Best Sunrise Wake Up Alarm Clock
Wake up more naturally with simulated sunrise and nature sounds
Also called “sunrise alarm clock”, “light therapy alarm clock” or “mood alarms”, these clocks will get you up on the right side of the bed. The psychology behind light clocks is that using progressively brighter lights and colors, along with increasingly louder sounds, provides a gentler transition from sleep to waking.
Comparing this with a traditional alarm clock which comes on with a sudden burst of beeps, screeches or even your favorite AM/FM station, it’s not hard to understand why a subtle interruption to your sleeping starts the day on much more favorable state.
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Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock (HF3520) – about $100, is the top seller from Philips, an “Amazon Choice” and our favorite. It sports a colored sunrise simulation which gradually wakes you with a natural light lamp. We like that this is the lowest priced light therapy clock which comes on with a reddish glow, progressing through yellow to full white. Very much like a natural sunrise, and soothing to wake-up.
The sunrise features 20 brightness settings, with the light gradually increasing between 20 to 40 minutes prior to your wake-up alarm time.
If you want sound to go along with the sunrise, the Philips has a speaker that plays a choice of 5 wake-up sounds (Bird Song, Birds in the forest, Zen Garden, Gentle piano and Seaside Sounds). Alternatively, there is a standard FM radio you can set to your favorite station.
And no alarm clock would be complete with-out the tap-to-snooze feature, which this has.
In addition to the sunrise wake features, you can can set this for a sunset to help you get to sleep at night. Programmable for 15, 30, 45, or 60 minutes, the light intensity gradually decreases as it changes from white to yellow to red/pink, and finally to off. You get the same 5 sounds to act as a white-noise machine.
Alternatively, the light clock can be used as a bedside reading lamp with 10 brightness settings.
Another feature we like is that it has a back-up battery in case your power goes out during the night. No more worries about missing an important wake-up alarm in the morning.
It also has a second alarm for a back-up, or if your sleep partner is getting up at a different time.
The LED clock is an easy to read yellow / gold, and nicely dimmed to not keep you awake at night.
The only drawback we should note is there isn’t a USB charging port for your phone or other devices.
The clock is a reasonable 19.9 x 14.6 x 19.2 inches, and easily fits on a bedside nightstand. Philips offers a 90 Day No Hassle Money Back Guarantee, so you get 3 months to make sure it’s the right one for you.
Check out more detail, or to order, use this Amazon link: Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock (HF3520)
Philips Somneo Light Therapy Lamp, (HF3650/60) – about $150, is a full-featured Sleep and Wake-up clock with Sunrise Alarm and Sunset Fading Night Light. Similar to the Favorite choice above, the Somneo provides a red to yellow to white sunrise transition for waking up. For the additional cost, this comes with 5 different sun/light theme options to choose from instead of just a single one.
We like that this also has a “midnight” light function, in case you wake up in the middle of the night and need a soft night-light. Just tap the snooze button on the top of the unit to enable a dim orange glow . Tap the snooze button again to turn it off. Or you can leave it on for a night light.
We like the snooze button gives you 9-minutes, compared with a too-short 5-minutes on other devices. It would be nice if any of the clocks had an adjustable setting, but not that we’ve seen yet.
The Somneo also has 3 additional (8 versus 5) wake-up sounds, giving you more options to choose from.
Another interesting feature is the “RelaxBreathe” function. Philips explains this is “inspired by well-known breathing and relaxation exercises”. The light-guided wind-down function is designed to help get you to sleep by helping you decompress from the day’s activities and unwind. You select and follow one of seven rhythms of light intensity or sound with your breathing while keeping your eyes closed for a calm and peaceful transition from your day to your dreams.
We like the interesting shape and design of the Somneo, making it an attractive and decorative piece in the bedroom. At just 12.05 x 8.85 x 4.7 inches, it’s nicely compact but still easily controlled through the touch interface.
Unlike the lower price Philips sunrise alarm clock, this one come with a USB charging port, and an AUX port so that it can be used as speaker to play your own music. Note that it isn’t able to use your device as part of the wake-up sounds. You do still get the FM radio option though for wake-up, in addition to the natural sounds.
You can customize the smart display brightness or full dim clock display; It also has the built-in battery back-up in case of a power outage, as well as the 2 different alarm time settings.
It comes with the same 90 Day No Hassle Money Back Guarantee, as well as a full 2-Year Warranty from Philips.
If you want to get all the features, and don’t mind investing a little more, the Philips Somneo Light Therapy Lamp may be the one. Use the Amazon link for ordering or more information.
Totobay Wake Up Light – about $25, has all the basic features you’d want for a light and sound therapy alarm clock, but at a much lower price.
It has the Sunrise Simulation Wake Up Light – 30 minutes before your alarm time, the clock will be on from 10% of the brightness and step up to 100% at the alarm wake set time. The Sunset features works in reverse, starting at 100% and decreasing to fully off. The Totobay clock light has 7 colors including warm white, green, red, blue, purple, orange and indigo; It also works as warm white LED light with 10 adjustable brightness settings.
Similar to the Philips clocks, this one offers 6 Sounds (piano, violin, bagpipe, waves, birds and “DiDi” ) and an FM Radio option.
The snooze function only gives you 5-minutes between presses, which we think may be a little short but others prefer.
What separates the $25 Totobay from the more expensive Philips is the color spectrum of the light, how smooth the color / intensity transitions are, and the audio quality.
For more information or to order, use this Amazon link: Totobay Wake Up Light
hOmeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock – under $20, this is our top pick for a low-price, entry into light therapy alarm clocks. The hOmelabs is surprisingly well made for the price and impressed us with the features.
It combines 8 light options (green, red, blue, purple, yellow, aqua, orange, white) to create a wake-up sunrise over 30 minutes, or a go-to-sleep sunset. The main drawback is that it starts a bit brighter, at 50%, compared with 10% for the more expensive units.
It can also be set for a dimmed level to use as an all-night night-light.
There are only 3 nature-inspired sound options (birds, lullaby and ocean waves), and an AM/FM radio.
The LED clock face touchscreen is easy to read, and features 3 brightness settings.
We like that the hOmelabs alarm clock includes a USB charger, and backup battery measures.
At just 3.9 x 6.8 x 7.2 inches it’s nicely compact and could easily be used in a child’s room as well.
For ordering or more information, check this Amazon link: hOmeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock
Most people benefit from a more gradual awakening in the morning, with a sunrise type clock providing a more natural start to the day. Given that these light therapy clocks can cost about the same as a standard radio alarm clock, there really isn’t too much of a downside to using one.
We especially like that if you are already using or considering a white noise / sound machine for getting to sleep, you can get that function included in the sunrise clock. This eliminates having yet another gadget on your nightstand!
Here’s the list of clocks, along with Amazon links for more information or ordering:
Lowest Price – hOmeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock , under $20
Budget – Totobay Wake Up Light , about $25
Most Features – Philips Somneo , about $150
Top Pick – Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock , about $100
Let us know in the comments below which one of these works best for you. Pleasant dreams ….