Introducing The Philips Somneo Sleep & Wake-Up Light
A good night’s sleep is the difference between feeling human, or like a shell of yourself. The difference between feeling on top of your game and ready for the day ahead, or like you want to curl back beneath the sheets and hide away from your responsibilities. A new study from Philips reveals that over half of Brits (52%) admit to being grumpy and irritable each and every morning. It’s never been such an issue as it is now, thanks to our ever busy complex lives and constant connectedness; we find it harder than ever to switch off and slip into an effective slumber – which is crucial to refresh the body and mind and keep us operating at our best. Although I’m quite a deep sleeper, I’m also an inconsistent sleeper; as soon as I’m stressed, have something on my mind or find myself working until 10pm it’s the first thing to go to pot. I find it hard to drift off, even harder to go back to sleep once I wake up and impossible to drag myself out of bed without a vat of coffee awaiting me. Over the years I’ve tried everything and anything: pillow sprays, supplements, sleep tracking apps, rituals and tasks designed to help my mind switch off, but the thing that’s proven most effective has been the introduction of a sleep light that helps to wake me gently and ensure I jump out of bed feeling refreshed.
Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been putting the new Philips Somneo Sleep & Wake-Up Light to the test and it really has made all the difference, (especially in helping me to recover from my honeymoon-induced jetlag!) Philips are committed to making waking up a better experience and have spent over 30 years developing revolutionary sleep treatments designed to meet the real needs of real people; the new Wake-Up Light is the culmination of that. Inspired by nature, the bedside essential features both a sunset and sunrise simulation which mimics the full natural colour spectrum of the sun and increases over a million gradations; each transition from dark to light is virtually imperceptible to the human eye, the result being your wake-up feels as natural as a real sunrise!
Research suggests that exposure to an artificial dawn simulation light can improve your overall mood and wellbeing, as the wake up experience feels natural and pure – rather than an alarm clock brutally ripping you from your slumber and instantly putting you in a bad mood. (We’ve all been there.) During the winter months many of us leave the house when it’s still dark, so it’s even harder to peel ourselves away from the sheets; the Wake-Up Light is the perfect way to create an artificial bright and sunny morning, boosting your mood and tricking your brain into thinking it’s time to get up. Having put the Philips Somneo thoroughly to the test, these are the reasons why I’m loving it and it’s made such a difference during these long dark days.
UNIQUE WIND-DOWN FEATURE
Unlike other wake-up lights, the Philips Somneo Sleep & Wake-Up Light features a unique ‘wind down’ feature that’s designed to help calm the body and mind pre-sleep. Not only does it prepare your body for sleep by gradually decreasing light over a set period of time (I find 15 or 30 minutes just the right amount,) but it also features the calming sounds of waves to help you switch off. I’ve been loving this feature as the hypnotic motion really helps to regulate my breathing and really switch off my brain from anything else. If you need something a little more intense, then it also features a unique light-guided breathing exercise to help calm and free the mind from those million and one thoughts.
NATURAL SLOW SUNRISE
Undoubtedly the best feature, the Somneo gradually increases light (from soft dawn reds through to warm orange and bright yellow) over a 10-45 minute period before your set alarm time. This signals your body to move from sleep to
waking, for a natural wake-up experience that leaves you feeling refreshed. Rather than jumping out of bed to the sound of a harsh alarm, this gently stimulates your brain and wakes you up gradually so there’s no grogginess at all. Even when I’ve been waking up at 6.30am to get to meetings, I’ve felt more awake than I have done in ages.
RELAXING SOUND EFFECTS
One of my favourite things about the Somneo Sleep and
Wake-up is the additional sound effects it offers, something that adds depth and calm to the overall experience. Right now I’m winding down the the relaxing sounds of a seaside shore, while waking up to the delicate yet stimulating tweets of birds; the sounds aren’t fake or intrusive, but instead help to create the perfect environment I need to leave me feeling like I’ve had a great night’s sleep. The bird sounds are particularly lovely and remind me of waking up in the Bali jungle, which is such a great experience to have from the comfort of my own bed.
