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How to build a 'sleep box' just like Mark Zuckerberg

Anyone can build this simple little lamp.

Sharon Profis Vice President of Content, CNET Studios
As the Vice President of CNET Studios, Sharon leads the video, social, editorial design, and branded content teams. Before this role, Sharon led content development and launched new verticals for CNET, including Wellness, Money, and How To. A tech expert herself, she's reviewed and covered countless products, hosted hundreds of videos, and appeared on shows like Good Morning America, CBS Mornings, and the Today Show. An industry expert, Sharon is a recurring Best of Beauty Awards judge for Allure. Sharon is an avid chef and hosts the cooking segment 'Farm to Fork' on PBS nationwide. She's developed and published hundreds of recipes.
  • Webby Award ("How To, Explainer, and DIY Video"); Folio Changemaker Award, 2020
Sharon Profis
2 min read

There's a little box that sits atop Priscilla Chan's bedside table. Between 6 a.m.-7 a.m. each morning, it emits a soft glow, acting like passive clock that lets her know that one-hour time slot is happening. 

After noticing his wife was experiencing anxiety around anticipating this crucial hour -- which is when the kids usually wake up -- Mark Zuckerberg built the little lamp. Now, instead of reaching for her phone throughout the night to check the time, all she has to do is open one eye and see if the box is glowing. 

He shared the project on Instagram, saying:

"...She'll wake up and check the time on her phone to see if the kids might wake up soon, but then knowing the time stresses her out and she can't fall back asleep. So I worked on building her what I call the ' sleep box.' It sits on her nightstand, and between the hours of 6-7am it emits a very faint light -- visible enough that if she sees it she'll know it's an okay time for one of us to get the kids, but faint enough that the light won't wake her up if she's still sleeping."

His post encouraged entrepreneurs to take the idea and run with it, but you don't need to wake for the Kickstarters to begin. Instead, you can build your own Zuckerberg-style sleep box with a simple recipe.

Read more: The best weighted blankets for deep sleep and anxiety relief

Mark Zuckerberg

How to build a sleep box

Building this anxiety-reducing box is simple. All you need is:

  • A lamp with an translucent to opaque shade
  • A smart bulb or smart switch 

To put your sleep box together, screw a smart bulb (like this Lifx bulb) into the lamp. Then, head into the settings and schedule the light to turn on during your desired hours. 

The benefit of using a smart bulb is that you can set the color to a warm yellow hue and dim it to a very low setting, preventing the sleep box from waking you up. 

For the smart switch option, you can choose a lamp (or even a nightlight) that is already the color and dimness you need. Then, plug it into a smart switch (like the Amazon Smart Plug) and set the schedule in the accompanying app. 

Here are a few lamps that would work for smart switch setup:

Alternatively, you might consider a wake-up light like Philips' Somneo Light Therapy lamp. It's a $160 option that lets you create a schedule, customize the dimness and adjust the color temperature all in one device. For some people, however, the lamp's shade may be too large and disrupt sleep, even at the lowest setting. 

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.