27 April 2022
Product Review: Philips Smart Lightbulb and Lightstrip#sleep tech #sleep solutions #light and sleep
It is now well-known that light is one of the essential elements in our sleep-wake cycle.
Indeed, the type of light in the environment is connected to producing different kinds of chemical compounds in our bodies.
To understand this, we can look at the diurnal variation of light. While there is more bluish light, we are more inclined to produce excitatory hormones (first and foremost cortisol).
On the other hand, during the late afternoon, when the light is reddish - hormones are linked to more relaxing effects (i.e., melatonin). Notably, the production of hormones affects our sleep-wake cycle and interacts with our mood, emotions, and feelings. In other words, the type of light surrounding us and the type and quantity of hormones produced influence our mental life.
The reasons listed above make it clear why many sleep experts recommend meticulous care in setting home lighting, particularly in the bedroom.
Not all countries can enjoy extended periods when the sun shines long into the sky, and natural light can be enjoyed constantly. Indeed, we frequently live in areas where the sun is hidden behind clouds for months at a time, making a full day of sunshine a challenging goal to achieve.
Several studies have shown that lack of exposure to the sun can cause sleep issues by desynchronizing our biological clock.
Furthermore, for sleep-deprived subjects, light can be an essential weapon against their problem. Prolonged exposure to artificial light can result in a modification of the inner clock. This way, you can change your sleep-wake cycle through periodic exposure to artificial light.
Technology tries to come to the rescue for those who cannot enjoy waking up to the natural rays of the sun and those who do not have a productive sleep-wake cycle. Indeed, the Philips smart led bulb we are reviewing allows the user to set the on/off time and the intensity and colour of the light itself. Specifically, we are talking about the latest version of Philips Hue White and Colour Ambient Lightstrip Plus, and Philips Hue Smart Bulb White & Colour Ambiance B22 LED.
The new Philips technology allows the user to control the set-up of both products via Bluetooth, using the user-friendly Hue BT app.
Therefore, this review will answer the question: can the Philips Hue Light Bulb help improve sleep? What functions can help us create the perfect environment for falling asleep peacefully and waking up feeling energised?
Let’s explore these led lights for bedroom together.
Both the products are ready-to-use, and the packages are compact and user-friendly.
Inside the box, you will find:
- a power supply,
- a connector,
- the light stripe,
- a power cable,
- and then some instructions.
The stripe will automatically light up after connecting the power supply to the light (using the connector and the power cable).
The content of the light bulb package is way more simple. You will find:
- the light bulb
- the user guide.
Once you have plugged the light bulb inside the lamp-holder and turned the switch on, the light will automatically turn on.
Changing colour lights for bedroom
As explained above, preparing the two products for use is very simple and using them is even simpler. Indeed, thanks to the presence of the in-built Bluetooth, it is no longer necessary to buy a bridge to connect the different lamps and control them all together.
All you need to do is to install the official Philips application called “Hue BT”. Afterwards, you can use your mobile phone to control all your lights and decide on your favourite light setting. Notably, the application is available on both the Apple Store and Google Play Store.
Far from just a marginal detail, the application appears essential for an immersive product experience. It has a genuinely remarkable user experience. It’s very intuitive, and even the less tech-savvy will be able to use it without much difficulty.
The application provides access to several valuable commands.
- Firstly, you can control the colour of the lights separately or together. In other words, you can change the colour of the different products at a time or all at the same time.
- Moreover, selecting the desired intensity and your favourite colour through a palette of RBG colours will allow you to choose even the most delicate shades among almost millions of colours.
- Another great option that can be of great value for everyone suffering from disturbed sleep is the Wake-up and Go-to-sleep functions. We will speak about the first one in the next paragraph.
Let’s now analyse the importance of the Go-to-sleep feature. This function can satisfy those who can follow a reasonably precise sleep schedule and those whose sleep habits are not very fixed.
For the former, it is possible to enter the time the light will start to dim and the length of time the light must go out entirely. Those who do not have very fixed sleeping habits can click on the icon before bed. This option will ensure that the light gradually decreases until it turns off completely.
