Dawn simulation: Review of the Lumie Bodyclock Sunray

The Lumie Bodyclock Sunray is the starter model in the Lumie dawn simulator range, and I had one five years ago.  At that time they were being sold with 60W incandescent candle bulbs with a slight lavender tinge to the glass, which counteracted the natural yellowness of incandescents to produce a whiter light.  They’re now being sold with dimmable 42W halogen candle bulbs, and quite right too.  This bulb is meant to be equivalent to 60W incandescent but in my experience is more like 75W, and produces a pleasing warm light which is a little whiter than an incandescent.  That said, the main reason why I finally sold my Bodyclock on eBay is because by the time the light is shining through the plastic shell, it was too dim for me to find it comfortable to read by.  I decided to go for a dawn simulator which could be plugged into a lamp of my choice, and am very glad that I did so as I found the extra features useful in addition to being able to use my own lamp.  Nevertheless, the Bodyclock is still a nice little all-in-one dawn simulator.

At 18 x 14 x 18cm, this is quite small for a bedside lamp.  Perhaps this is one reason why I had trouble reading by it: the light wasn’t high up enough.  It’s fairly lightweight at 730g, and to my mind feels somewhat flimsy, although it held up well enough over a year or so of occasional use.  The entire case is made of plastic and looks rather cheap, especially the top part when the light is not on.  To be honest, I’ve yet to see an all-in-one dawn simulator which is a thing of beauty, but this is definitely one of the uglier ones in the Lumie range, if that is something which bothers you.

While I found that it did its job perfectly well, I notice that a number of Amazon reviewers have had problems with the build quality or have found faults appearing.  Such sites usually have a disproportionate number of negative reviews, but this is still something to bear in mind.  I do feel that for the money you’re shelling out, the quality could be better.  I’ve always found Lumie to be very helpful and they were great when I needed to return my Desklamp, though, so I’m sure their customer service would be good if a product was faulty.

But as I said, it does the job pretty well.  You can have a sunrise or a sunset and both are preset to be 30 min, which is the most popular length of time for dawn simulation to be effective.  I don’t know how many people prefer a different length of time.  I’ve learnt that I do through long experimentation, but hey, I’m fussy.  The Bodyclock always did a perfectly good job of getting me up in the morning, and as ever with dawn simulation, it was very pleasant to wake up to.  I seem to recall that the back-up alarm sound made an acceptable enough beep, which is one advantage it has over my Sunrise System, whose beep is so horrible I turned it off.

While its simplicity gives you fewer options, it does make it very easy to use.  As far as I can remember, there was only one setting for wake-up time, as opposed to being able to set different times for each day of the week.  The clock is green numbers on a black background, which shows up fairly well without giving off as much light as a black-on-green display, and is thus less likely to disrupt sleep.  It was, as I recall, fairly easy to use as a dimmable bedside light.

This is the cheapest all-in-one dawn simulator by a reputable manufacturer that I know, and while I have several gripes about it, it’s still a very useful product and I don’t think it’s worth spending a fortune just to get something a bit prettier.  Indeed, Lumie have brought out another starter model that is the same spec and usually the same price, but looks a little better.  It’s not as if the other manufacturers have made their dawn simulators  particularly attractive anyway.  In fact, some of them look worse!  If you want more functionality, for instance being able to use more than one lamp, have a brighter light, the ability to set different wake-up times throughout the week or a different length of time for the dawn/dusk simulation, try a Sunrise System SRS100.

There’s a kids’ version of this Bodyclock which has the shapes of a moon and stars cut out, so that the light forms pretty shapes on the wall and ceiling, and which also has an optional fade-to-nightlight function.  I’ve not seen it in person, but I think that these extra touches transform something that was rather clumsy into something charming.  While I would generally recommend using yellow light bulbs for a baby’s bedroom at night, especially for night feeds, incandescent bulbs produce very little blue light when they’re set on very dim, and it’s a good compromise.  Simplicity is also important in such a setting, and I doubt that your average baby will want to tweak the settings in order to have a lie-in on weekends.

