Chess WITH THE KNIGHT
Struggling with the darker winter days? Let’s take a look at tech that can help banish the winter gloom
Puzzle special this week! Here are eight, starting from very easy to quite tricky
Puzzle C: How many different ways can White check the Black King and how many of them are checkmate?
THEY say the most depressing day of the year is some time in January… but not for me. For me it’s the day the clocks go back and the mornings get darker. It marks the start of the real plunge into winter – it gets colder, it gets darker. But there is light at the end of the tunnel. Even this year.
You can do something about those dark mornings and bring a little joy into the start of your day. And it’s all to do with light.
There’s science behind this, of course. We’ve all heard of SAD – seasonal affective disorder, a condition which brings on the winter blues in a quite serious way.
But if, like me, you just can’t get going in the dark mornings, these lights might bring you a little, erm, light relief.
LUMIE BODYCLOCK LUXE 750DAB
£199. See lumie.com for more
LUMIE is perhaps the leader in special bedside lighting to counteract the effects of the darker mornings, and the Bodyclock Luxe 750DAB is the flagship of its range, with a whole raft of features to help you sleep easier and feel brighter in the mornings.
It’s also a ‘class 1 medical device’, which means it has passed rigorous safety testing and is supported by clinical research.
What it does is pretty simple – it mimics sunset and sunrise to help you regulate your sleeping and waking hours more naturally.
At night, the clock has a fading sunset simulation, featuring accurate colours to help you relax, and a low-blue light feature for bedtime lighting. By keeping blue light to a minimum you’re ready for sleep and can drift off easily. As your room gets dark, the light-sensitive display switches off.
In the morning, the clock slowly brings dawn into your room to wake you in a natural way.
There’s a whole range of other features beside the light technology, including a DAB radio, a wide-range of non-music wake-up sounds (like birdsong or ocean waves), and the ability to hook it up to your smartphone via Bluetooth for the streaming of music or podcasts.
Lumie says the British swimming team use Lumie Bodyclock wake-up lights to get them up bright and early for training on dark, winter mornings.
PHILIPS WAKE-UP LIGHT
£ 76.99 if you buy direct. See philips.co.uk under the Health section for more.
PHILIPS has a solid reputation when it comes to lighting, so you can be sure its Wake-Up Light will do as it promises.
It’s not as sophisticated as the Lumie device, featuring two wake-up sounds or an FM radio to stir you.
The light element offers 10 different intensities to appeal to the broadest range of people, and can be set to go as high as 200 lux – AKA very bright indeed. If that doesn’t get you going nothing will.
The Wake-Up Light, like the Lumie, simulates sunrise with a 30-minute period of gradual brightening. The colour of the light also changes from what Philips calls ‘yellow’ to ‘bright yellow’, which also simulates a natural sunrise.
IKEA TRADFRI SMART LIGHTS
Kits start from £50
IKEA’S range of internetconnected smart-lighting isn’t especially designed to help you with your morning routine. But it’s flexible enough for you to be able to use it that way.
The lighting may not be as bright as that provided by specialist lamps, but it does feature a ‘Rise and Shine’ option which allows you to set the Tradfri bulbs in your bedside lamps to gradually come on in the morning over 30 minutes, changing in tone from warm to bright, to coincide with whatever other alarms you may already have.
If you don’t need a specialist lamp, it may be the way to go, as it offers a whole other range of features to help you get the most out of your lighting, like the ability to control with smart AI assistants like Amazon’s Alexa or Apple’s Siri.
You can also set tailored ‘scenes’ for various activities with specific variations to match your mood – and you can dial in these scenes with voice commands.