I first ran this review back in November 2015, but as I am still using the Iris every single day and we have since added the Active 250 to our collection, I felt it was time to refresh it a little. Before I get into the joys of the Iris 500 I thought I’d share a little project Lumie are working on with Leeds University.
Leeds University Switches on Lumie Lights for Light Cafe #leedslightcafe
Light therapy specialist Lumie is supplying the lights for a light cafe running from 9th to 19th January at Leeds University Union. Now in its third year, the café provides an alternate revision space which is designed to improve students’ health and wellbeing. The lights will also be used in meditation and yoga workshops that will compliment the café experience.
January is traditionally a low point in the academic year as students face the stress of exams and winter depression which, due to the lack of exposure to natural light, is at its worst. A 2015 report confirmed a rapid increase in demand for counselling, with one institution seeing an annual increase of more than 50%. This analysis, published at the start of the 2015/16 academic year, showed mental health problems on campus had ‘increased dramatically’ in recent years, rising from about 8,000 to 18,000 in the four years to 2012-13.
Lumie lights are available in both a revision and relaxation room to provide a boost to mood and energy. Lumie bright lights emit a much higher light intensity or lux (the amount of visible light a person receives at a given point) than standard lighting to provide typically 10,000 lux compared to 500 lux for a well-lit office. This exposure to light stimulates the brain to produce more serotonin, a hormone that positively affects your mood, and less melatonin which makes you feel sleepy.
Light therapy provides relief for anyone on the winter blues spectrum, from those who experience a drop in their mood and energy to those with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) who are so badly affected that it disrupts their ability to manage their daily routine. Even if you’re not affected by the winter, sitting with a bright light will make you feel more alert and energetic at any time of day. Typically, 30-60 minutes is enough to realise the benefits and the therapy is cumulative so it doesn’t have to be taken in one sitting.
“Well-being is a priority here at Leeds University Union, something that we’re particularly conscious of this time of year with the stress of exams and assignments on top of other worries this time of year. With an increase in students accessing support for their mental health, we’re excited to be able to provide the Lumie light space again to give students a safe space in which to promote their well-being”
Jess Reed, Student Welfare Officer, Leeds University Union.
“We can use light at any time of day to acutely boost our mood, level of alertness and ability to perform cognitive tasks. In the winter when our environmental light levels are at their lowest, using a light box while studying or in the morning when we wake up is an effective way to ensure we get enough light. Simply using a bright light box for 15-30 min can have a positive effect.”
Dr Victoria Revell, Circadian Rhythm Expert, Surrey University.
Specific Lumie products in use:
Lumie Brazil – a powerful light box for optimum SAD treatment; delivers 10,000 lux at 35 cms and typically treats SAD symptoms in 30 minutes – this is the product that will also be used in the yoga classes to take place at Leeds University Union
Lumie Desklamp – a desk light and natural energy booster in one; uses 96 blue-enriched white LEDs and treats SAD symptoms in 30 minutes with the diffuser detached
Lumie Arabica – a simple but effective lightbox that delivers 10,000 lux at 25 cm and treats SAD symptoms in 30-60 minutes
Lumie Iris 500 Bodyclock
In addition to the natural sunrise and sunset functions you would expect from a Lumie the Iris 500 also has an aromatherapy option as well as a host of other great features.
Lets start with the basics, the Lumie Bodyclock has a fading sunset to help you naturally unwind at bedtime. You can go to bed whilst it is still on brightly and it will gradually gets darker and darker which naturally makes you feel drowsy and drift off. I have found this particularly good whilst I’m reading a book (not e-book, the bright light from that destroys the whole thing), I have also found it handy for those evenings when husb goes off to bed before me, which with a heap of deadlines and a toddler who is awake during the day happens more often than I would like, but he can leave the light on it’s lowest setting meaning I can creep into bed then use the remote turn it off.
In the morning the opposite happens, with the light gradually brightening, readying your body for activity. Wake-up lights help to keep your sleep cycle on track, boosting mood, energy and productivity levels all day. I’ll be honest, my husband loves this, a lot more than me. For me I find the difference in our schedules can make it a bit irritating at times, for example if I have worked until midnight and managed to get to sleep by 1am I tend to not be overly appreciative of my room being lit up by 6am, especially if by some miracle L has slept in, but that just proves it works because there I am awake and to be fair it is far better than being jolted awake by an alarm, it just means I don’t tend to get back to sleep.
Now on top of this inside the main body of the light are two little jars, one for the morning and one for the evening which you get to fill with water and a few drops of essential oil to further aid the sleeping and waking. I have gone for the classic Lavender for the evenings, Lavender always help to relax me so no matter how stressed out I am and how awake I may feel I get to go to bed and start to feel soothed straight away. Even if Husb has gone to bed before me, the scent still fills the room. In the mornings I’ve been a little more adventurous and gone for a mix of Lemon, Peppermint and Grapefruit, not only are the scents classic get up and go material, it’s why you find them in shower gel after all, but the combination makes my room smell delightful!
It was really easy to set up, we didn’t even need the instructions manuals for the basic settings, I did have to refer to it for the more complex functions but generally it is really straight forward, the remote control is a brilliant idea as clearly you can only put the unit on one side of the bed, the remote means both people can operate the clock without disturbing the other. It also means that if you can’t have your clock on a bedside table and it has to be out of reach, we’ve had several homes in which this was the case, it just doesn’t matter. You can only operate the basic functions from the remote, like the light level, starting the sunset function etc but that’s all you need it for.
There are lots of highly personalisable functions, for example both the sunrise and sunsets can be set to 15, 20, 30, 45, 60 or 90-minutes. Generally we opt for 45 minutes but the 90 can be useful when only one off is going to bed straight away and the 15 minute one is great when I am that exhausted I know I need to go to sleep quickly, even if my mind is saying no.
The aromatherapy chambers for sunset and sunrise oils are easily removed for cleaning, refilling or changing your chosen oils. You can also choose whether you have a continuous or intermittent diffusion.
The sunset, sunrise and aromatherapy have a huge range of options, the intensity van be chosen, the duration as mentioned above and you can even set up a 7-day programme, handy if you don’t own a toddler and can lay in at the weekend! These functions can be used together or independently, it takes a little bit to get it set up just as you want, but once you are there it is really worth it.
It has a nightlight feature if you like to have something on during the evenings, I actually don’t but this would have been super handy when L was little and I was up and down a lot, I ended up putting my bedside lamp under the bed with a muslin over it, this was the only way to get a light dim enough that I could sleep but bright enough I didn’t fall over things in my sleepy state!
As you would expect from an alarm it has a snooze feature and it also has back up options like an audible alarm, which is great for the summer when your room may already be bright so the sunrise may not be so noticeable and it also has a power failure back up so you don’t have to worry about your alarm not working if there has been a power cut during the night.
One of my favourite and least expected features is the security option to turn on the light randomly while you’re away! How fabulous!
With a price tag of £160 it is not a cheap alarm clock, but it is not supposed to be, well thought out and well designed at every turn this is an enhancement to your whole day, designed to actually make you feel better, more rested, happier and it actually works. This is a luxury item and I get that a lot of you, myself included have other things to spend that money on, but what I would say is that if you can afford it, it is a luxury worth having.
All in all this is a very well put together bit of kit, with bundles of extra features that do not detract from it’s basic function as an alarm clock, a function that works incredibly well. It looks beautiful, is easy to use and is generally just awesome at it’s job.
Disclosure – This is a collaborative post and I was sent my clock in order to provide my open and honest opinion