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All of us have struggled to get out of bed in the morning. When that dreaded alarm shatters your blissful slumber, the temptation to hit the snooze button repeatedly can be overwhelming. Having trouble getting out of bed can be a problem at any time of year, but dark winter mornings are undoubtedly the worst. Rising before the sun is not only unpleasant, but simply unnatural, so it is no wonder we feel awful when it goes off. One solution to make mornings calmer is to use the best wake-up light. Since these mimic the sunrise, others also call it a sunrise alarm clock. It gently wakes you with light, rather than a harsh alarm, leaving you feeling refreshed and ready to face the day. In this review, we examine the top 7 in the UK, so you can decide which one is the best sunrise alarm clock to help you rise and shine!
How We Compared Wake-Up Lights
To find the right wake-up lights we considered multiple factors including:
- Brightness level
- Light source
- Colour Temperature
Our team planned comparison points and specifically looked for products that would cater to all kinds of needs. We spent countless hours researching, consulting customer reviews and comparing features to come up with this list.
To find out more about our process please see here.
Best Wake-Up Light Reviews – Top 7 Picks
The Philips HF3520/01 is one of the most popular models in the Philips range.
Offering 20 different brightness settings, 5 sounds, a digital FM radio and an incredibly bright 300 Lux LED light, it has something for everyone.
The shape of this clock almost resembles that of a cone speaker. It has a large, flat face, which gently curves at the edges – tapering to a narrower, wedge-like shape at the back.
The exterior of the light is a clean and contemporary white colour which will suit any room. Its time display is a gentle, non-intrusive deep-yellow hue. The brightness of the time display can be adjusted to suit the users liking, and will also automatically adjust to the ambient light level in the room.
Philips HF3520/01 also features a number of easy-to-reach buttons located around the rim of the light face. Some of these buttons are positioned in small groups depending on their function.
Simply set the time you wish to wake and this will slowly brighten prior to your chosen wake time. The light starts at a low orange glow, gradually building to a bright yellow light which simulates a natural sunrise. If you find the maximum brightness too harsh, you can simply adjust it to one of 20 other intensities to suit your preferences.
For those users who are particularly heavy sleepers, at the set wake time, a sound will play to make sure you are completely awoken. There are five different nature sounds to choose from, but if birds chirping isn’t your thing, you can set the FM radio to come on instead.
The chosen sound will start at a low volume and gradually increase, so as not to startle the user like a traditional alarm. However, some sunrise alarm clock reviews reported that the FM radio experienced interference when the light is illuminated.
This offers a snooze mode which will stop for several minutes before it begins to gently play again. One downside with this feature is that some people found it was easy to mistakenly turn it off altogether.
A further benefit of this is the inclusion of a dedicated ‘sunset mode’. Just like the waking function but in reverse, the sunset mode gradually decreases the lighting and sound level to darkness and silence, thus stimulating the user to fall into a naturally restful sleep.
Overall, this product is very effective and easy to use, but some people said the instructions weren’t the easiest to understand at first.
- 20 available brightness settings to 300 lux
- Digital clock adjusts to ambient light
- 3 nature sounds and FM radio
- Sunset sleep mode
- Contemporary design
- Some people said the light interferes with radio quality
- Easy to accidentally turn the alarm off
- Manual can be difficult to understand
If you are searching for a wake-up light that is not only functional but stylish as well, The Philips HF3651/01 could check all of your boxes. It has a variety of advanced features and comes in a beautifully sleek package.
This Philips wake up light features personalised sun settings that allow you to alter the brightness level of the light to suit your specific preference. Once activated, the light gradually increases and circulates through the natural colours of the sun at a predetermined time. Then, towards the end of the sunrise cycle, the addition of natural sounds or the built-in FM radio joins the mix.
We love that this wake-up light can also simulate the sunset to help you wind down and get ready for sleep. You can also choose to add natural sounds or the radio to this function as well. It also has a bonus light-guided breathing function called Relax Breath that allows you to use it as a meditation tool for further relaxation. To top it all off, it also has a midnight light, reading light, and an easy tap snooze function.
