We’re supposed to get at least seven hours of sleep each night to promote health and well-being, and experts say adolescents need eight to ten. But the CDC reports that around 35 percent of adults and almost 70 percent of high school students don’t get the recommended amount of sleep.
I am a part of that 35 percent; getting a full night of sleep is rare for me. I have trouble falling asleep, and I wake up at the slightest noise or stimuli. On top of that, it doesn’t help that my spouse snores loudly enough to wake up the whole neighborhood. There are dozens of sleep gadgets on the market, and I’ve tried almost all of them, from pillows to ear plugs to white noise machines.
Casper, the company known for luxury mattresses you can buy online, recently came out with a nightlight that’s designed to help with sleep. So when I was asked to review , I jumped on the opportunity. Here’s my hands-on review of Casper’s Glow Light.
Glow lights come in either a single-pack or a two-pack. I received a two-pack to test. When I opened the box, I found two Glow lights, two charging bases, two charging cables, and user guides.
When I lifted the first Glow light up out of the box, it illuminated. “Wow, this is cool,” I thought to myself. I started to move the light around, and the light would dim or brighten in response to my gestures. The gestures felt very intuitive — turn the glow light upside down to turn the light on or off, and rotate the light to brighten or dim.
I read the user guide, plugged in the charging bases, and paired both of the lights to the Glow app (more on that later). The setup process took about three minutes.
This is one of the sexiest nightstand lights I’ve ever laid eyes on. The modern design isn’t overly high-tech looking because of its rounded shape and off-white color when the lights are turned off. When the light is illuminated, it has a warm white aura surrounding them, which is bright enough to light up the surrounding area so you can read or converse with your partner. But it’s not so bright that it takes away from the romantic and elegant vibe.
Intelligent, but Not Smart
Made from diffused polycarbonate, each Glow light contains a 36 warm white LED array with 12 accent LEDs in amber. When you turn on a Glow light, it automatically dims over the course of a 45 minute default time. You can adjust the 45 minute time-frame in 15 minute increments to any time between 15 and 90 minutes. There is a single button on the top of the light, which allows you to pause the light’s automatic dimming and maintain it at the same brightness level.
Most of Glow’s features are gesture-controlled. You wiggle the light to wake it up and get a dim, low light. You turn it upside down to turn it on or off, you rotate it counterclockwise to dim, and you rotate it clockwise to brighten.
The light communicates with the corresponding Casper Glow app (available for iOS or Android) via Bluetooth. The app is not very feature-rich, but it does perform the included features well. In the app, you can do things like turn the lights on and off, adjust the maximum brightness, adjust the default dimming time, or assign the lights to groups so they can work in tandem.
One thing you cannot do, however, is control the lights with Alexa, Google Home, or Apple HomeKit. This means that you can’t voice-control your Glow light, nor can you add it to your bedtime routine. That’s a feature I’d love to see down the road.
A Million Uses
Although I can’t connect Casper’s Glow light to my smart home, I can do a heck of a lot with it. I took the Glow light outside in the backyard at nighttime and set it on a table, and used it as a lantern while I hung out with family and friends. I took it on a nighttime walk with my dog, and on a late night run to the mailbox.
If I wake up in the middle of the night, I can take the Glow light with me to the bathroom or to grab a drink of water. Then, I don’t have to turn on lights throughout the house and wake everyone up.
If the power goes out, the Glow light will serve as a temporary lamp. Glow lights have a decent battery life too. According to Casper, “Battery life will vary depending on usage and brightness settings. Off of the charging base, battery life can last up to a few days of regular dimming and waking. The battery will last up to 7 hours of continuous use when Glow is paused. We recommend setting up the charging base where you use Glow most (a nightstand by your bed is a great setup), and keeping your Glow on it for the majority of the time so it will be fully charged for those occasions away from your bed.”
When I tested the battery, it lasted six continuous hours on the medium brightness setting, and it lasted for two days when I turned it on a dim setting for 15 minutes out of every two hours.
One of the more exciting uses I’ve found for the Glow light for is “magic tricks.” My friend has a young child, and I astounded him with my Harry Potter-like magic skills. I shouted out made up magic words as I made the Glow light turn on and off, dim, and brighten all by moving it around.
A Few Nights of Good Sleep
Glow supposedly promotes sleep because it produces a warm hue of 2,700 K, which means it gives out little to no blue light. Blue light has been shown to disrupt to natural sleep rhythms (we should know — we asked the experts). Additionally, Glow gradually dims over a period of 15, 30, 45, 60, or 90 minutes and then turns off. The default time is 45 minutes, but you can adjust that setting in the app, or stop it from dimming using the button on the top of the light. When you turn on the Glow light before bed, it’s supposed to help you wind down and fall asleep as the light dims down to the off position.
In the morning, the reverse occurs. It starts off dim, and then it brightens to wake you up. It’s kind of like waking up to a sunrise in your bedroom. You set a time when you want the light to “wake” you.
I used the Glow light for five nights in a row, and I made sure to have no TV, music, or other distractions before bedtime. On the first three nights, I fell asleep before Glow completely turned off. While this could’ve partly been the result of a lack of distractions (no TV or music), I felt as though the Glow light did help me to relax and wind down. On the last two nights, I was still awake when the light turned off. I turned it on again, and on the second time around, I was able to fall asleep before it fully dimmed down.
When my alarm clock went off each morning at 7 a.m., I immediately woke up instead of hitting the snooze button four or five times. I awoke energized each day, and I felt as though I’d gotten a better night of sleep.
I put one of the Glow lights in my 11-year-old daughter’s room for a few nights. She doesn’t like a dark and quiet room, so she typically sleeps with classical music playing on her TV. She turns the sleep timer on her TV, so the music doesn’t play all through the night. I wanted to see how she’d do with the Glow light.
She was immediately fascinated with the gadget, performing the gestures and checking out all of the features. Over the weekend, she created a sort of “reading fort,” and read her book under her blanket with the Glow light. She still listened to her classical music before bed, but she used the Glow Light as her alarm clock. She woke up before the light reached its peak brightness.
The single Glow light costs $89, and a two-pack costs $169. That sounds expensive when you compare it to the cost of a basic night stand lamp or flashlight. However, the Glow light offers high design and added utility that most lights don’t offer.
Even if it was just a nightstand light, its sleek design takes it into a premium pricing category. A lot of premium LED lamps are much higher priced, reaching into the $200 or more range, and don’t offer the utility Glow offers. Considering it’s portable, gesture controlled, app controlled, and it has the potential to help you get a better night of rest, the $89 price tag seems reasonable. My one complaint about Glow is the lack of compatibility with Alexa and Google Home. But, even without the smart home functionality, Glow still has a lot to offer.
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