We've expanded our Philips Hue setup into the Bedroom. Smart Lighting in the bedroom can let you use light to help you go to sleep at night, and help you wake up in the morning. Here, I explore some of the ways you can use Philips Hue to achieve this.
When it comes to sleep, I'm pretty rubbish at keeping regular bedtimes. I'm equally poor at waking up in the morning. The two are I'm sure related, but being a techy type, I'll do anything to find technological solutions!
Smart lighting is an area that -potentially- could help. The idea is fairly simple. By setting up your lights to fade out gradually in the evening, and fade back in again in the morning, you get a simulated dusk / dawn effect. This can be a more relaxing way to fall asleep vs just plunging yourself into darkness. It can also help stir you from your slumber in the morning, particularly during times of the year when your alarm might be going off before the sun has risen, and it's still dark.
It might also be useful for shift workers, desiring that simulated disk / dawn effect to help them optimise their sleep patterns as best they can.
With Philips Hue, I've so far explored three approaches;
Native App: The Philips Hue app includes a 'Wake up' and 'Go to Sleep' routine that you can setup. You turn on the days and times that you'd like this to happen, and the fade duration. For the 'Wake Up' routine you're setting the time you'd like the fade to have completed. For 'Go To Sleep' you're choosing the time you'd like the fade to begin.
You can setup multiple routines. Handy for households with more than one bedroom where Hue is installed.
Hue Labs: Hue have added additional functionality if you use their 'Prepare me to go to Sleep' and 'Personal Wake up' Formulas in Hue Labs.
'Prepare me to go to sleep' Adds the ability to use a button on a tap switch, or setup a virtual button to initiate the fade-out. This is handy for people who don't have (or want) a set bed time. You can also choose a starting brightness, whether to adjust to a warmer colour during the fade, and whether you'd like to leave the lights on as a night light when the fade is done.
'Personal Wake up' adds functions too, including the ability to choose between a relaxed or 'power' wake-up, control over the maximum brightness at the end of the fade, and whether to have the lights turn back off again after a set period.
Third Party Apps: Some third party alarm clock apps are integrating with smart lighting systems. I use an app called 'Sleep Cycle' It monitors your sleep, and wakes you up inside a pre-set time 'window' that you define, picking the best time for the alarm to sound for the 'easiest' wake-up.
By enabling the built-in Hue integration, the lights begin to fade out when you turn on the alarm clock in the evening, accelerating to 'fully off' if the app detects that you're asleep. In the morning, the fade-in begins at the start of your chosen wake-up window, accelerating to 'fully on' when the app detects it's the best time to sound the alarm.
In all three cases, you can of course choose which room, and which lights are included.
All in all, these mechanisms provide a great way to use light to help with better quality sleep. Whether it actually makes a difference is a bit subjective. Will I feel more refreshed in the morning? Will I get better quality sleep? I'd probably need an actual sleep study to determine real results!
In the meantime, I'll probably keep using the Hue Labs formula for the time being. They seems to have the most flexibility of the above three approaches.
I guess it's something to keep thinking about over time. I'm especially keen to see if it helps me wake up in the Winter months when mornings can be rather dark, and waking up a tad harder!