Best wake up lights: our top picks for a smoother start to your day

The best wake up lights to help you get out of bed in the morning - so you can finally ditch the alarm clock for a simulated sunrise

best wake up light Philips SmartSleep Connected Sleep and Wake-Up Light Therapy Lamp
(Image credit: Philips)

The best wake up lights are a must-have if you're looking for a smoother, more pleasant start to your day because let's be honest, no one enjoys being startled by a jarring alarm clock every morning. As their name suggests, wake-up lights use light, as well as sound, to gently wake you up in the morning. Before alarm clocks were invented, humans relied on the rising sun to know when it was time to start their day, which is what wake-up lights try to replicate. A pretty genius idea.

The best wake-up lights will slowly brighten your bedroom over a period of time, letting you come round from sleepy slumber at your own pace. A lot of them also come with audio features like different nature sounds or FM radio, so if you're a heavy sleeper, you can opt to have gentle noise accompanying the light when it's time to get up. On the reverse side of the AM setting is the wind-down mode, which simulates the sunset by gradually getting darker, letting your body know it's time for sleep. 

A lot of tech companies now offer wake-up lights, and their popularity has seen them flood the mainstream market in recent years. We've selected the top 5 that are guaranteed to benefit your lifestyle by not only helping you to wake up feeling brighter and more energized but by helping you have a better night's sleep too. Still after ideas? Our edit of the best sleep apps will help you too.

The best wake up lights in 2022

Cloklit Sunrise Alarm Clock

(Image credit: Cloklit)

1. Cloklit Sunrise Alarm Clock

The best wake up light overall

Specifications

Light settings: 7 colors and 20 levels of brightness
Sunrise duration: 10, 20, or 60 minutes
Audio: 7 natural sounds and FM radio
Snooze?: Yes
PM: Bedside light
Power source: Electric corded
Switch type: Buttons

Reasons to buy

+
Sunrise simulation setting can be activated for up to 60 minutes
+
20 brightness levels 
+
16 volume levels
+
Affordable 

Reasons to avoid

-
Small buttons difficult to decipher when half-asleep

The Clokilt Sunrise Wake-up Light boasts all the wake-up settings you could want, with up to 20 different brightness levels to move between as it does its thing in the morning. We like the fact that this can gradually wake you up over the course of an hour, as the more time your body has to come round from sleep, the better. If you think 60 minutes is a bit long for you though, you can lower it. 

Coupled with the 7 nature sounds or radio to choose from, you can use the Cloklit Wake-up Light to personalize your morning and create an alarm system that works for you. Being gently stirred by birds singing, ocean waves or gurgling streams sounds a lot more appealing than traditional alarm clock chimes. And don't worry, there is a snooze function for those mornings when no wake-up light can make us get out of bed straight away!

The PM settings for this one aren't the most advanced, so bear this in mind if you're wanting to create a solid wind-down routine in the evening. It can be used as a nightlight or reading lamp though, and the warm soft glow would create a lovely nighttime ambiance. 

Lumie Bodyclock Glow 150

(Image credit: Lumie)

2. Lumie Bodyclock Glow 150

Best wake up light for higher budgets

Specifications

Light settings: Mixed LEDs to simulate realistic sunrise colors
Sunrise duration: 20, 30, or 45 minutes
Audio: 10 natural sounds
Snooze?: Yes
PM: Sunset simulation
Power source: Electric corded
Switch type: Touch

Reasons to buy

+
Mixed LED lights to simulate realistic sunrise & sunset
+
Touch function easy to use in the morning
+
10 natural sounds to accompany light

Reasons to avoid

-
No FM radio
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Expensive

You can't think of a wake-up light without also thinking of Lumie, the original brand for sunrise alarm clocks. The higher price point of the Bodyclock Glow 150 reflects the quality of the sunrise simulation, which uses mixed LEDs for realistic sunrise colors, rather than simply getting brighter. The final sunrise intensity is adjustable too.

