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Home / Best Wake-Up Lights

Best Wake-Up Lights

Lauren Fountain

Written by

Lauren Fountain, Certified Sleep Coach

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We personally test every product featured in our reviews and guide to provide accurate, data-driven recommendations. Learn More

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Following a recent round of tests, we've updated this page to include the Dekala Arkenstone as our best value pick. The Hatch Restore remains our pick for best overall wake-up light.

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In recent years, wake-up lights have hit the market as a more natural alternative to traditional alarm clocks. By mimicking the sunrise, wake-up lights stimulate your visual senses with light that gradually increases.

Aside from their primary function, wake-up lights often come with a host of extra features that traditional alarm clocks may not provide. These may include wind down programs, smart home integration, and reading light modes. Some wake-up lights have a sound option that serves as an additional alarm.

We’ll highlight the best wake-up lights on the market. To help you make an informed decision, we’ll break down each product’s individual features and other important considerations to keep in mind when shopping.

Top Picks Overview

Product Details

Hatch Restore

Best Overall

Hatch Restore

Hatch Restore
Price: $130
Who it's best for:
  • Sleepers with unusual or variable sleeping schedules
  • Those who like to read in bed
  • Shoppers interested in meditation and sleep stories
Highlights:
  • Dimmable light with sunrise settings
  • Free 6-month subscription to a library of meditation, stories, and sounds
  • App compatibility allows users to set a specific routine
Hatch Restore

Spend $99, Get $15 Off with code TAKE15 or Spend $149, Get $35 Off with code TAKE35

The Hatch Restore uses LED lights to provide a wide variety of settings for sleepers. Users can select between 22 light colors, with sunset and sunrise simulations to help you ease into and out of sleep.

The Hatch Restore Light is compatible with a companion app that allows you to personalize your sleep routine. This is particularly useful for those who travel or have variable sleep schedules.

While the companion app is free, Hatch also offers a paid subscription service called Hatch Premium. This service includes a selection of sounds, meditations, and sleep stories to help users wind down. While this service is offered for an additional fee, a 6-month free trial is included with the purchase of the Hatch Restore.

The Hatch Restore also has a dedicated reading light mode. Mood light options and soundscapes can be used throughout the day.

The Hatch Restore is backed by a 60-night sleep trial and 1-year warranty.

Dekala Arkenstone

Best Value

Dekala Arkenstone

Dekala Arkenstone
Price: $110
Who it's best for:
  • People who find traditional alarms too jarring
  • Those who enjoy listening to relaxing audio recordings as they fall asleep
  • Shoppers with limited budgets
Highlights:
  • Smart light comes equipped with more than a dozen nature, ambient, and white noise programs
  • Gradient color-changing effects include a progressive alarm designed to mimic the sunrise
  • One-touch snooze function
Dekala Arkenstone

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Dekala products

Some of the more advanced wake-up lights on the market carry steep price-points reflective of their high-tech designs. With the Dekala Arkenstone, you’ll get a smart device loaded with cutting-edge features, but affordable pricing ensures most shoppers won’t encounter any sticker shock. The Arkenstone is engineered for a full color spectrum, allowing you to experience virtually millions of solid colors for the nightlight feature. Ten different gradient effects allow for seamless color transitions.

The progressive sunrise alarm mostly consists of orange and yellow shades. The sound of chirping birds accompanies the color-changing effect to help you wake up feeling well-rested without the jarring beeps or vibrations of traditional alarm clocks. To activate the snooze, simply place the Arkenstone on its side. You can also mute the colors if you prefer sleeping in total darkness. The device’s built-in audio library includes 16 different programs, including nature sounds, ambient noise, and white noise.

Using the Dekala app – which is free to download – you can use voice controls to adjust the Arkenstone. The device can also be linked to your Amazon Echo or Google Home hubs. Shipping is free of charge to customers in all 50 states. Undamaged Arkenstone devices may be returned for a full refund within 30 days of the delivery date.

