It’s no surprise that we spend a third of our lives in bed, yet it sort of catches me off guard every time I stop and think about it. As runners, we are so focused in our mileage, routines, and groups that it’s sometimes easy to forget that we should really be investing on making sure our rest and sleep is as solid as we can make it. There are so many articles and posts out there about runners needing good sleep to optimize their performance – and just generally feel better all the way around. Runner’s World has an old article that said this:
It’s during the third and fourth stages of a typical sleep cycle when a body heals itself. That’s when the human growth hormone (HGH) is released from the pituitary gland. Although it’s gotten notoriety as a performance-enhancing drug, in its natural form it plays a key role in building and repairing muscle tissue and bones, as well as acting as a catalyst for the body to use fat as fuel. Without the right amount of HGH in the blood, recovery from workouts is hindered, prolonging the time it takes the body to build a strong aerobic engine.
But what if you’re not getting to those stages appropriately? Obviously, your performance will suffer. There could be a variety of factors that contribute to lack of sleep (late night runs or diet, for example), but a lack of a good and comfortable bed is also something that could be holding you back as well.
This has come even more into play in my life over the past few years. With real-life work, managing a running blog, and having three young kids in the house, I have always found myself being sort of a night owl by necessity. But I often felt tired as soon as I woke up and knew that my running progression suffered as a result. I have made a conscious effort to commit more to rest in 2022 by attempting to get off screens as much as possible in the evenings and get myself to bed shortly after the kids are tucked in. As a result, I hope to be able to wake up earlier without as much of the grogginess, work out and start the day on the right foot instead of stumbling through life until 10am or so. But I still think there is more I can do on this front.
This is why, when we come across some items that could assist with progressing our sleep, we actually want to try them out. We know mattresses, sheets, and pajamas aren’t exactly running-related, but I feel if I can improve my comfort and sleep, even a little bit, that my days will be able to be that more positive on the back-end. We have recently been checking out a few bedside lamp items from Dekala – the Arches and Sunstone.
When it comes to thinking about ways to improve rest and sleep, a lamp is not generally where the mind first goes. When I think to what my desk lamps have looked like in my 38 year of life, they have pretty much all been something basic and cheap that do little more than provide a small amount of light so that I don’t trip on the way to the bathroom. But the Dekala Arches turns all of that on his figurative head and honestly redefines what a desk lamp could, and should, be. It also redefines, at least to me, how a runner should take care of themselves in a new and meaningful way.
Looks: First and foremost – this is a beautiful piece of lighting accenture. I find it to be a futuristic take on a desk lamp, with a curved and arched design (complete with wireless charging pad in the middle), that looks literally nothing like any desk art I have seen. Beyond its outward construction, it takes an even greater step intwo awesomeness once the lamp is turned on. The visuals, brightness, and lighting capabilities are as impressive as anything I have seen. From top to bottom, it is an piece of art.
Basics: Quick – take a look at your bedside table. I am guessing it is adorned with a variety of items and cords – perhaps an alarm clock, a lamp of some sort, likely a phone charger, and perhaps a small book light for reading in bed? The Arches literally takes all those things and puts them into one elegant design – and even expands upon them in a meaningful way.
You can set two alarms via the device or on the app – and customize them in great ways. You will not have a better desk lamp with a more diverse array of color and brightness options. Your phone can be charged wirelessly. It’s really quite amazing. Here’s a little more on these.
Having two alarms isn’t a new thing – many clocks can accommodate that. What most alarm clocks can’t do is be customized to meet and mimic more natural waking up AND winding down. The alarms can be set to include a gentle wake up with a variety of calming sounds (a gentle babbling Brook, natural valley sounds, or peaceful music) as opposed to the awful jarring sound of a blaring alarm. Simply tap the top of the device to snooze it – which can be set via the app to turn off both the light and sound, or just one or the other.
Function: Obviously, as a running blog, we are not here to review home goods. So why are we trying and embarking on a path of reviewing a desk light? Well, beyond what we mentioned in the lead-in paragraphs, this light goes way beyond just providing illumination to a room. There are some quite impressive qualities that are geared towards sleep improvement, better rest, and, thus, fitness improvement.
The 8 preset wake-up sounds can be accompanied with a gentle light to assist in more naturally getting you out of bed. On the flip side, there is also a sleep setting which can help get you ready for bed at night by providing you with any number of sounds and filling the room with calming light visuals of your choice. I have been a fan of the red light option for this reason:
“Our body is designed to boost melatonin production when exposed to RED light, it makes you feel drowsy in a completely healthy, natural way and fall asleep much eaiser and quicker. BLUE & GREEN light exposure (often comes from staring at your cell phone or computer screen) suppress your body from producing melatonin in turn to increase individual productivity and efficiency.”
Right now, I have found myself sticking with three different types of settings set up within the app:
-My “Night Light” – which I utilize to fill the room with the calming, melatonin inducing red light. I turn this on when I am getting myself ready to start relaxing to encourage this relaxation.
-My “Reading Light” – which is actually 16 million colors strong. However, as I have been trying to read more, I have set this via the app with a brighter white color to utilize for reading,
-My “Party Light” – which Dekala calls the IllumiLight. The app has 9 preset options that are beautiful and fun (including a setting that can be synced with music or a movie!). I love utilizing this one when we are just hanging out in our bedroom in the evenings.
While there are buttons on the bottom of the device, and a tapping the top of the device will change between presets, the luxury of having a relatively simple app component (that is able to be paired with a smart home device like Alexa – hence my quoted presets above) really makes it much simpler and easier. I love just being able to yell out to Alexa to turn on my “Sleep Light” after being in “Reading Light” mode.
Over the last month of trying this out, I have been pleasantly surprised with my rest. Honestly, a visual reminder to start prepping my body for the night ahead seems to have really worked wonders. I feel I am falling asleep faster as a result, and the ability to utilize sleep sounds has been extremely beneficial. I also feel like I am waking up a little more gradually and appropriately and I feel more ready for those dark cold morning runs than I have been before.
I also love that, with the sheer number of features on this clock, everything worked seamlessly and it’s a pretty quick and easy learning curve even if you are moderately tech savvy. It has been an easy transition and a welcome addition!
Now this level of customization isn’t for everyone. The Dekala Sunstone is a simpler and cheaper alternative to the Arches but has the same general idea and actually many similar specs.
While pressing or tapping the Sunstone doesn’t have the same ability to cycle between visuals, the smart app allows for the light to be changed to suit your sleep mood with multiple colors and 20 levels of brightness. There is a clock and the ability to set two alarm, and it allows for the gradual sunrise to be set (10-60 minutes) – and mimicking normal awakening in this way is very positive. The same thing can occur at night, with a sunset simulation (between 10-120 minutes) allowing you to wind down in a natural way. It also has a radio sound machine (i.e. white noise or radio if you desire) that is easily set up, as well as 7 natural alarm sound options.
If you plan to take this on the road with you (which the Arches doesn’t really allow for), the leg stands easily come off to save room and it also has 5V/2A USB slot that can be used as a power bank when there are not enough charging ports.
We are really loving our Dekala sleep lights right now and really have grown to love having them at our disposal. My wife, a skeptic about gradual wake-ups has really been impressed that she actually feels more awake in the mornings now due to a calmer wake-up process (aside from when I trip over my running shoes on the way out the door). These are both fun and extremely functional items to have in your room and, as of this review, they are on a significant sale!
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