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 a few lights that will make your morning wake up a little smoother.
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1. Philips 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.
2. Rise & Shine Wake Up and Color Changing Light
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.
3. Electrohome Retro Alarm Clock Radio with Motion Activated Night Light
This alarm-clock-meets-wake-up-light has every feature you could possibly want, all tied into one retro design. This model features a wake-up light, a backup alarm, an LED display, and even a motion-sensing night light for the occasional mid-sleep bathroom break. At only $30, this little guy is worth a try, even if you’re a wake-up light skeptic.
4. 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.
5. Nature Bright Sun Bliss 2 in 1 Portable Light Therapy and Wake-Up Light
Take your wake-up light everywhere you go with this mini version. The light includes 10,000 tiny LED panels that simulate a sunrise. You can also use this light to boost your mood—just sit in front of the faux rays for 30 minutes for a bit of light therapy.
6. One Touch Sleep System with Natural Wake Light
Sharper Image’s version of the wake-up light not only helps you rise peacefully, but also monitors your sleep patterns to ensure you have an overall better quality of sleep. Use the compatible app to get daily, weekly, and monthly reports to your smartphone. This light includes soothing sounds for an extra dose of relaxation, too.