The Tiny Light-Therapy Lamp That Makes Waking Up Before Sunrise a Lot Easier

Lampu from Circadian Optics
Lampu from Circadian Optics
Circadian Optics

Millions of Americans will have their biological clocks disrupted when Daylight Saving Time starts on Sunday, March 10 this year. You may not be able to get back that hour of lost sleep or avoid commuting to work before sunrise, but you can invest in a light therapy lamp that replicates the effects of the Sun on your desk.

Circadian Optics makes bright light lamps designed to regulate users' circadian rhythms, and the company's latest model packs a big punch in a little package. At 3.5-inches-by-3.5-inches and weighing just 9.6 ounces, the palm-sized Luxy is the world's smallest light therapy lamp, according to Circadian Optics. And it's here to keep you alert even if you have to wake up long before sunrise.

Your circadian rhythm dictates when you get tired at night and when you wake up in the morning, and it's influenced by light. Seeing bright, short-wavelength light first thing in the morning tells your brain to wake up, giving you the energy needed to start your day.

Ideally, your circadian rhythm would sync naturally with the rising and setting sun, but modern work schedules don't always make this possible. If you need to wake up before the sun does, a light box can be a replacement for natural morning light. In fact, exposing yourself to light for 15 minutes to an hour at the same time everyday can help train your body to wake up when you want it to.

A Luxy light therapy lamp from Circadian Optics
Luxy from Circadian Optics
Circadian Optics

That's where the Luxy comes in. It folds easily into a bag so you can bring it with you to the office on mornings when you have trouble keeping your eyes open, and comes with a USB power cord that plugs directly into the back of your computer. It's simple to operate, with just a single button that turns the light on and adjusts it through three levels of brightness. And even though its size means you can use it discreetly in an open office, the light is still bright enough to make you feel alert at 9 a.m. on a Monday.

Luxy emits 10,000 lux of full spectrum LED light—the intensity recommended for treating seasonal affective disorder—with a color temperature of 5500K. The result is a bright a white light that mimics the color of the noontime sun. (It's 99.9 percent UV filtered, so it's safe for your eyes.) The bulbs are designed to last 50,000 hours, much longer than regular fluorescents.

Even though they're therapy products, Circadian Optics lamps are built to look beautiful on your desk or bedside table, and the petite Luxy is just the beginning. The company also makes several other models designed to fit in with any aesthetic. The Lampu, for instance, is a minimalist, disc-shaped white lamp inspired by the sun, while the Lattis acts as a an accent piece, with a light panel built into the black, mod design. Each produces the same intense light as the Luxy.

Buy them on Amazon, with prices starting at $40 for the Luxy and and going up to $65 for the Lampu. As of March 8, Amazon is also offering an extra $10 off coupon for the Luxy, so it's a good time to buy.

And if you're still worried about recovering from Daylight Saving Time this year, here are some tips for navigating the time change.

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This Convenient, Comfortable Travel Pillow Doesn’t Wrap Around Your Neck

Manuel-F-O/iStock via Getty Images
Manuel-F-O/iStock via Getty Images

If an angry bit of airplane turbulence has recently whammed your forehead into the window, you probably have the bruises to prove that sleeping on the go can be a dangerous game. Though neck pillows can offer some security, not everyone’s a fan—some people can’t sleep totally upright, some don’t think it provides enough support, and others simply don’t like the feeling of a plush toilet seat curled around their necks.

For those people, there’s the Ostrich Pillow Mini, a tiny, oblong pillow into which you slip your hand, forearm, or elbow, depending on what’s most comfortable for you. It will stay in place and protect your head from airplane turbulence in a way that no balled-up, threadbare hoodie ever could, but it’s not just for those lucky winners (or purchasers) of window seats. You can use the pillow wherever you might be inclined to rest your head on top of your arms, including plane or train trays, piles of library books, and office desks. One Amazon customer even used the pillows as elbow pads to protect himself from unforgivingly hard arm rests.

Ostrich pillow mini
Amazon

Since the Ostrich Pillow Mini essentially works as an extension of your arm, you don’t have to stay stone-still while you sleep. As Travel + Leisure’s Claudia Fisher puts it, “Sometimes, I even wake up from a nap to discover I’ve shifted in my sleep but brought my little arm pillow with me to support my head in its new spot.”

In addition to its main opening, the pillow has two other holes. One is a small, finger-sized opening through which you slide your thumb if you’re keeping the pillow on your hand. The other is a larger hole at the other end, through which you slide your hand if you want the pillow to stay on your forearm or elbow.

Ostrich pillow mini
Amazon

It’s compact enough that you can easily fit it into your carry-on bag, backpack, or briefcase, and understated enough that you can power nap in public without drawing attention to yourself. The outer layer is light gray, and the inner layer comes in Midnight Grey, Blue Reef, or Sleepy Blue. You can order it for $35 from Amazon.

Check out some other ways to make flying more comfortable here.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don’t return, so we’re only happy if you’re happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

Attention Movie Geeks: Cinephile Is the Card Game You Need Right Now

Cinephile/Amazon
Cinephile/Amazon

If you’ve got decades worth of movie trivia up in your head but nowhere to show it off, Cinephile: A Card Game just may be your perfect outlet. Created by writer, art director, and movie expert Cory Everett, with illustrations by Steve Isaacs, this game aims to test the mettle of any film aficionado with five different play types that are designed for different skill and difficulty levels.

For players looking for a more casual experience, Cinephile offers a game variety called Filmography, where you simply have to name more movies that a given actor has appeared in than your opponent. For those who really want to test their knowledge of the silver screen, there’s the most challenging game type, Six Degrees, which plays like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, with the player who finds the fewest number of degrees between two actors getting the win.

When you choose actors for Six Degrees, you’ll do so using the beautifully illustrated cards that come with the game, featuring Hollywood A-listers past and present in some of their most memorable roles. You’ve got no-brainers like Uma Thurman in Kill Bill (2003) and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Total Recall (1990) alongside cult favorites like Bill Murray from 2004's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and Jeff Goldblum in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984). Of course, being a game designed for the true film buff, you’ll also get some deeper cuts like Helen Mirren from 1990’s The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover and Sean Connery in 1974's Zardoz. There are 150 cards in all, with expansion packs on the way.

Cinephile is a labor of love for Everett and Isaacs, who originally got this project off the ground via Kickstarter, where they raised more than $20,000. Now it’s being published on a wider scale by Clarkson Potter, a Penguin Random House group. You can pre-order your copy from Amazon now for $20 before its August 27 release date.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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