Waking up isn’t easy: hitting snooze, the catalogue of iPhone alarm tone monstrosities and facing morning chills. As the cooler season approaches, we need a less demanding wakeup-method that can help us start the day peacefully.
A sunrise alarm (also known as a wake-up light) is a gentle option that could make crawling out from under the duvet marginally less terrible. Instead of a blaring tone, it wakes you naturally with a light that increases gradually for around 30 minutes.
Besides waking you up, sunrise alarms can also be helpful to those who suffer with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) in the darker winter months. Light therapy has been used for years as a treatment for SAD, and there are plenty of affordable sunrise alarms on the market that make it easier to try this method at home. The light produced by these products stimulate the sunlight that is missing during the cold season.
Lots of sunrise alarms come with an adjustable timer as well as a variety of sound features – which is ideal if you’re a heavy sleeper. When snapping one up, it’s important to check that the maximum brightness level is high enough to rouse you from rest (most range between 100-300 lux). Additional ‘sunset’ effects mean you can also use your alarm to wind down at night with a slowly fading light.
Here are some of our favourite sunrise alarms to make your mornings a whole lot easier.
Lumie Bodyclock Starter 30
A leader of light therapy products, Lumie’s Bodyclock is the ultimate entry-level sunrise alarm and a perfect choice for those who sleep in pitch-black darkness. It features a fully dimmable display and is complete with a handy back-up beeper for heavy sleepers. Besides a wake-up sunrise, it also offers a sunset feature that helps prepare you for sleep (both effects last for 30 minutes). With easy-to-use controls, it’s a cinch to set up and provides a sleek touch to any bedside. No wonder it’s a best-seller.
£52.30 | Amazon | Buy it now
Medisana Sunrise Wake Up Light
If you’re looking for an eco-friendly option, then this Medisana offering is a great fit. It utilises long-lasting LED lighting and provides the option of seven wellness colours – including red, which aids melatonin production to help you fall asleep easier.
If you need a bit of noise to wake you up, the device offers 8 gradually increasing sounds of nature, such as tweeting birds and a crackling fireplace as well as MP3 connectivity. Other features like a snooze button and an extra timer for alarms after 15-90 minutes make it easier to get those extra minutes of sleep.
£48 | Amazon | Buy it now
Withings Aura Total Sleep System
A great combination of light and sound, the Withings Aura emits red light to help you drift off and blue light to wake you up. It also connects to your Spotify account, so you can curate the perfect playlists for falling asleep and waking up to.
To help improve the quality of sleep, the alarm comes with a sensor that fits under your mattress to monitor sleep patterns. This data can be accessed through the Withings’ Health Mate app – which only pairs with iOS devices.
£189.99 | eBay | Buy it now
Amir Wake-Up Light
Searching for sunrise simulation on a budget? Wonderfully modern, this lightweight device includes a swirl projector that tilts up to 180 degrees and a display that can project on to ceilings or walls. Additionally, the alarm offers a traditional FM radio and 2 natural sounds that are soothing yet loud enough to rouse you from slumber while helping relieve stress. It features 4 different brightness levels to ensure you’re brought round in the perfect way.
£14.99 | Amazon | Buy it now
Coulax Wake Up Light
If you need a smaller alarm clock that can go everywhere with you, the wood-grain Coulax is an ideal option. It features a wake-up light that gradually increases from 1 per cent to 100 per cent over a 30-minute period. When you need to get your head down, the sunset stimulation white light starts bright and gradually darkens to help you drift off naturally.
Offering 7 colour settings and 10 brightness levels, it’s complete with touch control to make adjusting functions a breeze. You can also choose from 6 natural sounds and find your favourite tunes using the traditional FM radio.
£66.82 | eBay | Buy it now
Beurer WL 90 4-in-1 Wake Up Light
Beurer’s 4-in-1 bedside device offers all the benefits of a wake-up light alarm and an ambient mood lamp in one package. Powered by an energy-saving LED lamp, it boasts 256 mood colours and 10 pre-set light programmes. If you’re a heavy sleeper, you can choose from a host of wake-up melodies that can be set to play after the stimulated sunrise. You can also manage your alarm settings using the handy Beurer LightUp app, which is available to Apple and Android users. Exclusive to John Lewis.
£130 | John Lewis | Buy it now
Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock
Pairing light therapy with sound, this clinically-proven Philips option is just the ticket for sufferers of SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder aka the winter blues). Inspired by natural sunrise, the lighting starts off red and gradually turns into a bright yellow within 30 minutes. It comes with a choice of 5 different natural sounds, which include gentle piano and seaside sounds, as well as an FM radio setting and a tap snooze function. The best part? This model is built with a backup battery to ensure the alarm goes off even without power.
£84.99 | Amazon | Buy it now
Lumie Bodyclock Go 75 Wake Up to Daylight Light
If you want a few more options, then you can’t go too far wrong with the Bodyclock GO 75 from the maker of the original Lumie Bodyclock Starter 30. It's bit pricier than some competitors, but provides the choice of a 20, 30 or 45 minutes sunrise to wake you up and sunset to wind you down.
We like that it gives you five choices of sounds to wake up to including wind chimes, a dawn chorus and Big Ben. And if you’re an avid snoozer, there’s a feature for that too. When dimmed, it also makes the perfect reading light.
£74.95 | Argos | Buy it now
If you're new to sunrise alarms, Lumie’s Bodyclock Starter 30 is a fail-safe option. It’s easy to use and comes with an alarm beep for those who need something a little noisy to wake them up.