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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8 Great Gifts for People Who Work From Home

A growing share of Americans work from home, and while that might seem blissful to those trapped in long commutes, it's not always easy to live, eat, and work in the same space. Here are some useful tools and sweet surprises to help make a telecommuter's life a little easier.

1. Folding Book Stand; $7

A foldable metal book stand holding paper
Hatisan / Amazon

Useful for anyone who works with books or documents, this thick wire frame is strong enough for heavier textbooks or tablets. Best of all, it folds down flat, so you can slip it into your backpack or laptop case and take it out at the library or wherever you need it. The stand does double-duty in the kitchen as a cookbook holder, too.

Buy It: Amazon

2. Duraflame Electric Fireplace; $210

Duraflame electric fireplace
Duraflame / Amazon

Nothing says cozy like a fireplace, but not everyone is so blessed—or has the energy to keep a fire going during the work day. This Duraflame electric fireplace can help keep a workspace warm by providing up to 1000 square feet of comfortable heat, and has adjustable brightness and speed settings. You can even operate it without heat if you just crave the ambiance of an old-school gentleman's study (leather-top desk and shelves full of arcane books cost extra).

Buy It: Amazon

3. Sips By Subscription Tea Service; $15/month

Assorted teas and Sipsby tea subscription service packaging
Sips By

A steady stream of hot beverages is key to productivity, and Sips by is a lovely way to keep the tea chest replenished. (Plus, who doesn't love getting presents in the mail each month?) Your giftee can fill out a personalized tea profile, and each month selections of four different kinds of premium tea will arrive. Each batch makes enough for 15-plus cups, and there are cute reusable bags provided for the loose-leaf teas, which also makes them portable for on-the-go days.

Buy It: Sips by

4. Solstice Beeswax Aromatherapy Candles; $35

Solstice Naturals Lavender 100% Pure Beeswax Aromatherapy Candle
Solstice / Amazon

People who work at home all day, especially in a smaller space, often struggle to "turn off" at the end of the day. One way to unwind and signal that work is done is to light a candle. Burning beeswax candles helps clean the air, and essential oils are a better health bet than artificial fragrances. Lavender is especially relaxing. (Just use caution around essential-oil-scented products and pets.)

Buy It: Amazon

5. HÄNS Swipe-Clean; $15

HÄNS Swipe being used on a tablet
HÄNS / Amazon

If you're carting your laptop and phone from the coffee shop to meetings to the co-working space, they're going to get gross—fast. HÄNS Swipe is a dual-sided device that cleans on one side and polishes on the other, and it's a great solution for keeping germs at bay, especially in cold and flu season. It's also nicely portable, since there's nothing to spill. Plus, it's refillable, and the polishing cloth is washable and re-wrappable, making it a much more sustainable solution than individually wrapped wipes.

Buy It: Amazon

6. Laptop Side Table; $100

Oversized Wood and Metal Laptop Table
World Market

Sometimes you don't want to be stuck at a desk all day long. This industrial-chic side table can act as a laptop table, too, with room for your computer, coffee, notes, and more. It also works as a TV table—not that you (or your giftee) would ever watch TV during work hours.

Buy It: World Market

7. Moleskine Classic Notebook; $12

Moleskine Classic Notebook in black
Moleskin / Amazon

Plenty of people who work from home (well, plenty of people in general) find paper journals and planners essential, whether they're used for bullet journaling, time-blocking, or just writing good old-fashioned to-do lists. However you (or your intended recipient) organize their life, there's a journal out there that's perfect, but for starters it's hard to top a good Moleskin. These are available dotted (the bullet journal fave), plain, ruled, or squared, and in a variety of colors. (You can find other supply ideas for bullet journaling here.)

Buy It: Amazon

8. Nexstand Laptop Stand; $34

Nextstand Portable Laptop Stand
Nexstand / Amazon

For the person who works from home and is on the taller side, this portable laptop stand is a back-saver. It folds down flat so it can be tossed into the bag and taken to the coffee shop or co-working spot, where it often generates an admiring comment or three. It works best alongside a portable external keyboard and mouse.

Buy It: Amazon

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!

This Automatic Fetch Machine Will Keep Your Dog Occupied When You Don't Have Time to Play

iFetch
iFetch

Every dog owner knows that it's impossible to keep up with a pooch that's always looking to play. But if you want to keep them active while still having time for yourself, there's the iFetch, a toy that will automatically throw tennis balls, allowing your canine to play fetch whenever they please.

You can find the iFetch Original, which is ideal for small or medium dogs, on Amazon for $115. The Original can either be charged with an AC adapter or run on six C batteries, both of which are included. You can adjust the settings on the iFetch to throw the ball 10, 20, or 30 feet, making it perfect for indoor or outdoor play. Once it's charged and the distance is set, let your canine drop a tennis ball into the machine and it will take care of the rest.

If you have a large dog, look for the iFetch Too, which is available on Amazon for $200. This model has a rechargeable battery that can last up to 300 throws. This model can launch the ball 10, 24, or 40 feet, and it also comes with a custom option, so you’ll find room for your dog to play no matter how much space is available.

If your dog loves their new toy, but you don't love finding slobbery tennis balls around the house, check out the company’s medium- and small-size slobber-proof balls.

It may take time for your canine to learn how to use the toy, but the company has some training tips from Nicole Ellis, a certified professional dog trainer. To start, it's recommended that your dog knows the “drop it” command. If they don’t, check out their training tips here. After your dog has mastered that command, the company has plenty of tricks, such as keeping training sessions short and ending them on a positive note. For more ideas, check out their page.

Once you set up your iFetch and watch your furry friend run back and forth, you may start to wonder why they like fetch so much. According to research on the subject, when dogs exercise, neurotransmitters stimulate reward regions in their brain, which is much like when humans experience a "runner's high."

If you happen to notice your canine seems particularly athletic while they are chasing the ball back and forth, check out these other sports they can play.

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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