Sleep and light therapy aren’t anything new, but there are certainly more products available on the market today that combine the two with optional apps. If you’re unfamiliar with either, colour light therapy simulates wavelengths which trigger subtle biological responses which can help improve sleep, energy, and mood. Sound therapy, on the other hand, uses pre-recorded and engineered sounds to cancel out distractions and allow your mind to calm.
Our iHome Zenergy review takes a look at a bedside sleep therapy machine with both color light and sound therapy, Bluetooth clock radio, and USB charging.
The iHome Zenergy has the following features and specifications:
- Built-in sound therapy with relaxing sound modes with Tone Adjust EQ
- Natural Sounds: Heart Beat, Ocean, Nature, Storm
- Tonal Sounds: Dream Tones, Peace, Zen
- White Noise: Air (brown noise), Focus (pink noise), Peace (white noise), Quiet (white noise)
- 11 Light Therapy patterns
- Nighttime Lighting: Calm, Breath, Sunset
- Morning Lighting: Flash, Energy, Dawn
- Daytime Lighting: Aurora, Pulse, Glow, Color, Lamp
- Dual Alarm Clocks
- Alarm battery backup
- Dual Sleep Timers
- 6 FM Radio Presets
- USB Charging
- Auto Display Mode
- Dimensions: 5.56″ W x 5.83″ H x 4.96″ D
- Weight: 1.35 lbs
What’s in the box
- iHome Zenergy Bedside Sleep Therapy Machine
- Power adapter
- 3.5mm AUX cable
- Instruction manual
The iHome Zenergy Sleep Therapy Machine has a pretty nice design. When looking from any of the three sides, it’s rectangular with curved left and right edges. All three sides are covered in a soft white fabric which wraps around each of the corners with the exception of the back strip. On the front face, you’ll find the iHome logo in the lower left-hand corner and the display screen which shows the time, sound mode, light mode, and other information sits centered near the bottom of the front.
When viewed from above, the Zenergy has a rounded triangular shape. The top cap has a silver outer edge which curves over the left- and right-hand sides. The main portion of the top houses a soft grey plastic piece and many of the control and function buttons.
Both the right and left-hand faces have five buttons across the top inset within the silver top cap. The right-hand side has your Zen, Dream, Ocean, Storm, and Nature relaxing sound mode buttons while the left-hand side is where you’ll find the Air, Focus, Quiet, Peace, and Heartbeat white noise sound mode buttons.
The back edge is where you’ll find the Time and Bluetooth Pairing buttons, as well as the 3.5mm AUX jack, USB-A port for charging a mobile device, and the DC 12V/2.5A power port. Just below the power port is an FM antenna wire to help you get a stronger radio signal.
The bottom has three small rubber feet as well as a battery compartment where you can replace the CR2450 backup battery.
Ease of Use
The iHome Zenergy Bedside Sleep Therapy Machine is pretty easy to use. If you’ve set up and used an alarm clock in the past, the iHome Zenergy isn’t much different, although there are a few more things to set up.
The first thing you’ll probably want to do is sync it to your smartphone via Bluetooth. The first time you turn on the Zenergy, it will automatically enter pairing mode. You can also enter this mode by holding the Bluetooth button on the back of the Zenergy and entering pairing mode. Once paired, you can set the time while holding the Time Set Button on the back of the unit to enable Time Sync, which will sync the time with your paired device whenever they are connected.
There are two alarms that you can set with options that include 7 day, 5 day (weekday), or 2 day (weekend) alarms, wake to phone (which plays the last music track played on your smartphone), wake to radio, wake to buzzer, snooze duration, pre-alarm tone, and pre-alarm light.
You can also set two different sleep timers including audio source, light, and sleep duration.
When the Zenergy is turned on, you can adjust the sound therapy or light therapy mode, as well as stream music from your Bluetooth device, AUX device, listen to FM radio stations, and even use it as a speakerphone if you get an incoming call.
While it sounds like a lot to set up, it is pretty straightforward and the display prompts let you know exactly what you are adjusting and setting.
You can also download the iHome Zenergy app which allows you to control the Zenergy Bedside Sleep Therapy Machine from your phone instead of the buttons on top of it. While it does make it a bit quicker to set your alarm times and sleep modes, you may be out of luck if your smartphone runs Android 7. iHome support says it should run on an Android 7 devices, but I had major issues trying to get it to work.
I tried both the Nexus 6P and Moto Z running Android 7.x and could not get the Zenergy to pair with the app, even though it pairs with both devices through the Bluetooth pairing mode just fine. After numerous attempts of troubleshooting with iHome Support — which consisted of the usual forget Bluetooth connection, uninstall the app, reboot phone, install the app, pair Zenergy to the app before pairing to the phone, I tried with a Nexus 5 running Android 6.x and had no issues connecting to the app.
At any rate, the app works but doesn’t offer anything you can’t do on the Zenergy unit itself and isn’t really needed so you won’t be missing anything if you can’t get it working with your device.