This may be designed to be used as an alarm clock, but you may be surprised to learn it does not have a traditional beeping alarm sound option. In addition, we think the sound quality could be improved, and there is no option for it to be battery operated.
- Multiple brightness options
- Sunrise and sunset simulation
- FM radio and natural sounds
- Light guided breathing setting
- Reading and midnight light
- May lack a beeping alarm sound
- The sound quality could be lacking
- May not include an option for batteries
The Philips HF3531/01 wake up light is a fabulous option on our list, bringing you a variety of functional features. It is equipped with variable sounds, including an FM radio, and also has an intuitive dimming and brightening function.
This wake-up light features various natural sounds that include birds singing, zen garden, birds in the woods, and sea sounds. In addition to the gradually increasing noise provided by the sound of your choosing, the light also cycles through the natural colour pattern of the rising sun until eventually, your room is filled with bright yellow “sunlight.”
Even with the gradual increase of light and sound, some people still like the option for a snooze function, and this wake-up light has got you covered. By simply tapping the light, you can delay the cycle by 9 minutes. It also has a touch-activated Midnight Light, a dim orange light intentionally designed to be subtle and not interrupt your sleep.
Unfortunately, the instruction booklet included with this device is not very thorough, and the design requires you to reactivate the alarm on a daily basis. Lastly, we have reason to believe the iPhone app is outdated and may no longer work properly.
- Intuitive dimming display
- Midnight light
- FM radio
- Sunrise colour simulation
- Various natural sound options
- Instruction booklet may be less detailed
- May require daily alarm reactivation
- iPhone app may not function
The Philips HF3505/01 Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock is a lower priced option to the previous model we looked at earlier. It has slightly fewer attributes, but it is still a fantastic solution to the winter blues.
This lightweight wake-up light offers a very modern and unusual design. The round face is very slim and looks like a disk with a small stand behind it to keep it upright.
The clock face and controls are located in the centre, surrounded by a large ring of light. Nine buttons are situated evenly around the time display, but they can be quite awkward to press without pushing the light away from you. However, because of the compact design, this is perfect for those who have little space on their bedside table.
Just like other models we have seen, this aims to slowly raise you from your slumber by progressively increasing the light level in the room over 30 minutes. Simply set the time you need to get out of bed, and by this time the light will have reached its maximum level, naturally waking you.
Of course, sensitivity to light can vary among individuals, so this allows the user to choose between 10 different light intensities.
The highest setting is 200 lux, which should be plenty bright enough to wake most individuals. On the other hand, if you are particularly sensitive to light, the brightness of the digital display clock can be reduced, but cannot be turned off altogether.
Once the wake time comes around, the user has a choice of two nature sounds or FM radio. The volume starts low and gently increases to make sure you are fully awake, without startling you. Should you not feel ready to rise from the comfort of your bed yet, you can tap on the body of the light anywhere to activate a 9-minute snooze mode.
One downside of this model is the lack of a battery backup function. Unfortunately, this means if you experience a power cut during the night, your alarms will not go off.
As well as being a natural light alarm clock, you can use it as a bedside light. However, unlike other models we have seen, it doesn’t offer a sunset mode to help you wind down for sleep.
Furthermore, it has an easy setup where once all your settings have been entered, you are unlikely to need to alter them again. On the other hand, instructions are not particularly detailed and some users found them confusing.
- Strikingly modern design
- Doesn’t take up much space
- 30-minute sunrise function
- 2 nature sounds and FM radio
- Up to 200 lux brightness
- No battery backup
- No sunset option
- Instructions are basic
Proven to help with winter blues and SAD, the Lumie Bodyclock Rise 100 uses a natural sunrise effect to wake you up gradually. Hence, you would feel more energetic and refreshed in the morning. Similarly, for a good night’s sleep, there is also a wind-down sunset setting to help you to relax and prepare your mind and body for sleep.
If you find it difficult to get up in the morning, then this light-up alarm clock could definitely help during dark winter weeks. There is also an audible alert that can be easily silenced with a tap-control snooze. The fully dimmable light can be used as a night light, making this compact model a good choice for young children as well as adults. The light-sensitive display automatically dims at night to help improve your sleep.
