London: Waking up before sunrise leaves you in a dark mood? Don't worry, as researchers have developed a new eye mask which they say can stimulate your body and help brighten your morning.
According to its developers, the special eye mask called LUMI sleep mask is embedded with LED lights that begin to glow half an hour before the programmed time and slowly get brighter, helping the wearer to wake naturally before the
built-in alarm beeps.
The mask that gradually lights up to simulate day breaking is being developed to ease the pain of early morning wake-up calls, the Daily Mail reported.
It has the added benefit of blocking out light from street lamps or electronic devices during the night, promoting a deeper sleep.
It may also help shift workers manipulate their sleep patterns and give sufferers of Seasonal Affective Disorder a morning boost, researchers said.
Its designer Taylor Hide said: "Our bodies are designed to sleep in darkness and wake with sunlight. Darkness triggers our brain to produce something called melatonin, which helps us fall asleep. But any tiny amount of light disrupts this.
"Sunlight activates our metabolism so we wake easily. A traditional alarm will wake you midway through your sleep cycle but it doesn't do it softly like sunlight would.
"LUMI is an effective way to finally sync your body's clock to the light and dark. It blocks out ambient light, helping you fall asleep quicker and with ease.
"Then, in the morning, its soft light simulates a sunrise, gradually growing brighter, easing you into waking up.
"By slowly waking your mind and body, you gain a boost of energy and stimulate your body for the day ahead."
Hide, from Birmingham, Alabama, who came up with the idea after struggling with sleep problems, said: "I loved waking up with sunlight coming through my blinds, but at night, with my blinds open, light kept me from falling asleep.
"Using a sleep mask helped block the light, but eliminated being able to wake with sunlight.
"Then I thought, wouldn't it be great to have a solution for blocking out light and waking with sunlight?"
He expects his gadget will be most popular with shift workers.
"By using the LUMI they can effectively control their sleep environment, regardless of when or where they sleep," he explained.
He also sees a "big prospect" of benefits for sufferers of Seasonal Affective Disorder, who are often treated with light therapy.
But while the eye mask is cheaper than a trip to brighter corners of the world, you may still lose sleep over the price.
It is expected to cost more than 50 pounds.