Dear reader, I’m not fond of the English weather. I do what I can, whenever I can to escape the gloom. In an attempt to save my family from my seasonal moody blues I made a pledge this year to indulge in some light therapy for those moments when I’m not lying beside a pool in the sun.
I hunted around for SAD lights, it appears there are two major players in the market: Philips and Lumie. I wish I could tell you I spent hours Googling specifications, prices and reviews to decide which brand to go for. I didn’t. I’ve spent many happy days and memorable evenings in Cambridge, I got engaged there, it’s for that reason alone I just had to go for the Cambridge based Lumie.
Lumie very kindly let me have two units to test, the Lumie Bodyclock Iris 500 and the Lumie Zest. This is where doubts started to creep in, the Iris looked huge, where the hell was I going to put it, more to the point how was I going to convince myself that a) it warranted the table space, b) it wasn’t going to be a complete eyesore.
For the lazy reader let me cut to the chase. I was wrong. The Iris is just awsome.
I’m particular about what goes where in our house, hence my concerns about the Iris, but it’s not as big as it looks on lumie.com, nor is it an eyesore, it’s small enough to sit on a bedside table and innocuous enough to fit in with any decor. I was genuinely excited to try all the tricks my new toy could perform – aromatherapy, nightlight, sunset and sunrise lighting, alarm, the list went on. With the lovely looking remote in one hand and the manual in the other I delved in.
Setup was detailed but easy, all the Iris’ functionality made easily accessible. The major feature of the Iris is the 7-Day programmable fading sunset to help you naturally unwind at bedtime and the gradually brightening light to wake you up in the morning. Wake-up lights apparently help to keep your sleep cycle on track, boosting mood, energy and productivity levels. The options were 15, 20, 30, 45, 60 or 90-minute sunrise to wake you naturally… 90 minutes to wake up! by my reckoning that’s 85 minutes of sleep wasted!
After a week of use I found it best to set the sunrise to 15 minutes starting 5 minutes before you usual alarm time, I’m a light sleeper and find that even the faint light wakes me up well before the alarm kicks in.
So does the Iris work, yes. I dread the sound of the alarm in the morning, the sunrise light wakes you up slowly and naturally without the jolt of a conventional eeeeeek, eeeeeek, eeeeeek. But that’s only half the story, as I type the Iris is sitting in my bedroom with the aromatherapy function on and the light glowing to supplement the gloom outside.
The aromatherapy option on it’s own is good enough to warrant a purchase of the Iris, I enable it as part of the sunset routine to leave a lovely smell in the bedroom before lights off. There are two two removable aromatherapy chambers for sunset and sunrise oils, but you can turn either on at any time. We have lavender and lemon, (not included with the Iris), the lemon is lovely, the lavender not so much. It reminds me of my dear old cats litter tray, which was scented lavender to remove the smell of his doings, good luck with that! I’m now hardwired to associate the scent of lavender with cat poo.
I should also mention the user friendly setup, the 7-day programming – set your sunrise and sunset routines weekly or daily, dimmable LED – yey, I’ve spent far too much time in hotels hunting for a power socket to dispense with the glow of an alarm clock, a security option – turn on the light randomly while you’re away to scare off intruders, an optional alarm beep and power failure back-up. All useful features, the Iris is a polished box of tricks.
Two minor gripes, the first is that the Iris times out after a while when being used as a nightlight, descending you into gloom if no other lights are on. The second is that the range of the remote is somewhat limited especially when using at an angle. But these are minor issues and won’t stop me from using my Lumie daily during the cold dark winter months.
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