder, darker months encroached, I decided it was about time that I tried one out for myself. For the past few months, I’ve been using the Bodyclock STARTER 30 from Lumie* and it has been a life changer.
What is light therapy?
Light therapy uses specific wavelengths of artificial light to treat conditions ranging from skin problems to Alzheimer's and PTSD. Most commonly though, light therapy is used to treat SAD and sleep problems.
SAD is caused by lack of bright light in winter, so treatment involves using a bright light to influence brain chemistry; specifically the production of melatonin and serotonin, which affect both sleep and mood.
In terms of sleep problems, light therapy can help by synchronising your body clock by providing stronger light cues. This can also reduce sleep inertia, which is the inability to feel alert and perform when we first awake.
Choosing the Bodyclock STARTER 30 by Lumie
Generally my symptoms of SAD aren’t too severe, but the sleep problems and lethargy that I usually experience during winter really impacts my lifestyle. It’s not just winter that I suffer from sleep problems, however. Even during the summer months I have trouble maintaining a consistent sleep pattern; I’ve never been a morning person and tend to suffer with sleep inertia.
I chose to use the Bodyclock STARTER 30 by Lumie to address both of these issues. I was particularly keen to try a product by Lumie because their products are certified medical devices, developed based on scientific research (which is just what I like to hear!). I also found their website super useful as it is packed full of resources including research abstracts, guides, blog posts, and a tool to help you choose the right light therapy device for you.
This wake-up light acts as a dawn simulator, waking you gradually over a 30 minute period with increasing light, although there is also an optional beeping alarm feature. The Bodyclock STARTER 30 has a 30 minute fading sunset to help you wind down before going to sleep and can be used as a dimmable bedside light. Other Bodyclock models have additional or more customisable features.
The Bodyclock STARTER 30 is simple to set up and use. The problem that I often have with new gadgets is that it takes me time to adapt to using them, or even to set them up as I anticipate it being an irritating, time-consuming process. This wasn’t the case with Bodyclock at all.
Better Sleep, Mood and Lifestyle
I have fallen head over heels in love with the Bodyclock. For the past few months I’ve been much more alert, productive and focused, not just upon waking but throughout the entire day.
If left to my own devices, I would probably get to sleep around 2am, wake up around 9am, snooze until 10am (sometimes having turned off my alarm completely without recollection...), and then finally start anything productive around midday. I’m the definition of a night owl. Using Bodyclock I’ve been able to readjust to wake by 7am and be in full swing of work a couple of hours later.
Committing to an earlier wake up time was much easier knowing how good I would feel and how much more I could achieve during the day. The same goes for getting to sleep at a more reasonable hour.
Occasionally, if I genuinely haven’t had enough sleep, I will struggle to wake up at my set alarm time, even with Bodyclock.
Ultimately, I need to commit to making healthier choices with my sleep and get to bed at a suitable time, no matter how inspired I am to rearrange my entire bedroom or make some headway with my ‘Watch Later’ YouTube playlist late in the evening!
Without doubt, I will be using a Lumie Bodyclock year-round to help regulate my sleep cycle.
Sleep is absolutely crucial to good health and I want to do everything that I can to optimise mine.
There are very few people I know who wouldn't benefit from using a Bodyclock to improve their sleep. Check out the full range on the Lumie website, where they offer a 30-day trial.