Are you a grump in the morning? Try a mood-altering, gentle wake up light
Banish beeping alarms and wake up as nature intended with our pick of the best wake up lights
The best wake-up light won’t just replace your alarm clock, but it’ll ensure you have a slower, gentler start to your day.
Dragging yourself out of bed is difficult at any time of the year. It’s definitely not aided by a startling, beeping alarm that can break the sleep cycle at the point at which your body is least ready for it.
Wake-up lights work to replicate the sunrise that would have naturally woken our ancestors. Still, year-round, it cancels out the circadian rhythm-confusing lack of morning light in winter. It carefully coaxes you into wakefulness using light and sound.
Take a look at our pick of the best and find a model that suits your sleep style (as well as your aesthetic). For more tech buys for your home, head to our technology hub page.
What is the best wake-up light?
Our favorite is the all-singing, all-dancing Lumie Bodyclock 250. Actually, it neither sings nor dances, but it is a highly customizable wake-up clock. It has a speed-controlled light with a range of 15 to 90 minutes (or anyone who really struggles to wake up).
Oh, and there’s a radio and noise options. Read down for more…
THE BEST WAKE UP LIGHTS
1. Lumie Bodyclock 250
Best wake-up light: lights, sounds, ready for action.
This is our pick of the best wake up light you can buy
Best for: Customisation
Power type: Mains with back-up battery
Lumie are the inventors of the original wake-up light, and to our judgment, their Bodyclock is still the best. The Bodyclock Active is a certified medical device recommended by sad.org.uk.
It wakes you with a gradually brightening light whose speed you can control within a range of 15 to 90 minutes. It’s perfect for the mornings when you really need to get going and those when you can afford a little more lie-in time.
Doubling as a bedside light and nightlight, it has many features. It has a snooze function, dimmable display, FM radio, and wake-up noise options, including white noise, waves, birdsong, and a rooster call. For its seemingly endless customization options, it’s our top choice.
- Simulates a natural and gradual sunrise which wakes you up gently. The standard settings are: An optional 0-minute sunset, A 0-minute sunrise, followed by an alarm beep.
- Gradual sunset gives your body the signal to wind down, helping you to fall asleep
- Optional backup beeper and power failure backup for reassurance
- Offers 6 different sound effects including white noise, rooster call and crashing waves as well as a digital FM tuner
- Dimmable bedside lamp for reading or soft lighting and intelligent LCD display fades to very low level when you want to sleep.42 W SES halogen
2. Philips SmartSleep Wake-up Light
Best wake up light: choose nature or natter with this clock radio meets wake-up light
Best for: Gentle wake-up
Power type: Mains
A very close second to the Lumie Bodyclock Active is the Philips SmartSleep Wake Up Light.
It’s another highly recommended and reliable option. The added distinction of looking really good on the bedside table thanks to its sleek, almost seamless design.
It’s clinically proven to make getting up less of a chore with light settings, plus a bank of seven natural sounds and radio function. Whether you prefer birdsong or your local station to get you out of bed in the morning, you’re all set.
In our opinion, this is the best wake-up light for a gentle wake-up.
- PERSONALIZATION: Simulated sunset and sunrise and choice of 5 different natural wake-up sounds
- SMART FEATURES: FM radio, tap snooze and automatic dimmable display
- MOOD AND ENERGY: proven to give you an easy and energetic wake-up and improve your mood in the morning
- Can be used as a bedside reading lamp with 10 brightness settings.
- SMART FEATURES: FM radio, tap snooze and automatic dimmable display
More: Smart Bedroom Gadgets
3. Withings Aura Connected Alarm Clock with Wake-Up Light & Sound System
Best Amazon wake up light: use sleep cycle analysis and room environment tracking to enhance sleeping habits
Best for: Tracking your sleep and adjusting your environment accordingly
Power type: Mains
Withings Aura Sistema Smart Sleep effectively combines a speaker, bedside lamp, and alarm clock. It also has sleep cycle analysis and room environment tracking to optimize sleep.
Its combination of scientifically designed blue light and music programs is intended to ensure users wake up energized during the best point of their sleep cycle.
In addition to helping users wake up, the Withings Aura is also designed to aid the process of falling asleep. With sleep-inducing programs and access to an unlimited choice of music with Spotify.
The best wake-up light for sleep analysis, we think.
- Sorry, Withings no longer provides support, updates or repairs for this product. Please visit our website for the latest product launches and news.