As a sleep expert, I can say that this function can help many people with sleep problems. In particular, many people find it difficult to fall asleep with the lights completely off. Other people, fewer in number but experiencing significant discomfort, suffer from real phobias linked to the absence of light in their room – such as nyctophobia.
The solution of sleeping with the lights on, however, is not very helpful. Studies have shown that sleeping with the lights on can destroy the quality and quantity of sleep. Philipps’ solution can ensure that these subjects fall asleep with the light on and sleep with the light off without having their rest disrupted.
Finally, you can also choose from a range of pre-set Philips themes. I think this is where the smart lamps from Philips come into their own. For instance, there are numerous fancy shades of colours that you can select. Remarkably, some of these options have been developed to improve our waking up and help us fall asleep more easily.
The four pre-set sleep-related light styles of the Philips smart bulb and stripe are Energize, Concentrate, Read, and Relax. These light frequencies aim to create an environment that can activate our nervous system, stimulate it when we first wake up and relax it when it is time to sleep. So, with a single purchase, you have lights you can use for almost any occasion: from creating a unique atmosphere to having perfect bedroom reading lights.
It is not by chance that Philipps positioned these light shapes on the curve representing the human daily cortisol production. Cortisol is a so-called stress hormone. It is produced as soon as we wake up, and its concentration in our bodies regularly decreases during the day. The crucial functions of cortisol are:
Interestingly, cortisol follows a secretion pattern opposite to the famous sleep-related hormone melatonin. Indeed, the melatonin increases during the night and regularly decreases during the morning.
To let you understand the purpose of buying these two products, let me explain a little about myself. I was born and raised in a Mediterranean country with a typical mild and sunny climate. I have been living in northern Europe for years now. I will now say a banality: here, the days in which clouds hide the sun are more numerous than when the sky is clear.
Even though I enjoy the dark greyness of northern landscapes, I miss being gently woken up by the sun's rays that filter through the shutters and colour and envelop the entire room. This is the best way of waking up: gradually and without shock.
The standard alarm clocks that use sound to wake are called sound-based alarm clocks. When using these devices, we may suffer sleep inertia, we can feel sluggish, odd, and not at our best.
On the other hand, using light to wake up may make us feel more awake, improve our mood, and improve our memory and focus throughout the day.
The first idea to test these products was precisely this. My bedroom is constituted in such a way that the windows are in front of the bed. So, the sun’s rays (when there are) rise slowly and, at about 8 o’clock in the summer, hit the bed in the top part, where the pillows are.
I have located the LED strip behind the bedpost and set the alarm for 7:30 am. Afterwards, I placed the light bulb on the bedside table.
The idea was to mimic the sun's rays. I knew that the next day would be cloudy. The experience on the following day left me happily surprised. The pre-set light tone I chose mimicked the warm, enveloping spring sun very well.
The light gradually increases in intensity until it reaches its peak. Being a Sunday, I had no alarm clock set, and the mere presence of this light in the room through the window was able to gently and smoothly wake me up.
Afterwards, I used the Philips bulb and stripe with another purpose. This time I wanted to try out the effects of the more bluish light (energise and concentrate function). If you still don’t know the importance of blue light concerning sleep, visit our dedicated page (link:).
Theoretically, exposure to a bright and bluish light shortly after waking up increases energy and helps us get out of bed faster. It should also avoid the typical feeling of discomfort that characterises many mornings.
This time I tried it during a home-office working day. The colour tone of this light is less white and bluer than the previous one. (add experiences and personal considerations regarding these two modes).
The set-up was similar to the previous one. The only difference is that I placed the bulb near the bed so it would also light up my face when it started to light up. Honestly, the feeling of being woken up by white light is much less comfortable than being woken up by a warmer one. Nevertheless, I could perceive the effects promised by the shades preselected by Philipps.
I used this shade of light while eating breakfast and making the bed. Once I finished my morning routine, I sat at my desk and changed the light shade from energising to focusing. The difference between the two isn’t much, but it’s still noticeable.
I can’t say that I felt a greater sense of concentration. Still, this light tone is more pleasant than standard lights for reading, studying and working.