This one works just as well as a wind-down clock, creating realistic sunset colors and gradually getting dimmer over the course of 20, 30, or 45 minutes. Lumie has light therapy specialists that have been helping to design their wake-up lights since 1992, aiming to boost mood and energy levels and improve sleep for people who purchase them. We can't recommend the Bodyclock Glow enough if you want to wake up feeling better and brighter in the morning. 

The settings can be adjusted through touch, a more convenient option than buttons. We only wish there was an FM radio option, as most wake-up lights offer this now. 

Philips SmartSleep Connected Sleep and Wake-Up Light Therapy Lamp

(Image credit: Philips)

3. Philips SmartSleep Connected Sleep and Wake-Up Light Therapy Lamp

Best smart wake up light

Specifications

Light settings: 5 colors and 25 brightness levels
Audio: FM radio, 8 wakeup sounds
Snooze?: Yes
PM: Sunset simulation & gudied breathing
Power source: Electric corded
Switch type: App controlled, Touch

Reasons to buy

+
Connects to the SleepMapper app for easy customization
+
Includes light-guided breathing exercises for winding down
+
AmbiTrack sensor measures temperature, noise, and humidity levels of the bedroom

Reasons to avoid

-
Headlamp shape means it shines more in one direction

The Philips SmartSleep Connected Sleep and Wake-Up Light connects to the SleepMapper app on your iOS or Android, meaning you can customize the settings of the light directly from your phone. A lot quicker and easier than figuring out how to navigate the item itself, and you can set multiple alarms the same as you would on your regular phone clocks, such as a different alarm for weekdays and weekends. 

Light-guided breathing exercises are a real selling point of this one, enabling you to find your zen before you hit the sack, giving you a much better night's sleep overall. Phillips wake-up lights have been scientifically proven to improve your mood and energy levels in the morning, so you know you're getting your money's worth if you choose to invest in the SmartSleep Light. 

There are plenty of wake-up sounds to choose from to accompany the light alarm, or FM radio if that's more up your street. Plus, you can check in on your atmosphere via the app, and monitor the temperature, noise, and humidity levels in your bedroom. This light pretty much covers all the bases in helping you fall asleep easier and wake up better, and will bring huge benefits to your everyday lifestyle.

JUXLamp Light Therapy Bionic Sun-Beam Alarm Bio-Clock

(Image credit: JUXLamp)

4. JUXLamp Light Therapy Bionic Sun-Beam Alarm Bio-Clock

Best wake up light for brightness

Specifications

Light settings: Full-spectrum LED lights with warm, cold and mixed setting
Audio: 12 natural sounds
Snooze?: No
PM: Nightlight
Power source: Electric corded
Switch type: Button

Reasons to buy

+
Adjustable brightness setting up to 10,000 lux
+
Ultra-thin design good for portability
+
12 natural sounds

Reasons to avoid

-
Button operated
-
No radio 

If you want a wake-up light that will brightly flood your entire room in the morning, the Bionic Sun-Beam Bioclock is perfect, given its use of full-spectrum LED lights that can go up to 10,000 lux. Wake-up lights don't get much brighter than that. 

There are 3 settings to choose between which replicate the morning sun ("warm"), the afternoon sun ("cold"), and mixed, which lands at a color temperature in the middle of the other two. While there isn't a separate sunset mode, you can use the different settings to adjust the light in your bedroom before you go to sleep. It would make an ideal nightlight or reading lamp to help you wind down. 

