Is waking up with dawn simulation easier? (Lumie Bodyclock Starter 30 review)

Posted in Wellbeing
on October 22, 2017

2 years ago, for Christmas, I asked for a Lumie light because I was having a stupidly hard time getting up in the morning, and I’d heard that they helped. I got a Lumie Bodyclock Starter 30 and, long story short, it has helped me. But that would be a fairly uninformative post, so I’ll tell you a little more, shall I?

Why would dawn simulation help me wake up better?

You’ve probably seen these kind of lights around. The type I have is just aimed at helping people wake up a little easier, using what’s called ‘dawn simulation’. But some are actually targeted as therapy for people experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)[1].

To understand how and why these lights seem to work, we need to talk about circadian rhythms.

If you don’t know already, you can think of your circadian rhythm as a kind of sleep/wake cycle; a pattern of biological processes and functions that fluctuate during the day and tell us when we should be preparing for sleeping and waking. Although this is all happening inside our bodies, our circadian rhythms are influenced by external cues like light and temperature. For example, many hormones ‘reset’ themselves in the morning during dawn-light hours.

The other thing to be aware of, is that there are 2 types of sleep. There’s the slow wave NREM sleep, and there’s the more active REM sleep. Naturally, we’re supposed to wake up during a more active sleep state, rather than the slow wave type.

Apparently, when we wake up abruptly during slow wave sleep (i.e. when our alarm goes off and we’re rudely jolted awake), it can cause sleep inertia[2].

Sleep inertia is kind of like that groggy feeling you experience when you first wake up, and you can’t seem to walk properly, and you can’t say anything other than “URRRR”, and you accidentally put your phone in the fridge and the jam in your dressing gown pocket. True story.

Now, I don’t know if I’ve been waking up during NREM sleep or not. I don’t use sleep tracking apps, or anything like that. But, I do know that I feel really lethargic and clumsy for most of the day when I’ve struggled to wake up in the morning. You know how it is.

And, I’ve noticed that I struggle with this way more during the latter half of the year, as the mornings become increasingly dark.

So, thinking about all of this, it isn’t super surprising that simulating dawn-light can make it easier to wake up [3], because light is one of the cues our body uses to ‘set’ our sleep/wake cycle.

The Lumie Bodyclock STARTER 30

Lumie is a company that have been making lights to treat SAD since 1991. The clocks are actually certified medical devices, and they supply the NHS.

My Bodyclock is one of Lumie’s wake-up lights, and it’s designed to wake me up gradually with a simulation of natural daylight that increases in intensity and brightness. In theory, this produces a biological signal for my body to start the wake cycle.

We know sleep is crazy important. It affects everything from cognitive function, energy, productivity, mood, hunger, and social function. Hopefully, then, waking up naturally would at least help keep all of those things in a nice, happy, regulated harmony.


What I like about the Bodyclock is that you can customise how you use it. There is an optional alarm beep and a snooze feature, neither of which I need to use right now, but some people might love.

I personally use just the 30 minute ‘sunrise’ feature which gradually increases the light intensity for half an hour before you want to wake up. However, you can also choose to use the sunset feature which helps you wind down before sleep, again, for 30 minutes.

You can actually just use it as a dimmable bedside light, which is great if you get up during the night and don’t want the full instant bright glow of a normal light.

I need to get up at the same time every weekday, so it’s really easy for me to use. Once my time is set, I just press the button on the clock before I go to bed each night to activate my sunrise for the next morning.

I wake up to a room full of seemingly natural sunlight. There’s even a sunray effect which is really cute and makes me smile when I look at it.

Honestly, I don’t use the clock all year round, only during the months where the mornings are darker and it’s much harder for me to get up.

Since using the Bodyclock, I have felt more refreshed and ‘with it’ during the whole day. I’m less clumsy in the mornings, I feel alert when I wake up, as opposed to groggy and tired like when I wake up with my phone alarm.

Whilst I can’t speak for experience of SAD, I do think this device would really help people who generally have winter blues. As an alarm clock, it isn’t cheap, but if you think of it more as a device that’s going to benefit your mood and general health, it’s well worth it in my opinion.

Do you think a Lumie light would help you in the mornings? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

This post is not sponsored, all opinions are my own. However, I may earn a small commission from products purchased through some of these links, at no additional cost to you.

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  • Merkitty

    I always wondered if these are any good. I guess if you need to get up at a certain time then a Lumie light would be fantastic.

    October 23, 2017 at 10:52 Reply
    • North

      Yeah I’ve certainly found it helps!

      October 23, 2017 at 18:18 Reply
  • Kelly Louise

    This is something I will certainly look into buying after reading your post. I find it so much harder to wake up in the winter months especially with how dark the mornings are and I have to be up at half 4. I really need something that helps. 💕

    November 4, 2017 at 14:07 Reply
    • North

      Half 4! Wow! I really hope it helps you if you do buy one, I really notice the difference when I don’t use it x

      November 4, 2017 at 15:00 Reply
  • RTB

    This is a really useful, informative post. Thank you for linking me to it. 🙂 x

    November 12, 2017 at 17:53 Reply
    • North

      Thank you for reading and for your comment, I’m glad you found it useful! x

      November 13, 2017 at 13:32 Reply
  • Barefoot

    Hiya! Looking into investing into a sunrise alarm clock so your review was super helpful! I was wondering is the picture in this post show its full brightness?

    December 27, 2017 at 16:27 Reply
    • North

      Hi! Thanks for commenting, I’m really glad you found it useful.
      The very top picture shows the clock at about 3/4 brightness. I know that’s kind of hard to imagine but, when it’s at full brightness, it will light up my entire room, much like a good bedside lamp. It certainly isn’t as strong/bright as your main ceiling light would be, but it’s a more ‘natural’ looking light, if that makes sense? So, even though it is bright, it isn’t overpowering.
      Hope that helps!

      December 28, 2017 at 13:07 Reply

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