While this is an excellent way to wake up feeling more refreshed, for what it is – there are plenty of other cheaper models around. This makes the Bodyclock Rise 100 seem a little overpriced. What’s more, the alarm is not very loud, even at its highest setting. Hence, you may still have to rely upon other alarms. Lastly, while this version will save your alarm time, you’ll need to set it to go off every night. Otherwise, you won’t get woken up the following morning.
- Sunset and sunrise light programmes
- Optional alarm beep
- Tap-control snooze
- Fully dimmable lighting
- Light sensitive display
- Alarm tone could be louder
- Alarm must be set every night
The Lumie Luxe 750DAB Bodyclock wake-up light has a beautiful, contemporary design that will look the part on any bedside table. Featuring a curved glass top and a black speaker base, the small display screen is located bottom centre, set into a black plastic band underneath the glass dome.
A series of small buttons surround the digital display, allowing convenient access to the functions and various settings. Unlike other products in this review, this has a USB port at the back, so the user can charge their devices or play their own music through the speakers.
Once you have input your waking time, it will start to gently illuminate to reach full brightness by that time. Due to the use of mixed LED lights, the colours replicate that of a real sunrise very closely making this the best SAD alarm clock on the market.
Users have the option for the sunrise simulation to begin anywhere between 15 and 90 minutes before the wake time. Furthermore, the intensity of the lighting can also be adjusted to suit the users’ preferences.
While most people will be awaked solely by the light, this offers over 20 sound effects, as well as DAB radio as an optional alarm. However, some people felt the radio reception could be better.
When it’s time for bed, it uses a non-stimulating, low-blue lighting, which simulates a sunset by gradually fading to nothing, helping you to drift off into a restful sleep.
The time display is completely dimmable, so as not to disturb users during the night. If a power cut occurs, time is kept for a few minutes, but there’s no backup battery option.
- Contemporary design
- USB port
- Over 20 sound effects
- Realistic sunrise and sunset mode
- DAB radio
- Radio reception could be improved
- Controls are a bit fiddly
- No backup battery
The Lumie Bodyclock Starter 30 Alarm Clock is a great choice for those gloomy winter mornings.
Having both a sunrise and sunset function, as well as a backup alarm; this should leave you feeling refreshed and ready to face the day.
The sleek curved lamp design resembles a half-circle, almost mimicking a sun in its shape. It has a solid white base, an indented control panel and clock face just below centre. Its buttons do feel a little cheap to the touch, but this lamp is one of the lower-priced options on the market. This is relatively compact and looks subtle in the room.
The brightness of the clock display can be reduced or even completely turned off. This is a great feature for people who are light sleepers and may be disturbed by the glow during the night.
To use this, all you need to do is set the time you wish to wake, and it will do the rest.
The lamp will start lighting up 30 minutes before your wake time, slowly increasing in brightness until it reaches its peak at your preferred time. There is a backup alarm option just in case the light alone doesn’t wake you, but there is only one sound to choose from. Some users found this to be quite a harsh beep.
The bulb used in this model is a halogen bulb, not an LED one. Therefore when being used as night lights or reading lights, it is important to be aware that the lamp can get rather hot.
This also offers a sunset mode to help the user relax after a long day and get ready for sleep. The lamp gradually decreases from full brightness to being completely off over a period of 30 minutes.
This product is relatively hassle-free to set up. A 42-watt bulb is included, and the user simply needs to pull the dome away from the base to screw the bulb in. The dome then easily clicks back into place.
Some people found that it didn’t keep time very well and that they had to regularly reset it.
- Sleek, compact design
- 30-minute sunrise/sunset modes
- Backup alarm
- Time display can be dimmed or switched off
- Easy to set up
- Buttons feel a bit cheap
- Alarm is a little harsh
- Doesn’t keep time very well
What Are the Benefits of Using a Sunrise Alarm Clock?
We go to great extents to relax like soaking on a hot tub or having a long shower. That being said, we should make sure we wake up relaxed as well and daylight alarm clocks are great in achieving this. Now that we have seen some of the best sunrise alarm clocks on the market, let’s examine some of the benefits of using them over traditional alarm clocks.