We like the sleek design of this one too, as it's a lot less bulky than other wake-up lights, which is ideal for smaller bedside tables. This also makes it great for moving around, if you think you'd appreciate a wake-up light when you go on holiday. 

iHome Zenergy Sunrise Bedside Therapy Machine with Bluetooth Speaker

(Image credit: iHome)

5. iHome Zenergy Sunrise Bedside Therapy Machine with Bluetooth Speaker

Best wake up light with speaker

Specifications

Light settings: 5 color settings & multiple brightness levels
Sunrise duration: Up to 20 minutes
Audio: Wide selection of wake up sounds & bluetooth speaker
Snooze?: Yes
PM: Sunset simulation
Power source: Electric corded
Switch type: Button

Reasons to buy

+
Stream music of choice via Bluetooth
+
Compact design
+
Wide selection of wake up and wind down times

Reasons to avoid

-
Sunrise duration only 20 minutes long

If you want more freedom in terms of the sound settings on your wake-up light, the iHome Zenergy Sunrise Bedside Therapy Machine with Bluetooth Speaker boasts a wide selection of wake-up and wind-down sounds. The big bonus of this one is the built-in Bluetooth speaker, so you can use it to stream music of your choice or your favorite radio station throughout the day. 

The compact shape means this light would look great on your bedside table, and you'll get an equal diffusion of light throughout the room. The light and sound alarms are set up separately, so you can time them to come on in whichever order you prefer. The light gradually gets brighter over the course of 20 minutes, which is, unfortunately, the only sunrise duration setting available. If 20 minutes seems like a long enough wake-up time for you though, we'd definitely recommend this one.

What to consider when buying the best wake-up light

best wake up light Lumie Bodyclock Glow 150

(Image credit: Lumie)

If you're wanting to add a wake-up light to your morning, it's probably because you're hoping for a seamless start to your day where you feel more positive and energized. It's therefore important that a wake-up light will make your life easier, not more complicated, so before buying one, we recommend reading how it works to gather a sense of whether you'd feel confident setting it up and using it every day. 

With that in mind, there are a few factors to consider before you invest your money in a wake-up light. 

Brightness
How bright you'd like the light to be when it wakes you up in the morning is a matter of personal preference, so we think lights that offer more brightness levels are better. Look for those which can adjust to between 20 and 25 levels. 

Colors
A lot of lights offer different colors, which can make them a fun nightlight to have in the bedroom. Also, keep in mind the color temperature of the sunrise light. There are products that try to simulate colors of the sunrise using LED light technology, and others that simply get brighter over the duration of the alarm. The former is more proven to improve your mood and energy levels in the morning, whereas the latter is simply a way to wake you up. 

Audio
Most wake-up lights have different sound options as well, which could be important for you if you're a heavy sleeper and you're not sure the light in itself would be enough to get you out of bed. Nature sounds are a nice companion to the growing light in the morning, so have a look at whether these are available. If you'd prefer to wake up to the sound of the radio, a lot of modern wake-up lights will offer this.

Switch type
How you can adjust the settings of the wake-up light affects your overall experience of it. If you're likely to hit snooze in the morning, we suggest a touch-operated light because these are a lot easier to work when you're half-asleep in the morning. Buttons work fine, but if these are quite small and on the back of the light, they're not ideal. Some smart wake-up lights can be controlled via an app, a great option if you're a little more tech-savvy. 

Design
Lastly, wake-up lights come in all shapes and sizes. If your bedside table is already a bit cluttered, look for more compact designs. If you want to have a wake-up light as a bit of a centerpiece, there are bigger options available, which also make the buttons or touchpads easier to navigate. 

How we chose these wake-up lights

We spent a lot of time browsing wake-up lights online and reading the product descriptions to decide which ones were good enough to make our list. Using the above criteria, we took into consideration all the important factors like brightness and audio settings, ease of use, and nighttime modes. We read the customer reviews of each product, and only included those with a majority of positive responses. 

Browse more wake-up lights...

If you want to carry on shopping around before you purchase the wake-up light you desire, there are plenty of options to browse through from the retailers below.

Katie has recently joined Future's Ecommerce writing cohort after exploring different forms of digital writing in her Media and Journalism MA. Her love for being at home and creating an environment that is at once cozy, stylish, and practical means she's constantly browsing home decor sites online. Her current favorites are Anthropologie and H&M Home. For her next interior endeavor, she's looking to become a plant mom, in the hope that some greenery will refresh her home in time for spring.