The Cure for My Bad Sleep Turned Out to Be a Lamp

A night lamp! An alarm clock! A sleep aid! It's all those things in one.

August 10, 2021
Photo by Julia Gartland

I don’t sleep well, and I’m not sure why.

It’s not like I have trouble falling asleep, because I don’t. It’s the staying asleep that is a bigger problem. The jerking awake an hour later; the tossing and turning at 3 a.m. (my witching hour, perfect for both planning and worrying about not planning enough); and eventually, waking up too early for no apparent reason at all.

I’ve tried meditation, reading (I’ve left a book open to the right page, even stuck a little bedtime mint in there to prod me), no screen time before sleep—and had moderate success with each. The bigger problem was sticking with these.

A few weeks ago, relief arrived in an unusual form: Hatch Restore, a spaceship-like “smart lamp” (if spaceships came swathed in textured grey fabric). My first thought was that it might be too modern for my decor, but noted, with relief, that it’s actually the kind of design that fits in anywhere—it didn’t look incongruous on my grandfather’s bedside tables at all!

As I uncovered over the next few days, the idea behind the Hatch is to grant its user the power to design a fully customized sleep routine. This customization gets streamlined for you when you pair it with the free app that comes with...frankly, more options than I could’ve predicted. These options fall within three categories: the wind-down, the fall-asleep, and the wake-up.

First, the wind-down, which I now realize is probably the most compromised part of most of our sleep routines. To help it along, the Hatch offers a bounty of light settings (22 of 'em, with daytime and nighttime simulations) and soothing sounds. I picked warm white at 40 percent and the sound of an Alpine waterfall, which my husband tried vetoing—unsuccessfully. If you are a nicer partner than I am, there are about 15 other sounds to find common ground on. The app also offers a bunch of audio content—breathing exercises, visualizations, bedtime stories—some of which is free, while others require a subscription to Hatch that’s free for the first six months, then costs $49 a year.

You can set a timer for however long you want to wind down and the Hatch will automatically move into its next phase—the fall-asleep phase—when you’re through. For this, again, the choices are many: including a fade-out light, the sounds of a gurgling brook, or nothing at all. The best part is that if you happen to wake up in the middle of the night and are struggling to fall back asleep, you can tap through to get back to the phase you want, all over again. If you sleep through (and we hope you do), the alarm function comes with several sunrise sounds and lights to ease you into another busy day. Prefer an old-fashioned beep-beep? It has that, too.

If you want to skip any of the steps in the routine (because no night is the same), all you have to do is tap the top of the device to move on to the next or turn it off completely. If you’re someone that doesn’t enjoy having to engage with all these choices, the presets and the resets—and hitting the snooze button is the only activity you can handle once you’re in bed—the Hatch will likely take some getting used to.

Ultimately, the Hatch is what you want it to be. A good-looking alarm clock. A reading light. A white-noise machine. I’ve definitely used the chirping birds sound while working to distract me from overhead planes and jack hammers, aka city sounds. But Hatch is at its best when it’s all those things—and most effective when you and your sleep partner use it together.

Just like anything, the Hatch requires commitment. But if there’s one thing I really love about it, it’s that it has given me a routine around my sleep. In a world where everything is unpredictable and plans are continually disrupted, it’s a constant I could definitely do with. And the one I was clearly missing.

Have you tried the Hatch Restore Smart Lamp? Let us know how it worked for you!

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Arati Menon

Written by: Arati Menon

Arati grew up hanging off the petticoat-tails of three generations of Indian matriarchs who used food to speak their language of love—and she finds herself instinctually following suit. Life has taken her all across the world, but she carries with her a menagerie of inherited home and kitchen objects that serve as her anchor. Formerly at GQ and Architectural Digest, she's now based in Brooklyn.


SK August 13, 2021
Wow, wrinklier sheets ever. I’m a nurse, hospital corners every time!
Ellie B. August 15, 2021
I'm a nurse too and can't imagine making a bed any other way than with lovely tight hospital corners.
Hn August 22, 2021
Looks like they are linen sheets. The struggle with wrinkles is real but the feel is heaven.