Alarm clocks are great when it comes to waking you up every morning. With their loud sound ringing out while you’re dozing off in peaceful slumber, however, waking up to the sound of an alarm clock can be a jarring experience. Fortunately, they’re not the only game in town, with sunrise alarm clocks having proved an equally potent tool to get you out of bed consistently. Even better, they do it in a gentler, more natural manner that eases you into a waking state using dynamic lighting that simulates the rays of the sun slowly lighting up the room.
Because they wake you up in a way that’s in line with the body’s natural tendencies of waking in conjunction with the sunrise, they greatly reduce those drowsy, disorienting sensations that many people go through after waking up abruptly. Suffice to say, they wake you up a lot better than a traditional alarm clock ever could.
Not all sunrise alarms work the same way. Some offer basic functionality, simply emitting a light that gets brighter over a certain period. Others are more complex, simulating natural light cycles like dawn and dusk in greater detail, allowing it to better prepare your body to wake up during sunrise. Whichever the case, nearly everyone we know who’s tried some kind of sunrise alarm highly prefer it over their traditional sound alarms for waking up every morning.
These are the best sunrise alarm clocks.
Amazon Echo Glow
While this device is marketed as a smart lamp for kids, it can actually function as one of the most affordable sunrise alarms you can get. To use it for that purpose, simply set up a routine that will gradually brighten the light in a specific color over a time period of your choosing. Granted, you’ll have to do some more fiddling to get the timing of the gradual brightness and any light color changes you want, but it can really fill in the sunrise alarm function just fine. The only real downside is the fact that it doesn’t come with a speaker, so you won’t get an accompanying sound when it’s time to get up. Of course, you can always use it in conjunction with an Echo speaker to get both light and sound with just a little more fiddling on your part.
If you want a sunrise alarm without having to spend a premium on expensive options, this one offers the basics at a very economical price. For its sunrise program, it uses a lightly-tinted white light that gradually intensifies over 30 minutes. While it’s not quite as warm, soothing, or bright (only 120 lux) as other options in this list, it recreates the sensation of slowly lighting up the room well enough to wake you up just fine. It also has a sunset program that slowly dims the light as you go to sleep, three brightness settings for lamp use, an AM/FM radio, and, of course, a digital time display. Aside from its white light, it also comes with seven different light color settings, in case you want to use it as a mood light to set the tone in the room.
While its single shade of light eliminates the ability to properly simulate the sun breaking out during dawn, the warm yellow light does make for a gorgeously warm hue to wake up to every morning. You can set the length of time the light gradually brightens from 15 to 90 minutes (at 15-minute increments), with a design that throws its light in all directions, allowing it to evenly brighten up an entire room. It comes with both sunset and sunrise programs, too, so it can help lull you to sleep if you need the assistance, with Casper offering the option to pair multiple units of the light, allowing you to use several of these to brighten up even the biggest rooms. All the settings, by the way, can be controlled from the companion app, so you only need to fiddle with one interface to set multiple units to work together in unison.
This sunrise alarm brings realistic dawn and dusk simulation, making it extremely versatile when it comes to recreating natural lighting. That means, it can prepare your body to fall asleep by slowly decreasing light in the room just as much as it can prepare it for wakefulness by slowly increasing the brightness. It stirs you out of bed with a light that gradually fills the room, going from a soft morning red to a bright orange glow over 30 minutes to rouse you up in the gentlest way possible, so you awaken refreshed and full of energy. It also comes with five alarm tones, an FM radio, and 20 different brightness settings.
This device combines a sunrise alarm with a sound machine, putting together a pair of popular sleep gadgets in a single bedside contraption. As a sunrise alarm, it doesn’t have the same realistic dawn and dusk simulation as some lights in this price range, instead allowing you to choose the color of light you want to wake you up gently every morning. Even better, it allows for detailed personalization, allowing you to set the light to run multiple light programs in succession (you can add up to 10 steps), so you can really dial in a custom light experience, whether you’re looking to wind down late in the night or wake up early in the morning. Basically, it allows you to play around with the lights way more than any product we’ve seen.
Since it doubles as a sound machine, it offers over 30 sound options (we really like that rain sound) to either wake you up or lull you to slumber. It also has stories and guided meditations, although those come with an annual subscription (it’s free for the first month). Of course, you can choose not to pay for the extras and simply use the basic sounds, since they do the job just fine. All of the adjustments can be made from the companion app, although the device itself does come with a few buttons that you can use to set volume and brightness with ease.
Philips SmartSleep Connected Sleep and Wake-Up Light HF3670/60
This is a lighter, more streamlined, and more expensive version of Philips’ sub-$100 SmartSleep alarm, bringing all the same features that make its predecessor such an excellent tool with a number of handy extras. Compared to the HF3520, this model is brighter (315 lux versus 300 lux), while offering more brightness settings (25 versus 20) and wake-up sounds (eight versus five). It also comes with four relaxation sounds to help you sleep during the sunset program, an app that offers deeper personalization, an AmbiTrack sensor (measures temperature, noise, light, and humidity levels), and a USB charging port, so you can use it to charge your phone overnight.