Wake up beautiful! Hi-tech gadgets that improve the quality of your sleep are beauty's latest buzzzzzz...

A girl sleeps wearing a Sleeptracker watch

A girl wears a Sleeptracker watch as she sleeps. These hi-tech devices monitor your movement and then wake you when you're sleeping lightly

Theories go, this sounds far-fetched to the point of being, well, beyond barking. I have been told in all seriousness that the sudden shock to the system of being jolted out of sleep by an alarm clock or mobile phone can ‘undo all the goodness of a deep sleep and leave the skin dull, tired and stressed’.

Eek! What to do? Most of us would never get going without an alarm.

On the other hand, waking up gently, with the help of a special alarm that slowly lights up to a full-strength-daylight effect is actually beneficial for the skin.

According to independent dermatologist Dr Sam Bunting: ‘An easy wake-up is key to skin recovery from damage due to environmental stress such as sun and wind exposure and pollution.’

You, too, might feel tempted to say: ‘Yeah, right!’ And I should point out this news comes not from scientific research, but from Philips, the manufacturer of the £130 dawn-simulating Wake-Up Light, which has taken Dr Bunting on board for promotional purposes.

These clocks, by the way, are a thoroughly good idea. I’ve been devoted to one of its competitors, the considerably cheaper Lumie Bodyclock (£59.95, lumie.com), for years.

By mimicking dawn, the light tells your brain to stop producing melatonin, which in turn causes you to wake, and thus they make getting up on dark mornings considerably less disagreeable.

The other way to make waking up less of a shock to the system is to wear a Sleeptracker watch (£122.50, sleep trackerpro.co.uk).

This clever digital device monitors your movements overnight. Once you’ve worked out how to set it up and told it what time you plan to go to sleep and roughly when you want to wake up, you strap it on and let it get to work.

Every time you come into a light phase of sleep during the night, you move about, and the watch records the data. 

As you approach the alarm-time window, the watch waits until you are sleeping more lightly, then wakes you. This means you surface more easily than when deeply asleep and, as a result, feel less lethargic.

The Sleeptracker also aims to help you improve your sleeping patterns. I’ve been using one since the summer, and what’s really fascinating is scrolling through the data each morning to see how long my patches of deep sleep were (the longer the better).

Sometimes I manage a couple of one-hour spaces; sometimes, I’m close to waking every 15 minutes. 


One in three of us survives on fewer than five hours' sleep each night


Most of my family have tried it, too. I am slightly worried to see that my tenyearold son, who is a light sleeper, never appears to go into deep sleep for longer than 20 minutes at a time.

And how would you improve your down-time? By following what sleep experts call ‘good sleep hygiene’.

That entails going to bed and getting up at the same time, every day of the week; making your bedroom a sanctuary for sleeping, not somewhere where you surf the internet or watch TV or work; not eating, drinking or exercising too close to bedtime; and keeping alcohol intake to a minimum (booze makes you feel drowsy, but then it strikes back, disrupting sleep patterns in the middle of the night).

You could wear a watch designed to improve your sleep. Philip Stein watches (£245, philipstein.com) emit a pulse into the arm at a frequency of 7 to 9 hertz, which aims to strengthen the body’s energy field by altering its frequency, encouraging the body to relax and become more resilient to stress.

It may sound new-age and far-fetched, but in clinical trials 96 per cent of wearers reported benefits to their sleep, including falling asleep quicker and waking up less in the night when wearing the watch and feeling more refreshed after sleep.

But can gadgets like these really help your skin? Dr Bunting insists that since using the Wake-Up Light, she has seen the benefits in her own skin. I would venture another theory: that it’s not so much how you wake up, but the length and depth of your sleep that makes the difference.

If you’ve had a great night’s sleep, you will surely feel miles better than if you’ve had a short night, however gently you are brought round from it - and as a result, look better, too. And isn’t that what beauty sleep is all about?