ELEGANT & MODERN DESIGN
I’ve tried quite a few of these devices over the years, but this is the slickest and most elegant one I’ve ever seen – I love everything about it. The unique circular light makes it a welcome bedroom feature that just looks like a lamp, while the smart touch display means there aren’t lots of clunky buttons to worry about; the time appears using a dim orange light, so it won’t disturb you in the middle of the night, while the inclusion of a radio keeps gadgets to a minimum too. (A clear space means a clear mind.) It’s so easy to use (unlike some of the other ones I’ve bought, which have been stashed in the cupboard for being too complicated to use after a long tiring day!) and the touch screen means you don’t even have to find a button to turn it off. Bonus.
With 92% of users of Philips Wake-Up lights agreeing that it’s easier to get out of bed, these handy bedside gadgets really can make all the difference to the way you feel. During the first dark weeks of winter it’s really helped me to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day, as well as slip into sleep with ease. If you fancy giving it a go, Philips are so confident their Somneo Sleep & Wake-Up Light will help you feel refreshed that if you don’t have a grump free wake up they’ll give you your money back: that’s their Grump Free Guarantee!
Although the device isn’t cheap, an investment in your sleep can make all the difference. A refreshed, bright and focused morning is priceless, and something that you’ll be benefiting from in the months and years to come.
Philips have also partnered with renowned psychologist and founder of the Sleep School, Dr Guy Meadows, to curate the formula for the perfect wake up. I had the opportunity to meet and put my questions to him to ensure we’re all armed with the information to get the best night’s sleep and wake up grump free. Here’s what he had to say…
Is there an optimum number of hours sleep I should be aiming for each night?
“The majority of us are not getting the right amount of sleep for our biological need, so we’re waking up unrefreshed and tired. The vast majority of us need 7-8hrs, although some of us need as little as four and some need as much as ten. The easiest way to know if you need more sleep is if you’re not feeling refreshed when you wake up each morning. To resolve this, it’s as simple as making a sleep a priority in your life. We’re working longer, staying up later, watching another episode of our boxset… Chiselling out a little extra time for sleep will have a big impact and you’ll wake up feeling much more alert.”
Is there anything we can do to get back to sleep when we awake in the middle of the night?
“The first thing to understand is that it’s perfectly normal to wake up in the night. We sleep in cycles that are 90-120 minutes long and at the end of every cycle we have a brief arousal moment where we might change position or get up to go to the toilet; generally we’ll drop right off again. At around the 2am or 3am mark our sleep drives are beginning to wane and we may find our minds racing; what’s crucial is how you behave. Resting is important, but also practicing a little mindfulness by focusing on your breath will help train your brain to get back to sleep.”
Should we be aiming for a routine bedtime and wake up time?
“As humans we’re creates of habit, but we will also all have a time our body clock prefers to wake up and go to sleep. Our body clock is regulated by the rising and falling of the sun, but also our behaviour and what time we’re active. Trying to keep a regular sleep cycle is really important, as it will ensure your energy and alertness will be as high as possible. At the weekend it’s important not to stay in bed too long, not much longer than an hour, so as not to disrupt your routine and make it even harder on Monday morning!”
Are you a fan of napping?
“I’m a big fan of napping, personally and professionally! Napping is one of the most powerful natural performance enhancers; it’s a really helpful way of boosting your mid-afternoon energy and alertness levels. The ideal time to nap is between 12pm and 3pm, but keep it short (between 10 and 20 mins) as if you wake up mid-cycle you’ll feel groggy. Also, if you sleep too long it can steal the sleep drive you need later on in the day.”
When should we be putting down the coffee to ensure a great night’s sleep?
“Caffeine is the opposite to adenosine, the chemical that pushes us into sleep. That means it’s blocking the signs and sleep from occurring. We know that consuming too much caffeine will increase the time it takes to get to sleep and reduces the quality of sleep. It takes 6-12 hours for caffeine to get out of the system, so I’d advise switching to caffeine free or herbal tea anywhere after 12pm and 3pm depending upon your sensitivity.”
You can watch my full conversation with Dr Guy Meadows on the Philips Facebook page HERE.
This is a sponsored feature in partnership with Philips; all opinions and experiences my own.
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