There are those who swear by light and sleep therapy machines, while others don’t find them very useful or effective. In the case of the iHome Zenergy Bedside Sleep Therapy Machine, I definitely found the waking cycle made it easier to wake up. After the ten-minute pre-alarm cycle of the Zen sound preset and Energy light preset, I found that once the alarm went off, it wasn’t as jarring as just being woken up without the pre-alarm cycle.
On the other hand, I didn’t notice much difference in my sleeping habits when I tried out the sleep timers. I usually find it pretty easy to fall asleep quickly, not to mention it can be a bit tricky to find the right sleep timer when you don’t sleep alone. While I can’t speak to the actual science of light and sound therapy, I can say that I definitely felt a positive difference in the morning when waking up to the Zenergy than without. Unfortunately, I didn’t really notice a difference using the sleep therapy mode the couple times I tried it. As such, your results will most likely vary depending on the type of person you are.
The various light and sound modes offered enough variation to suit pretty much any mood or time of day. The included light therapy modes are listed below, I’ll talk more about the sound therapy modes in the next section.
- Aurora: swirling spectrum of colors for day or night mood lighting (not recommended before sleep)
- Pulse: randomized, pulsing colors bring life to your music and visual fun to your environment (not recommended before sleep)
- Glow: gentle fading spectrum of solid colors for day or night mood lighting (not recommended before sleep)
- 1 Color: select the current color
- Energy: swirling blue-toned lights inhibit melatonin, increase morning alertness, and energize the mind
- Calm: swirling red-toned lights calm the mind at night and stimulate the production of melatonin, helping to prepare the body for sleep
- Breath: inhale and hold with the amber light and exhale with the red to lower your heart rate and calm your mind
- Lamp: warm white light, similar to an incandescent bulb (not recommended before sleep)
Aside from the pre-alarm and sleep timer modes, the iHome Zenergy performed well and I never missed an alarm. The Bluetooth time sync is a great feature for time zone changes.
The USB Charging port is a great feature as well, allowing you to plug in your smartphone to charge while you sleep. Charging worked as expected, and you won’t be getting any fast or quick charging out of this but it will easily fully charge your phone overnight.
Sound quality on the iHome Zenergy falls into two categories: the relaxing/white noise sounds and your Bluetooth/AUX music. One the tonal side, the relaxing and white noise sounds are very pleasant and offer a nice variety depending on your mood.
The various sound options offered on the Zenergy include:
- Zen: tonal melody in frequencies that mimic the Delta brainwaves of a mind in meditation or healing sleep
- Dream: tonal melody in frequencies that mimic the Theta brainwaves of a mind dreaming in REM sleep
- Ocean: authentic, digitally recorded ocean sounds
- Storm: authentic, digitally recorded storm and rainfall sounds
- Nature: authentic, digitally recorded springtime woodland sounds
- Air: brown noise is a low-toned repeating frequency, like a fan, which helps to negate distracting environmental noises
- Focus: pink noise is a medium-toned repeating frequency, like a soothing waterfall, which helps to negate distracting environmental noises
- Quiet: the standard white noise repeating frequency, like radio static, which helps to negate distracting environmental noises
- Peace: white noise and Delta tone melodies layered together help to quiet a noisy environment and an over-active mind
- Hearbeat: listening to a relaxed heart beat encourages your own heart beat to slow to match it
The Bluetooth mode offers independent audio controls, which allows you to set one volume on your smartphone or other paired device and then control the speaker volume separately. This allows you much more control over getting a much more precise listening volume. While the music audio is clear and crisp, there’s really not much bass here so don’t expect to be pumping out some heavy EDM or old school hip hop. The unit does go quite loud as well and was still relatively clear at higher volumes but I found leaving it set to around 10 was plenty loud for waking up in the morning.
The iHome Zenergy Bedside Sleep Therapy Machine has an MSRP of $99.99USD. Considering it combines both light and sleep therapy modes with Bluetooth streaming and USB charging, it’s priced reasonably well. You can save yourself a few dollars as it is currently selling on Amazon for just under $92USD.
As I mentioned above, I can’t speak to the science of light and sound therapy, but I definitely noticed a difference in waking up — for the positive — when using the iHome Zenergy. If you’re looking for a bedside unit that combines light therapy, sound therapy, alarm clocks, Bluetooth streaming, and USB charging, the Zenergy is a solid choice.
*We were sent a sample of the iHome Zenergy Bedside Sleep Therapy Machine for the purposes of this review.
Last Updated on April 19, 2017.
iHome Zenergy Bedside Sleep Therapy Machine$99.99 USD
Ease of Use9.0/10
- Various light modes for different times of the day
- Great selection of sound modes for different modes
- Easy to set up
- Dual alarms
- Dual sleep timers
- Bluetooth audio
- AUX audio
- USB charging
- Solid, easy to use design
- App doesn't seem to work with Android 7
- App doesn't add any extra functionality
- Not much on the bass end for music