You know when you are in bed and randomly wake up. You get that sort of confused and upside down feeling before you know what’s going on? Then, as you roll over wondering why, you tense a very specific muscle before the reason becomes self evident. You must pee.

I’m sure I’m going to be called an old man with a pee pee problem for highlighting this, but you must be honest – it’s happened to you too…. Right?

Everyone knows the next thing that happens is a sort of tug of war between your natural bodily requirement for peeing vs the warm, comfy, sleepy feeling of staying in bed. I mean, there is only another 3 hours till your alarm… you can last that right?

NOPE you gotta pee

So you sigh resignedly and slowly sit up on the edge of the bed. You decide that, if you are careful, you only have to wake up just enough to do what is needed. With the memory of your house layout and some night-nav skills, walking really slowly and carefully, arms outstretched, it should be possible…. I’ve managed to sleep/walk myself all the way to the loo, had a nap while peeing (sitting down obviously, aiming takes wayyyyy too much concentration) and then slept/walked back to bed and pretty much fallen straight back to sleep as soon as I touched the pillow.


Something I’ve learnt since living with dogs; They are a serious random hazard generator when it comes to night-nav in a semi-sleep state. Usually Kayto is sleeping either in the bed (taking up more duvet than a whole human does) or in his bed next to my bedside table or somewhere on the floor. He’s 50/50 whether he’s going to be in the way or easily navigable. Haku on the other hand, is always, without fail, 100% a trip hazard. But I never know where he is, so it’s like playing a fluffy game of battleships, whether my footsteps will land on the floor or a yelping tail.

I could turn on the bedside light, but don’t want to wake up Aimi. Also I don’t want to burn out my eyeballs with the 2 watt mini sun at 3am because while I can’t see without it, I’ll never get back to sleep with that sort of stimulus.

I could use my phone torch – it’s directionable and I can cover it so it’s not so bright. But that requires wayyy too much brain power to unlock, then slide the thingy and click in the right place on the summin thing next to that thing…. Not going to happen in my sleep addled state.

So I’ve come up with an ingenious, vastly complicated, technological and slick way of seeing when I need to get up for a pee. I’ve put some automated lights in the bedroom and hallway.

I’ve installed some smart LED strip lights around the base of our bed that I can set to give off a soft glow. I’m such a child but its looks awesome, like the bed is hovering!!! Only problem is that it legitimately looks like a homemade bomb under our bed… I’ve also got a lightbulb in the hallway that I can also control. Both of these can be set to any colour I like and controlled by a little thingy called Hubitat. On its own, it’s just a black box, about the size of a coaster, and about 2 cm thick. But, hook it up to your phone via Wifi and the smart lights and now it’s amazing.

When I want to get up for a pee, all I have to do is:

  • Unplug my phone from its charging cable.
  • The Macrodroid app senses the change in power connection
  • This sends a HTTP Get request to the Hubitat
  • Hubitat decides, based on the time of day, what brightness and colour to send to the lights
  • The LED strips and hallway light illuminate in a very soft red glow.

I can now see perfectly all the obstacles that might trip me up or yelp unexpectedly. The soft red glow preserves my heightened dark vision and doesn’t strain my eyes. The light is so soft, it doesn’t wake Aimi up (my movement does that, but I’ve done all I can at this point) And now I can go about my nocturnal micturition in safety.

Of course, to solve this very simple yet incredibly specific 1st world problem, it took quite a bit of tech. But I plan to be lazy and comfortable on a truly comprehensive scale about the house.

This is just the start…

This looks really bright, but that’s just because my camera got super excited about the pretty colour!