We have all heard horror stories about babies and children that won't fall asleep, or waking every hour, needed to be held, hugged, breastfed, walked around, rocked in order to etch out a little more zzz. I certainly know how it feels night after night after night, resettling my boys every hour or two, trying to get them to stay asleep and allow me to put them down so I can snatch a few precious minutes myself before my day starts.
Glow Dreaming claims to help children struggling with separation anxiety, self-settling, night terrors, teething, transitioning, delayed sleep, dream feeding, multiple wakes, days sleeps and co sleeping.
Well, I have children at different stages of life, so I took the plunge and bought one.
And of course I just had to share my experience with our DigitalReview readers.
I am an island surrounded by people who struggle to fall asleep and stay asleep. Me? I can sleep pretty much anywhere, anytime, standing up, sitting down, and yes, I am that one over there in the aircraft cabin, fast asleep before the doors are even closed. My partner struggles to fall asleep. My partner's son (Master J, pre-teen) is worse, it could take him hours to fall asleep, and if he wakes in the middle of the night then it is pretty much all over. My oldest son (Master L, just heading into pre-ween) struggles to fall asleep but now seems to sleep through once he does drift off. My youngest son (Master E, pre-school going to child) struggles to fall asleep and tends to wake at least once during the night. Last but not least, I have a 14 month old (Princess A) who is just a toddler with her toddler ways - perfect one night, terrible the next.
I have not had an overnight visit with my boys since my marriage broke down. I am acutely aware of Master L and Master E's sleeping patterns as I was hands on with their care, and I had been continually called upon since to assist since January 2015. So when I was on the cusp of finally getting overnight access to my boys, their sleep routine weighed heavily on my mind. I knew that one size was not going to fit all. Master L had different needs which I will go into in another review. My youngest boy, Master E is who I had in mind with the Glow Dreaming.
With only one overnight visit per fortnight, I was hoping every little bit will help along with my hard fought bag of tricks. I even got Master E to pick the sleeve design to get him excited about the idea.
When it arrived, for a moment I thought Tiffany made a shipping mistake. The Glow Dreaming Starter Pack that I ordered came in a turquoise coloured packaging however my partner was quick to inform me that Tiffany Blue is actually a light medium robin egg blue. Thanks babe.
The Starter Pack comes with the Glow Dreaming sleep device, Glow Lullaby organic medicinal grade essential oil and a design sleeve.
The Glow Dreaming main unit comes in a plain white finish, the removable cover to the water reservoir is translucent. The design that goes over the cover is called a sleeve, which is interchangeable. At the time of writing Glow Dreaming offers 10 different sleeve designs. There was a mild moment of consternation when I thought they forgot to ship the sleeve until I realised it was rolled up into a smallish turquoise box which wasn't how I imagined it to be provided. The sleeve is probably best described as a giant rubber band which stretches for a snug fit over the cover.
The Glow Lullaby claims to have been specially formulated using a blend of essential oils scientifically proven to help children sleep with 100% organic ingredients (Lavender Sweet, Orange Sweet, Eucalyptus Australiana, Mandarin, Lavender True, Chamomile Roman).
What is Pink Noise?
I have to admit that before I looked into sleeping aids recently, I had no idea there are different colours of noise. I have previously used white noise on Master L which had an immediate effect on calming him when he was a baby.
According to experts, "pink noise" is a mix of high and low frequencies that emulates natural sounds than its better-known cousin, “white noise”, which is a manufactured sound. I will have to admit I am just a neophyte and to be perfectly honest, I could not tell the difference and I sleep like the dead anyway.
There are four touch buttons on the front of the unit. From left to right it is night light, pink noise, volume control and humidifier. With the exception of the noise button which is an on-off, all the other buttons can cycle through for the function.
The night light button cycles through the red light in three brightness levels then to green in three brightness levels and then off.
The volume control cycles through three preset levels, with the maximum at 70 decibels.
The humidifier aquifer holds 500ml and is a cool mist variety, so the mist and the unit are always cool to touch. The touch button also acts as a timer for 2 hours, 4 hours or continuous.
As luck would have it when the Glow Dreaming arrived, Princess A had a bad cold and was in need of a vapouriser. We put it to use that evening and that part works a treat. We gave Princess A a few days to get over her cold before we tried out the rest of the features. Little Princess A was not all that interested in the night light, although she certainly is not a fan of the red light. The pink noise we like to use because it masks a lot of our household noises which she is sensitive to.
