The Best Wake-Up Light Alarm Clocks

By Amanda Lasater

We all know the feeling of waking up well-rested and ready to take on the day when the sun is rising, but it’s not so easy when it is pitch black outside. In fact, waking up with the sunrise – whether it be the real deal or artificial – helps to support your morning cortisol response. If you find yourself feeling desperate for coffee in the morning, with groggy eyes and tired limbs, this may mean you have low morning cortisol. 

Wake-up light alarm clocks can also help to balance out your “sleepy hormone,” also known as melatonin, in the morning and even throughout the rest of the day. This is because melatonin is sensitive to light, so with the use of a wake-up light alarm clock to simulate the rising sun, you will be naturally and positively affecting your levels of melatonin while waking up. 

If you’ve heard enough already about the benefits of wake-up light alarm clocks that simulate the sunrise, then read on to see our top picks:

Our Picks for the Best Wake-Up Light Alarm Clocks

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wake up light alarm clock

Best Technology


If bright white light makes you feel like you’re being blinded when waking up – try a red-tinted light that gradually evolves into white light. It helps you feel less groggy! 

Need a loud alarm clock as well? This clock has 20 volume settings, where you can wake up to an alarm, the radio, or peaceful morning sounds. There are also 20 brightness settings and 7 colors of LED Time display brightness. Pick from several alarm tones, and set multiple alarms for different schedules. Complete with a 15 minute snooze feature, it also functions as a night light and bedside lamp!

wake up light alarm clock

Best for Your Health

Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock with Sunrise Simulation 

Start your day right with the only alarm clock brand clinically proven to refresh you in the morning with natural light, and help you sleep better at night. 

Looking for natural light therapy when you open your eyes each morning? With 10 brightness settings, this clock also has a traditional snooze function and a beeping alarm feature to ensure you wake up.

wake up light alarm clock

Best Budget

Sunrise Alarm Clock by YOUSMART

If you’re looking to experience a natural sunset and sunrise inside your home, then you should try this clock by YouSmart.

 It will guide you to a natural, restful sleep and gently bring you out of a deep sleep in the morning. You can also choose between seven colors to help set the desired mood and ten brightness settings designed to best provide the dual function of a bedside lamp. Natural sounds, beeping, and the radio are included features. The clock can be powered by a wall charger or a USB port.

wake up light alarm clock

Best Luxury Option


You can truly have it all with this wake-up light alarm clock by Philips. Its capabilities include the simulation of a fading sunset and colorful sunrise for ideal slumber and waking up.

This clock also has a light therapy feature that is clinically proven to be beneficial for your overall health. There’s also a backup feature in case of a power failure for at least eight hours, preserving internal settings. This clock has a snooze feature as well as five wake up sounds.

What to Consider When Choosing Your Next Wake-Up Alarm Clock

Since waking up can be challenging, and with everyone being wired differently, we are in desperate need of customizable alarm clocks with features of which individuals can take advantage. Some people need the peace of mind established by nature sounds at night or in the morning, whereas others need a beeping alarm as loud as a foghorn to dig them out of their deep slumber.

What Kind of Sleeper Are You?

When shopping for the right wake-up light alarm clock, you need to know what kind of sleeping style suits you best. Can you sleep through the loudest thunderstorm, or do you awake at the sound of pin dropping? Would you benefit from light therapy to elevate your mood and energy levels at the start of each day?  

The use of natural light as a night light, a light to read books, or for gently waking up in the morning is an up-and-coming feature of alarm clocks. Ditch your old alarm clock that you always dreaded hearing in the morning and opt for one that wakes you up naturally, allowing you to feel well-rested. You may even want to skip the morning coffee after a couple uses of one of these wake-up alarm clocks!

The benefits of wake-up lights

The human body is fundamentally tied to the earth’s natural rhythms, and wake-up lights are designed with this theory in mind. Research shows exactly how these rhythms affect our health and wellbeing. For example, something called earthing, which refers to skin to earth connection, has been proven to lower stress hormones. Daylight is another way in which nature affects our wellbeing. It’s been shown that by replicating sunrise, you can balance hormones and support a healthy circadian rhythm.

  • A wake-up light supports morning cortisol response.
  • A wake-up light helps to balance the sleep hormone melatonin.
  • A wake-up light may help depression and seasonal affective disorder.


What is a wake-up light?

A wake-up light wakes you up using light instead of sound. These devices use a dawn simulation effect that wakes you up gently and without the sudden jolt of a conventional alarm clock. Wake-up lights not only wake you up from your sleep – they do so whilst helping you feel relaxed, refreshed and with good energy levels.

How do wake-up lights work?

Wake-up lights rely on the body’s sensitivity to light, imitating the effects that morning light has on the biological clock. They produce warm wake-up light that slowly gets brighter over a period of around 30 minutes before the set wake-up time. Once the light has reached peak intensity, you’ll be fully awake.

Do wake-up lights work?

In most cases, wake-up lights are very effective at helping you wake up in a more natural and pleasant way. These lights have been developed after extensive research into the body’s circadian rhythms and how they’re affected by sunlight. Some studies show that being awoken suddenly by sound raises cortisol levels, directly increasing stress and tiredness as well as low mood. A wake-up light can address these issues too.

Who needs a wake-up light?

Wake-up lights could be useful to anyone want to wake up in a better mood and more alert. If you don’t like being pulled suddenly out of sleep by a traditional alarm clock; you sleep in often after hitting in the snooze button too many times; or you wake up feeling dazed and sluggish, a wake-up light could be for you. Light alarm clocks are also well-suited to people who find it difficult to wake up during the winter; those who work night shifts; and people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder.


No-one enjoys waking up to a blaring alarm clock, and so it’s no surprise that a more peaceful way to begin the day has hit the mainstream. Wake-up lights provide a stress-free wake-up method that lets you skip the snooze button and avoid that morning grumpiness you may have become accustomed to. There are many wake-up lights on the market, all with varying designs, features and price tags. Hopefully this article has helped you to find one which will help you wake you up slowly and peacefully, leaving you feeling relaxed, reenergised and ready to face all that the day has to throw at you.

Rise Easy and Sleep Better With a Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock

Wake-up light alarm clocks wake you up gradually over a thirty minute period of emitting light. This light mimics the morning sunrise, and some can even mimic the sunset to benefit your bedtime routine. By the end of the thirty minutes, your room will be filled within about twenty times the strength of standard indoor lighting. If the light doesn’t wake you, many alarm clocks with this feature will then sound a beeping alarm to make sure you wake up. It’s a win-win!


The bottom line is, regardless of whether you have bought a new alarm clock recently, it is time to shop around and look at how recent advances in alarm clocks can benefit your sleeping and waking life. Take advantage of technologies that can improve your state of mind every morning and seize the day by starting each morning out on the right side of the bed. 

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