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4. Lumie Bodyclock Shine 300
Best wake up light with aromatherapy: a SAD wake-up lamp with a built-in aromatherapy feature
Best for: Immersive sleep experience
Power type: Mains
A unique take on the traditional Lumie wake-up light, the Lumie Bodyclock Iris 500 offers an aromatherapy option in addition to the basic features.
Capable of taking up to two diffusers, it’s now possible to wake up to a scent of your choice, in addition to a light and sound setting that suits. The best wake-up light for those who want an immersive sleep experience…
- Gradual sunrise to wake you naturally, feeling refreshed and wide awake. Sunrise duration of 15-90 minutes and choice of final light intensity. Add the radio or a wake sound alarm. Tap-control snooze.
- Unwind with a fading sunset and encourage easy sleep as the light dims. Choose a sunset duration between 15 and 90 minutes and relax with one of the sleep sounds.
- FM radio with 5 presets. 15 sleep/wake sounds including white noise.
- Mimics sunrise and sunset colours using mixed LEDs. Provides dimmable bedroom lighting. Light-sensitive auto-dimming display.
- From Lumie, the light therapy specialist that invented wake-up lights, 3-year warranty.
More: The Best Silk Sheets
5. Philips HF3500/60 Wake-Up Light
Best wake up light and alarm clock: combines the bedside lamp and alarm clock for the best of both worlds
Best for: Simple design
Power type: Mains
If you’re undecided about light alarm clocks, not fussed about nature sounds, and just want a simple model that builds on a standard sound alarm, the Philips HF3500/60 is the best wake-up light for you.
It’s a handsome stand-in for a bedside light and alarm clock. Its light settings are ample and varied, with ten different light intensities to choose from and adjustable brightness for the time display.
However, there’s just one alarm setting, so if you prefer to be gently enticed into wakefulness with birdsong, it may not be for you.
One final downside that some reviewers have flagged up is that the snooze feature can be quite tricky to activate. However, if it saves us from ourselves, we suppose, then all the better…
- CLINICALLY PROVEN*: Philips wake-up lights are recommended by physicians and pharmacists for establishing a healthy sleep and wake routine
- NATURAL WAKE-UP: Simulated sunrise and the sound, which gradually increases in volume to complete the wake up experience
- SMART FEATURES: Tap to snooze and reading lamp
- MOOD AND ENERGY: Proven to give you an easy and energetic wake-up and improve your mood in the morning
- MONEY BACK GUARANTEE: 90 Day No Hassle Money Back Guarantee from Philips
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6. Philips Hue Go White and Color Portable Smart Light Table Lamp
Best portable wake up light: a portable bedside lamp that encourages better sleep
Best for: Portability
Power type: Battery powered by charged by mains
What we love most about the Philips Hue Go light is its portability. You can easily pick it up and use it to guide you around in the dark.
This way you don’t have to turn on any powerful lights that will blast your eyes at five in the morning and properly get you out of deep sleep.
The Philips Hue Go is designed to slowly dim itself until it turns off, you can change this settings from your phone. Still, you can customize this in 15-minute intervals, with 60 minutes being the longest program.
You can obviously also leave it on indefinitely. You can use the Philips Hue Go app to customize your bedtime or morning routine, and you sync the light with other lights around your home.
The only downside is as it’s not voice-activated. You have to either use your phone to turn it off, which could interrupt your almost sleep or go old school and actually have to turn the light off manually.
- Battery Life Optimized for Different Usage: Cozy candle setting lasts 18 hours, Dimmed, ambient light lasts 10 hours, Colored light for creating custom scenes lasts 5 hours, and soft white light for reading lasts 2.5 hours. This light is perfect as a living room light, bedroom light, or kitchen light.
- Millions of Colors: Instantly set the mood for any occasion with 16 million colors of smart light.
- Set the Mood: Easily set the mood with Bluetooth-enabled LED smart bulbs and the easy-to-use Hue Bluetooth app. Control up to 10 smart lights in a room.
- Perfect for Entertainment: bring your movies, gaming, and music to life with Philips Hue color-capable smart lights and accessories that can flash, dim, brighten, and change color in sync with your media.
- Please Note: Hue Hub and other accessories sold separately: Hue Hub (sold separately) required. Accessories include the Philips Hue Play HDMI sync box (sold separately) or the Hue Sync desktop app.
