Can smart lights help you sleep and wake better?

There are many recipes for a good night’s sleep. Soothing music or ambient noise, a relaxing drink and the obvious candidate of a good, firm, mattress. However, something relatively new is the idea of smart bedside or bedroom light. These can be programmed with a smartphone app and use low-power controllable LED lights to come on at the right time. They gently fill your room with suitable hues to simulate sunrise that helps to wake you up more naturally.

That’s especially useful in the winter nights when no one likes getting up in the dark, and the effect of a gradual “sunrise” in your room helps the body wake up in a more relaxed manner to face the day ahead. Some models also come with natural sound effects to help make waking up more pleasant, or an FM radio that will kick in when it is really time to move. Wherever you need to go in the morning, these products could help you feel a lot better about having to get out from under the duvet.

They also work in a reverse pattern at night, slowly darkening the room to help you or family members get to sleep without that sudden “lights off” moment, making them ideal for young children. Instead, a gentle transition into darkness helps the body prepare for sleep. Several companies sell specific products to achieve this effect, like the Philips Wake-Up Light. But you can buy a low-cost colour smart bulb and set it up using a smartphone app to achieve the same effect for a lot less money.

Smart technology is slowly creeping into the bedroom. There are sleep monitors that can measure the quality of your rest, ambient noise systems that can help people who have to sleep through external noise, and even pillows that come with special speakers so only the person on top of it can hear that music or radio station to wake them up. Anyone struggling with sleep might want to investigate these technologies, but as a starting point, a smart bulb or wake-up light seems like a good way to help people nod off and get up in a less stressful manner.