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4 Comments on “Dawn simulation: Review of the Lumie Bodyclock Sunray”

  1. I have the Sunrise System Aurora, bought in 2005. One pretty much needs an engineering degree to set the dang thing, which one must every time there’s been a power outage, like just this last week. It said Sunday Feb 9: right month, right date, wrong week day. I got the weekday to read Tuesday, but by then the date was set to Feb 7. At least this time it remembered my daily settings.

    It’s a cozy companion if one happens to wake up while it is “sunrising”. But it would never in the world awaken me: I need clock radio, 3 spotlights on a timer and at least 2 alarm clocks for that.

    It only works with a lamp with an old-fashioned light bulb, maximum 60W.

  2. Aurora must be a name some reseller slapped on it, it’s not what the manufacturers call it. I think it’s the SRS100? That’s the one I have. I find it fairly easy to set, actually, compared to the insane complexities of the GoLite, but it is tedious having to go through all the options just to change one thing. I reckon they should have a couple of extra buttons that are just for the dawn/dusk simulation, so that it doesn’t get peculiar when you just want to turn your light up or down without getting tangled up in it. I’m actually in the throes of writing a review of this, it’ll be up soon.

    I’d recommend getting a surge protector for that, by the way. Mine developed a couple of odd minor habits, and when I sent it off to the manufacturer for repair, they said it had been due to a power surge some time. They have great customer service, I got a whole new dawn simulator (with the latest software, they tweak things from time to time) because they felt it was too far gone to repair, even though it was well out of the guarantee period. I think it cost £15 plus P&P for the repair/replacement. Yours sounds a bit faulty to me, maybe you should do the same? Which country are you in? Morning Sunrise are based in the UK, but they might have a branch abroad. They will be able to upgrade the software at the very least.

    Incidentally, are you sure it only takes up to 60W? They’re increased the maximum, but certainly a few years ago it was 100W, though maybe it was 60W back in 2005. You can use those energy-saving halogen incandescent bulbs in there , and while the 42W halogen incandescent is meant to replace a 60W standard incandescent, in my experience they’re actually a bit brighter than advertised, plus the light is a better colour (whiter without being cold). I’ve not personally encountered one yet, but Osram at least do a 52W (75W equivalent – bet it’s more than that, though) which would work. This is if you want stronger light, of course. I had a standard 60W incandescent in my bedside light for the dawn simulator before, but now I have a 28W (40W equivalent) on my side of the bed, and a fairly dim light on my partner’s side, and to my surprise am perfectly happy with these. The 60W had been a bit bright for reading by, it’s an angle poise lamp turned to the wall, and the 28W halogen is just right for me.

  3. I got mine from Sweden but I think they are represented here in Norway now. There’s no number on it but now I see that I got “Aurora” from the French part of the instruction book 🙂 ; in English it’s just Dawn Simulator.

    As to the light bulb, it says “to the recommended wattage for your lamp,” so I was remembering that one wrong. However, it does say “Use ONLY normal tungsten light/lamp bulbs… Do NOT use power saving bulbs or non standard bulbs…” May the firm have modernized in the last 5 years?

    BTW about f.lux I intended to mention that they claim to work up to 65 degrees N, but I can only get it to 59.99. If you’re in UK, you’re probably south of that anyway (unless maybe if you’re in Shetland).

    BTW have you heard the one about the British soldier serving in the Northern Isles during WWII? Applying for leave he had to fill in the name of the nearest RR station. Should surely have written Thurso, but he wrote Stavanger (which at that time was occupied by Germany).

  4. Norway? Are you the person on the Talk About Sleep forum by any chance?

    The new dimmable halogen incandescent bulbs weren’t around five years ago, and the dawn simulator companies have only just started recommending them. Both Lumie and Morning Sunrise are now supplying them with their dawn simulators and selling them separately, at an extortionate price as I recall. You can now get dimmable fluorescents as well, so I rang Morning Sunrise to ask if they were suitable. They said they haven’t tried those out yet, but they’ve considered it and they reckon they’re probably not suitable.

    I’m at 55 degrees, it seems. I doubt you’d want to mimic the nightfall patterns of much further north than that anyway.

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