Buying Guide – Wake Up Lights
The best wake-up light won’t just replace your alarm clock, but it’ll ensure you have a slower, gentler start to your day. Here are the main factors you need to consider when choosing one:
Brightness and Wake UpCycle
Wake-up lights come in all different forms, and some do a stellar job of replicating natural sunlight better than others. Choose between a single bar (which will gradually turn brighter and mimic the brightness of sunrise) or twin bars (which allow you to set an offset timer so that one bar turns on 30 minutes before the other).
If you want the most accurate simulation of dawn, then opt for an audio accompaniment like nature sounds or chirping birds, too. Some models also let you set an audio alarm. If this is important to you, check if the sound can be adjusted in volume and whether it has a sleep timer so that it fades out after a while.
Design and Aesthetics
There’s no denying that wake-up lights are more aesthetically pleasing than standard alarm clocks, but there’s still plenty of choices out there for fans of traditional design when it comes to choosing the right one for their home. There’s a big divide between those who want a digital display showing both time and temperature (which can double as your bedside clock) and those who would prefer a more decorative item on the bedside table.
Size and Power Source
There are two main types of wake-up lights: traditional plug-in models that need to be placed near a power source and more portable battery-powered units that can be taken anywhere you want. Not only will the cordless option save your home from being invaded by wires, but you’ll also have no problems bringing it on holiday with you as long as the right charger is packed.
It might sound obvious, but think about how much energy your wake-up light uses before buying one. It may not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, but if you try to keep your room as dark as possible to allow yourself enough rest, then waking up to a bright light first thing each morning won’t help.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do wake-up lights work?
Wake-up lights start out dim and gradually get brighter, mimicking the sunrise that would happen in nature – that’s why they’re such an effective way of waking up naturally.
When should I use a wake-up light?
If you struggle with early mornings but don’t want to set your alarm clock earlier or rely on caffeine to give you an energy boost, then opt for a wake-up light instead. They keep you gently entertained until it’s time to get up, meaning you’ll feel much more refreshed when you eventually do.
What is a sunrise alarm?
A sunrise alarm is a wake-up light that gradually fills your room with light from the base upwards instead of from the top down. It works in much the same way as a traditional wake-up light but fills your room with light first and gets brighter over time rather than starting dim and getting brighter. They come in two separate bars – one at eye level and one closer to floor level – which can be set to different times so that they turn on 30 minutes before each other to give you an earlier warning of when it’s time for bed.
What is dawn simulation?
Dawn simulation wakes you up by filling your room with natural light from the base upwards, gradually lighting up at first but then getting brighter over the course of 30 minutes. For many people, dawn simulators are more effective than traditional wake-up lights because they combine visual cues, too – so when it gets bright enough in your room, you can’t help but notice.
How long should I fall asleep listening to my wake-up light?
How long you listen to your wake-up light is entirely down to personal preference, but most people find that listening for 45 minutes is an ideal length of time. You can use the timer on the unit if it has one or simply fall asleep when you feel tired. How long they’re played for will also depend on whether you prefer music or nature sounds; it could be anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour.
Is a wake-up light better than using an alarm clock?
A traditional alarm clock blasts out a loud noise as soon as your snooze button is pressed, meaning it takes much longer for your brain to register that it isn’t time to sleep anymore. That’s not the case with wake-up lights, which help your body adjust before you gradually wake up.
How long should I listen to my wake-up light for?
Which sound you opt for is largely down to personal preference, but most people find that listening for 45 minutes is an ideal length of time. You can use the timer on the unit if it has one or simply fall asleep when you feel tired. How long they’re played for will also depend on whether you prefer music or nature sounds; it could be anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour.
Will using a wake-up light help me get to sleep?
Listening to your wake-up light for the last 45 minutes before bed should leave you feeling relaxed and ready to fall asleep quickly. If you’re struggling with getting to sleep, try listening to gentle music or nature sounds instead of alarms meant to ease you into sleep.
Why is my wake-up light so expensive?
Traditional alarm clocks require costly batteries to function, whereas wake-up lights are powered by your mains supply, meaning that they’re far more cost-efficient in the long run. The fact that traditional alarm clocks also have a limited lifespan also factors into the price of wake-up lights.
How long should I sleep with my wake-up light on?
Most people find that 45 minutes is the ideal length of time. You can use the timer on the unit if it has one or simply fall asleep when you feel tired. How long they’re played for will also depend on whether you prefer music or nature sounds; it could be anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour.
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Last update on 2021-10-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API