Millions of years ago, long before the invention of artificial lighting, the human body evolved to wake with the sunrise, and sleep with the sunset. As diurnal creatures, our eyes have specialised receptors, which stimulate wakefulness hormones upon sensing increasing light levels.
In modern times, we often have to rise from our bed long before the sun will come up. Waking up in darkness is an unnatural act for humans, so it is understandably unpleasant and sometimes incredibly difficult.
The use of the best wake-up light fools the body into thinking that dawn has broken, meaning you will wake naturally with the light.
Feel More Alert
The harsh beeping of your alarm may wake you up, but it often leaves you feeling groggy and sluggish.
This is because your body has been rudely startled awake; instead of gradually and naturally transitioning from a state of deep sleep to full alertness. The lethargic feeling can take an hour or more to completely pass and makes leaving your bed and getting on with your day seem almost tortuous.
By using the a sunrise alarm clock, your body will have transitioned out of deep sleep slowly with the increasing light, just as nature intended. Thus, it increases energy levels and makes getting up much easier.
Many wake-up light reviews report that the user’s productivity throughout the day also increased once they start using a dawn simulator alarm clock.
Improves Your Health
Seasonal Affective Disorder or ‘SAD’ is a condition which is suffered by one in three people in the UK every year. Women are more susceptible to SAD than men, being up to 40% more likely to be diagnosed.
SAD is a form of depression caused by a lack of daylight. It presents during the short days of the winter months, and is often simply referred to as the ‘winter blues’ or ‘winter depression’.
Clinical studies have shown that exposure to light has the ability to have a positive effect on physical fitness and psychological well-being. SAD sufferers often use light therapy as an effective treatment to lift their mood.
Using a sunrise simulation alarm clock is a great way to ward off SAD during the darker months of the year. Waking up to a bright room, rather than a pitch-black one, is enough to make a vast improvement to your health and fitness.
Furthermore, they usually offer a special sunset mode to help users naturally wind down in preparation for bed. The use of this mode can improve sleep quality, which in turn is incredibly beneficial to overall health.
How To Choose A Sunrise Alarm Clock
When deciding which to choose, there are a number of factors to consider. In this section, we take a look at some of the most important ones:
It will come as no surprise that the maximum brightness is one of the most important considerations to take into account. Essentially, the brighter the light, the more effective it will be at waking you.
The light intensity of sunrise simulator alarm clocks is measured in a unit called illuminance or luminous emittance, ‘lux’ for short.
In general, sunrise alarm clocks will be somewhere between 100 and 300 lux at their maximum. The lux rating tends to increase with the price, so it is best to go for the lux rating you can afford to buy at a brightness that suits you.
The light source is more a case of personal preference. The vast majority of daylight alarm clocks use LED lights. These are energy efficient and are available in many colours. They also have a very long life, which is beneficial because they are usually very hard to replace.
However, some sunrise alarm clocks use halogen bulbs instead of LEDs. These are easier to replace, and some people simply prefer halogen lights over LED lights. One thing to be aware of is that halogen bulbs can get very hot with prolonged use.
As you will be aware, sunrise doesn’t consist of just one colour. Therefore, further important consideration is the colour temperature of the light used by your sunrise alarm.
More expensive models often have a number of different coloured lights, which are blended to create a very realistic sunrise effect. In these cases, the light will transform from a deep red/orange through to a bright yellow/white light when it is time for you to get up.
On the other hand, basic sunrise alarms will often only feature one colour of light, such as white or yellow, which simply gets brighter as time passes. Both types will work in terms of waking you up, but those which have more than one colour are best.
While it is true that all of the sunrise alarm clocks we have seen will brighten dark mornings and help you get out of bed, the best sunrise alarm clock for us has to be the Philips HF3520/01.
We simply love how this has something for everyone. Offering both a sunrise and sunset mode, multiple alarm choices and 20 brightness settings, it certainly doesn’t skimp on features.
Furthermore, the cool, contemporary design is sturdy and will look great in any room. The option to dim the digital clock is another great feature. Additionally, we were impressed by its ability to auto-adjust to ambient light too.
Overall, if you are looking for the best wake-up light to help you survive winter, we think the Philips HF3520/01 is the one for you.