Ditch the loud alarm—wake-up light alarm clocks help you start your day a more peaceful way.
Hate being jolted awake by your alarm clock every morning? There’s a way to bypass that awful adrenaline rush: a wake-up light alarm clock, also known as a sunrise alarm clock. These devices sit on your bedside table like an alarm clock, but instead of rousing you with sound, they rely on light to ease you awake gradually over about 30 minutes.
“It’s a natural, positive thing to wake up with light in the morning and then have it disappear in the evening,” says Chris Winter, MD, a Virginia-based neurologist and sleep expert. “Especially for younger people, a lot of bright light in the morning can help wake you up.”
When shopping for a wake-up light, choose one with a back-up alarm. If you’re a heavy sleeper, this feature will ensure you wake up even if the light doesn’t rouse you. The majority of wake-up lights feature digital clocks and a variety of soothing sounds and lights in a range of styles and price points. Here, we share several wake-up light alarm clocks that will make getting up in the morning a little smoother.
Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light
This alarm clock light slowly increases in intensity, shifting from soft dawn red to warm orange to bright yellow over a period of 30 minutes. If you’re somehow still sleeping when the room is fully lit, it uses sound as a last resort, with the choice of FM radio or five natural sounds (including birds chirping and ocean waves). With over 5,000 five-star ratings, you really can't go wrong.
One reviewer said: "This thing is a game changer! I got it because I got tired of being owned by my phone. It used to be the last thing I checked before going to bed, and the first thing I would check in the morning. I can set this for the "sun to set" at 15, 30, 45, or 60 minutes later. So I set it, and I get in bed and read a book for an hour. Then the "sun goes down" gradually, and I go to bed. Eight hours later, the "sun" starts coming up gradually. So gradually, that at the beginning, you don't even notice. It doesn't jolt you awake. You wake up gradually. This thing is perfect. I'm reading more, sleeping a lot better, and I don't even remember anymore to grab my phone to check social media in the mornings."
Philips SmartSleep Connected Sleep and Wake-Up Light
Another option from Philips, this alarm clock includes a gradually glowing light plus nature sounds so you can start your morning to the tune of crashing ocean waves or chirping birds rather than a blaring alarm. Not to mention, it features a light-guided wind-down function; follow up to seven rhythms of light or sound with your breathing while keeping your eyes closed to transition from a hectic day to sweet dreams.
"I struggle to fall asleep at night and wake up every morning. I dread the alarm, hit snooze constantly, and always seem to be running late. This alarm is totally customizable and wakes me up when I need to be up, helps me fall asleep at night, and has a unique attractive appearance on my night stand. Best money spent on any sleep-related device!" said a shopper.
Lumie Bodyclock Active 250 Wake-Up Light
If you love sleeping in a pitch-black room, this device is the perfect fit. It allows you to turn off the digital clock’s analog light, so you’re consumed in nothing but darkness until the morning when the wake-up light starts to glow. It also has six sound effects—including white noise, crashing waves, and a rooster call—along with a digital FM tuner. Also nice: It has a dimmable bedside lamp for reading.
"After reading reviews of various light alarms, I chose this one for two main reasons: 1) it does not have an LED light, but a soft yellow when dimmed and a pleasant bright light when fully illuminated and 2) able to turn the display completely off so that the room is dark. After decades of being jarred awake in the morning, this is much more pleasant," shared a customer.
AMIR Wake-Up Light Beside Lamp Alarm Clock
Because this clock stimulates the sunrise with an adjustable wake-up light 30 minutes before your alarm is meant to go off, you’ll feel relaxed and rested rather than agitated and looking to hit the snooze button. Bonus: it has eight natural alarm sounds and three brightness modes, which makes it a nifty bedside lamp for reading, too.
"I love this alarm clock!" raved a buyer. "Starts the lighting up like the sunrise half hour before I wake up and I like the options for the alarm that don't blare at me. Helps me wake up easier and feeling more rested, as I am not a morning person at all. I love how it wakes me up and that's why I bought it!"
Homagical Store Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock
Far from an eyesore, this brown wood grain clock looks chic beside any bed. Not only does it have a wake-up light (choose from seven colors) to gently wake you, but it also has a “sunset” function that will guide you peacefully to sleep. Also good: Choose an alarm from an array of nature sounds or tunes from your favorite FM radio station.
One reviewer wrote: "I definitely love this kind of clock. I use it as a clock, alarm, radio, night light and desk lamp. The light has a modern look with the adjustable brightness. There are 7 colors for you to choose. You can adjust the brightness to make it a night light or desk lamp. I was amazed when the alarm woke me up the first morning. The whole clock lights up with the warm sunrise light and bird sound. Recommend!"
iHome Zenergy Aroma Bluetooth Therapy Speaker with Lighting
A bluetooth speaker with all the bells and whistles, literally. The iHome Zenergy combines aromatherapy (just insert one of the included essential oils), sound therapy, and light therapy to create the ideal soothing environment so that you can fall asleep or wake up stress-free. Perfect for naps, it has a sleep timer you can set for 30-90 minutes to get in the perfect snooze.
"I love this thing! I didn't have high hopes for it as far as sleep assistance...thought I would end up putting it in my "beach room" as a novelty. But...it actually works! I use the light, aromatherapy, and sound features and they do help. It took a few nights for me to get used to having sound while I tried to sleep, but I found it soothing," noted a shopper.
Philips SmartSleep HF3500/60 Wake-Up Light
If you're a fan of Philips, but not a fan of the price tag, this is an affordable pick from the trusted brand that will get the job done. It’s clinically proven to improve your sleep, energy, and ability to function in the mornings, so you’ll be less likely to hit the snooze button.
"I wished I had found this say... 10 years ago?? Total game changer. I’m a 0500 Peloton rider and it’s hard for me to get up without feeling totally pissed. The first night I used this light clock, I set it for 0450 but woke up at 0448 on my own... feeling totally refreshed and not pissed! For once; I was actually on time for my 0500 ride and felt fully awake when I got on my bike! If you’re a struggling early riser, get it now!" recommended a customer.
Elfeland Wake Up Light Alarm Clock
This budget-friendly option stimulates the sunrise 30 minutes before the alarm goes off to gradually and gently wake you from your sleep. It also has five alarm sounds inspired by nature and a snooze function, which gives you five extra minutes of slumber.
One buyer says this is the first alarm clock to ever work for them: "I have an extremely hard time waking up when the sun isn't up. Every winter I have at least a couple mornings where I sleep through all my alarms (at least 5, all loud, all different) and wake up with a worryingly well rested feeling, sometime after I was supposed to be at work. This clock is perfect! I wake up every morning easily, naturally and on time."
Jall Store Wake Up Light Alarm Clock
While it might be cheap, this wake-up light alarm clock has still managed to earn an impressive 4.7 rating, with nearly 5,000 global reviews—which is pretty solid, to say the least. Designed for everyone from heavy sleepers to kids, it stimulates the sunrise from 10 to 30 minutes before the alarm setting time. Plus, it has seven light intensities, seven natural alarm sounds (think: birdsong, ocean waves, wind bells, piano music, and more), and a FM tuner.
One reviewer wrote: "I spent a couple weeks looking at different sunrise simulation alarm clocks before deciding to purchase this one and I am so glad I did. The instructions were detailed and very easy to follow, the clock itself has a ton of features (max brightness, alarm sound, alarm volume, time it takes to get to full brightness, different colors, night mode, snooze), and it has worked perfectly since I have received it. It has made waking up so much nicer as I am one to easily oversleep and wake up upset to my loud alarms. I've been telling my friends and family about it - 10/10 recommend."