Tuesday, September 17, 2013

How I've Been Getting Up These Days: Lumie Body Clock

England has the darkest winters I've ever experienced. Dark and rainy. And cold.

We have dark and rainy and cold in Seattle too, but I feel London gets unreasonably dark in winter; in the depths of the period between December - January, the sky outside my office window is nearly pitch black before it hits 4:30 pm sometimes. I don't find this depressing, I find it devastating. Yes, I know this sounds like an exaggeration, but it makes me feel like there's no time left in the day, except to trudge home, in the dark, to the bus stop, only to wash, rinse, and repeat the next.

At least I get up at a reasonable hour for work, however. Unlucky John wakes, dresses, and is out the door by 6:30 a.m. (often earlier) and returns home around 7 p.m. (often later), which means he doesn't spend a lot of his waking hours in natural daylight (I'm not sure about his office window situation). One (bright) evening, he turned to me solemnly and said, "I think I get S.A.D." I was reading a gossip magazine and paid no attention to him. "Hmm?" I murmured. "We all get sad from time to time, honey, it's a natural part of living," I said, distracted by a new skirt from Zara. "No," he said urgently. "I mean, S.A.D. as in Seasonal Affective Disorder." I looked up. "Oh, that. Yeah. I get that too." To counteract the impending months of darkness, he informed me that he was going to invest in a Lumie Body Clock at the end of the summer. I laughed, I scoffed, I jeered - I don't buy into such gimmicks.

But ladies and gentlemen ... I think it works. At least, it's been waking me naturally and is much more pleasant than the alarm setting on John's or my iPhone or Blackberry. And it really does mimic natural light, with slots in the back resembling "rays" of sunlight. The biggest difference however, is how I'm feeling even when I wake an hour later after John's long departed. I feel less groggy and tired and am in a generally brighter mood than usual.

Above all, I'm loving how it's helping me fall asleep. I often suffer from angst-ridden dreams and mid-sleep anxiety attacks, especially in the newish-settings of our apartment. I'm also a gadget addict who surrounds herself (the opposite of what you SHOULD do) with an iPad and iPhone, checking tweets and Instagram snaps up until I turn off the light. The Lumie's "sunset" setting allows the natural light to gradually fade over a period of desired time (I'm estimating ours takes around 15-20 minutes) until you're gently enveloped into darkness. I never noticed how much of a shock it is to my body to immediately switch off the light by my bedside. This way, I feel much more relaxed and my breathing slows as well, as if I'm relaxing in savasana (the final relaxation pose in yoga classes).

It has yet to grow dark at 4 p.m., so perhaps I'll be eating my words in a few weeks' time, but I'm really hoping that the Lumie will be able to improve my mood this winter.

(p.s. this isn't an advertisement - but I should probably be compensated. Ha. Ha. Ha.)

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