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When I learned that I’d be working from home, I had a vision of how I wanted my days to start: I’d wake gently to the sound of birdsong, and waft over to my yoga mat for an hour of asana and meditation. Then I’d brew herbal tea and eat homemade granola, take a steamy shower, dress for comfort, and arrive at my desk, bubbling with creativity and efficiency.
What my mornings actually look like: When my phone alarm goes off at 6 a.m., I roll over groggily to punch snooze. (I’ve always been a night owl and I need the extra winks.) When my alarm buzzes for the third time, I give in to morning, reluctantly. I pick up the phone and “check the headlines”—a euphemism for scrolling through social media. An hour later, after I am securely up to date on what’s happening with Meghan and Harry, Scandinavian home decor trends, health research, local weather, Oscar contenders, and the status of Cardi B’s next drop, I realize I’m late. I do a quick sun salute in my pajamas, hop in the shower, grab a banana and get to my desk, wearing a wrinkled top over yesterday’s yoga pants.
Clearly, my morning routine needs some help. So when I heard about the Loftie, I was the first to raise my hand to try it. Maybe if I could wake up better, I could get my mornings under control.
What’s a Loftie?
Short version: It’s an alarm clock.
For Gen Z’ers, an alarm clock is a thing everyone used to have on their bedside table before we started relying on our phone alarms to wake us in the morning. But that’s the only thing about the Loftie that is old school. It has high-tech features and an Apple-age aesthetic: It’s a sleek, glossy black capsule with a transparent, tinted base. At the touch of a button, a nightlight glows from beneath it and it looks like it’s hovering over an oval pool of light.
Loftie’s motto is “less screen, more dream.” Catchy, but also…science. When we bring our devices to bed, they emit a blue light that interferes with the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps you feel tired and sleepy. In fact, that light—even when it’s dimmed—makes us feel more alert; after we put the screens down, we’re still all wired up. Between the blue rays, the notification pings, and all those distracting apps, our electronics won’t let us rest—no matter how many mindfulness apps we download.
The idea behind Loftie is that all we need on our nightstand is something that’s going to help us sleep deeply and wake up peacefully. And that’s where this clock is a step above an old-school alarm clock. It does more than just buzz us awake. It offers meditations, sleep-inducing soundscapes, gentle music, and recorded bedtime stories designed to help you fall deeply asleep. Then there’s a two-step wake system that eases you gently into your morning.
Getting my device set up
Ironically, in order to set up the Loftie, I have to download an app to my phone. It gives me a code to type in and finds my Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The app can also act like a remote control for volume and settings, but I use the manual functions—three multifunction buttons—to set my alarms and sounds.
I set a 6 a.m. alarm and, because part of my difficulty getting up has to do with how late I go to bed each night, I make an 11 p.m. alarm that will remind me that it’s bedtime. I can choose the sounds for each. When it’s time for bed, I plug in my phone in another room to charge. Sleep tight, phone!
The next morning a single, gentle “wake up” tone chimes at dawn. It only gongs once, as if to say, “I’ve done my job. The rest of this day is up to you.” I don’t have to tell it to snooze. It leaves me alone to make my own choices. I choose to roll over.
But then a “get up alarm” alerts me a few minutes later. The bouncing percussive tune I selected keeps playing on a loop until I manually snooze it or turn it off altogether. While the “wake up” options are Zen-like, the “get up” sounds are bright, brisk, and motivating. I’m up.
Help with falling asleep
A few day’s into my Loftie experience, I roll over and check the time. It’s 3:47 in the morning. Waking this early fills me with dread. Ordinarily, this would be prime temptation to pick up the phone and doom scroll—guaranteeing I’d stay up the rest of the night and be exhausted for day ahead.
But my Loftie has options to help me get back to sleep.
I turn on the breathing exercises, but my breathwork guide “Kathleen” sounds too instructional; she’ll keep me awake. Same with the Snoozecast podcast, with its adult bedtime stories.
“Phoebe” will also tell me bedtime stories. But Pheobe sounds to be about 9 years old. You’ve got two choices if you’re going to use a child’s voice for something like this: a chirpy, Disney-kid voice or that quiet, soothing sing-song that horror-movie children use. Phoebe is the former, and her bedtime story might work to put your little one to sleep, but I’m a mom, so the last thing I want to hear in the night is a child’s voice.
I could listen to white noise. Or gray noise. Or blue or pink or brown or red. (I had no idea noise came in that many colors.) Unfortunately, they’re all variations of a low electronic whine. The sound baths are a more musical version of white noise. There are classical music selections—benignly melodious, but not what I think of when I think of sleep.
Nature sounds will probably be my best bet. I scroll past the ocean and lakeside beach sounds (the water is a little choppy); the redwood forest and campfire sounds snap and crackle too much. Crickets chirping in a distant valley? If I wanted crickets, I’d crack my window. Ultimately, I find the trout run the most soothing. Before I know it, my morning gong is sounding. I’ve managed to reclaim a few hours of sleep.
On another morning, I wake up and, instead of hitting snooze, I turn on Kathleen’s breathing exercises and use the time to meditate. I notice that even the way the clock “ticks” is soothing and gentle. Instead of clicking from one second to the next, each second is represented by a little shard of light that brightens like a newborn star and then waits for the next second to join it.
I’m a sucker for sleek design, so the Loftie had me at hello.
Like most sleek devices, it’s low on buttons and high on things you could use a button for. There are only three toggles for alarm set up, sounds, music, volume, brightness, nightlight, etc. That makes for a good bit of right clicking, left clicking and scrolling to get to the settings you’re looking for. Once you get alarms set up you’re fine. But the interface is not ideal if you need to fumble with volume or sounds while you’re half asleep. Being able to set the alarm volume and brightness from my phone seems to defeat the purpose of removing phone temptation, especially for a hard-core phone addict—but it’s easier than adjusting manually.
Loftie promises to periodically offer new alarms, updated sounds, and other features, and I’m excited about that. The app sends system updates and notifications whenever that happens. I’ll look forward to seeing what they add. (A suggestion for their developer: Add an Idris Elba voice to give Kathleen and Phoebe some competition.)
Over all, my Loftie hasn’t changed my late-night tendencies—nor my temptation to hit snooze. But it’s cutting out some of the morning social-media scrolling. The two-step wake up is fair and reasonable, and I don’t resent rolling out of bed. And it’s nice to have a gentle reminder that it’s time to rest at the end of the day. Overall, the Loftie has elevated my sleep experience.
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