For Princess A, we use the Glow Dreaming 13 nights a fortnight, always with the pink noise and usually with the humidifier and aromatherapy. How well did it work for her in the past 5 weeks? Inconsistent is probably the best way I can describe it. Keeping in mind at this stage, Princess A is all over the place, she is teething, she started toddling, she is on the cusp of talking (well she lectures her parents daily). It seems to work better in the evening vis-a-vis the overnight. Some nights it does not seem to help at all and other nights it seems to help a little.
Master E was who I had in mind with Glow Dreaming. Long story short, he has been to sleep school twice and (I was told) still prone to waiting hourly overnight. Hard to know how much of that is true, but my personal experience with him is that he can be prone to be unsettled. I can't comment on the root cause on his unsettled sleep, but the symptoms were certainly manifested. Master E was really excited about the whole idea, I did not drum it up too much but the day he came to stay overnight he was very keen to get it into his room.
So how did it go with Master E? He prefers the green night light over the red, which is not what is recommended for sleeping. Initially he was not a fan of the pink noise but he got onboard with it, and he likes the humidifier and aromatherapy. We had it in his room on three separate visits to date, the first occasion he woke up about 4am and came to sleep with me. The second occasion he slept through til after 8am, the third occasion he woke up about 4am again to sleep with me. Compared to the two visits before we had the Glow Dreaming, the first night he woke up twice but it was his first sleepover with me. The second visit he was sick so he was clingy. Did it help him? It is still early days and he is getting used to a new sleeping environment and having to self settle and sleep in his own room and bed. I think the Glow Dreaming is helping him self settle and fall asleep faster, as well as that he is generally settling in a new environment where he is expected to sleep in his own room and bed, at least at the beginning of the night.
The irony of who benefits the most from Glow Dreaming? My partner. It seems the pink noise works really well to ease her into slumberland. Aside from general tiredness keeping up with our brood, and a shout out that she lets me sleep as much as possible so that I can go to work, I have noticed that she drifts off much faster since we have the Glow Dreaming.
Each function of the Glow Dreaming can run independently, with a caveat.
If the timer is set to 2 hours or 4 hours (using the humidifier button), then at the end of the duration, all the features will be turned off.
If the device is set to continuous, then the unit will run continuously for the night light and pink noise. The humidifier function will stop once the aquifer is dry. The 500ml capacity is rated to run all night. From my experience it lasts about 10 hours.
First and foremost, where is the USB power on the Glow Dreaming? It is 2019, we are trying to standardise electronics and reduce wastage. Why do I have to keep track of yet another DC connector adaptor?
The touch buttons are too sensitive. Or too insensitive. I can't decide which it is because sometimes you barely need to graze it to turn something on, then I find myself mashing at the volume control to get it to cycle.
I am a little torn about this one. The logical side of me was always sceptical about just how well the Glow Dreaming will work. It is a one size fits all solution when every person and situation is different. It feels like a shotgun approach and hope some of the pellets hit a target. The bit I appreciate the most about the device is that it does not require an app on the phone to operate.
From my observations I think there was mild benefits to Princess A in the sense that the pink noise helps in masking our household noise. The humidifier has certainly been good for her breathing when she had a cold, and of some help with her eczema.
For Master E I don't think it did much beyond the placebo effect. He is eager to have it in his room and I think the thought of having it there comforts him for the self settling part. He is still getting up once in the middle of the night and look for me for comfort, no different to before I had the Glow Dreaming.
The person that seemed to be benefiting the most from Glow Dreaming is my partner, who seems to be conking out with some regularity with the pink noise in particular.
The Glow Dreaming is available here for AUD$130, which includes:
a Glow Dreaming sleep device
a design sleeve (10 designs to choose from),
10ml bottle of Glow Lullaby organic medicinal grade essential oil
Unlimited sleep specialist assistance
Free shipping in Australia
28 day sleep guarantee
Individual sleeves are AUD$9.95 each. Glow Lullaby are AUD$29.95 a bottle, but a quarterly subscription of 4 bottles is availble for AUD$89.95 per quarter. An extended trial to 60 days is AUD$12.95.