Wakey wakey

I am not a morning person; indeed, my circadian rhythms have been so thoroughly addled by work lately that I am probably now a close relative of the common fruit bat. Thus my delight at finding the “Light Sleeper Duvet”, a new rise-‘n-shine technology. It was created by a company called Loop.ph, but don’t hold their annoying intentionally-unpronounceable name against them; their actual product seems to be kind of cool. It’s designed to wake us up gradually by slowly glowing brighter and brighter over a 20-minute period, mimicking the slow creep of ambient sunlight at dawn. The upshot is a duvet that helps ameliorate seasonal affective disorder and jetlag, as the designers note on their site:

It is recognised by most scientists that SAD and other sleep/ mood disorders are linked to a shift in the suprachaismatic nucleus or circadian rhythm and often referred to as the ‘body clock’. It is recommended that a bright light stimulus is needed to reset the body clock everyday recognising that this controls our daily sleep/wake cycle and hormone functions. [snip] Exposure to intense artificial light suppresses the secretion of the night time hormone melatonin, and may enhance the effectiveness of serotonin and other neurotransmitters. It is believed to be the only way of shifting the circadian rhythm. Research shows that the body’s internal clock only responds to bright light at certain times of day. This peak time in normal people occurs when the circadian rhythm is in R.E.M sleep, which is approximately 1 to 2 hours before waking. This promotes the use of Light Sleeper Bedding and proves it to be one of the most effective products for treating SAD and improving well being as it synchronises our body clock each morning. The bedding is also suitable for those who keep unusual hours and who travel in helping to prevent jet lag and regulate the body clock. Our body clock responds to an imitation sunrise by accelerating the wake-up processes.

(Thanks to Rick Spence for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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