Casper Glow Light

Best Smart Phone Integration

Casper Glow Light

Casper Glow Light
Price: $129
Who it's best for:
  • Sleepers who dislike conventional alarm clocks
  • People who frequently get up during the night
  • Those who enjoy reading in bed
Highlights:
  • Gradual dimming intended to induce relaxation and sleepiness
  • Doubles as a handheld light
  • Companion app allows you to customize settings and schedule wake-up times
Casper Glow Light

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Casper products

The Casper Glow Light is designed to help you fall asleep and wake up more comfortably. To turn on the device, simply flip it over and push the top button. The light will gradually dim until it completely goes dark, but you can “pause” the dimming effect by hitting the button again if you’d like some bedside illumination while you sleep. Using a companion app, you can also program the light to wake you up in the morning with a gentle effect intended to mimic the sunrise.

The Glow Light is also portable. If you need to get up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom or grab a midnight snack, simply shake the light to activate it and carry it with you – the device does not produce any heat and won’t pose any burn risk. The polycarbonate shell is fairly durable, so you don’t need to worry about breaking the light if it falls on the floor. You can adjust the brightness by twisting the top. A charging port is included with each purchase.

Casper provides free ground delivery throughout the contiguous U.S. and provincial Canada. The company backs the Glow Light with a 30-night sleep trial that includes free return shipping. You’ll also receive a 1-year warranty with your purchase.

Hatch Rest+

Best for Kids

Hatch Rest+

Hatch Rest+
Price: $90
Who it's best for:
  • Households with Amazon/Alexa connectivity
  • Infants and toddlers
  • Elementary-aged kids
Highlights:
  • Plays nature sounds and lullabies
  • Adjustable color display
  • Customizable through companion app
Hatch Rest+

Spend $99, Get $15 Off with code TAKE15 or Spend $149, Get $35 Off with code TAKE35

The Hatch Rest+ is designed for children ranging from infants to elementary school students. Parents can choose from eight different sleep sounds, including rain, ocean, birds, crickets, white noise, wind, water stream, and dryer. The Rest+ can also play three classic lullabies to help children fall asleep. In the morning, the device lights up with a pre-chosen color to teach kids to wake up on time.

Parents control the sleep sounds and light settings using the companion smartphone app. They can choose different sleep programs to help kids wake up, take a nap, and go to bed at night. The app also features a light library with 10 presets and a color wheel to pick the perfect wake-up light color for your child.  An Amazon Echo/Alexa can be used to control the device’s volume, sound, and light color. The clock allows parents to monitor feeding, sleeping, and waking times, and the display is fully dimmable if your child prefers a completely dark room.

The Hatch Rest+ has a backup battery that lasts up to eight hours without recharging, so parents should not have to worry about power outages. The company offers a 60-night sleep trial and a 1-year warranty for the device.

Sharper Image Circadian Rhythm Clock

Best Features

Sharper Image Circadian Rhythm Clock

Sharper Image Circadian Rhythm Clock
Price: $80
Who it's best for:
  • People who have a hard time falling asleep or waking up in the morning
  • Those who find traditional alarms jarring or unpleasant
  • Value seekers
Highlights:
  • Gradual brightening and dimming intended to mimic natural light patterns and align with circadian rhythms
  • Guided breathing function, built-in backlight, and temperature and humidity sensor
  • Five modes and 20 color selections
Sharper Image Circadian Rhythm Clock

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Sharper Image products

The Sharper Image Circadian Rhythm Clock integrates sleep science and cutting-edge technology to help you get enough rest and wake up in the morning. The clock’s display is designed to gradually become dimmer in the evening, which mimics natural light settings at dusk. The circadian rhythms that guide our sleep cycles are heavily influenced by light and darkness, so the dimming can help you relax and prepare for bed. The light also brightens in the morning for a simulated sunrise effect.

The clock is highly customizable. In addition to the standard evening setting, you can choose from four other light modes. The cycle mode slowly progresses through the clock’s 20 color options, select mode lets you choose one fixed color, and meter mode changes color depending on your home’s indoor humidity level. The clock also features a guided breathing program, during which you’ll inhale and exhale when the colors shift. The LED display features temperature and humidity readings, as well.

In addition to programming times for dimming and brightening to begin, you can activate the alarm for Monday through Friday, weekends only, or every day. For those who need an extra nudge out of bed in the morning, the clock has a snoozable melodic alarm that gently increases in volume over a 5-minute period. Other features include a USB port for charging your phone and a built-in backlight. You can program the clock in English, French, German, and Spanish.

Sharper Image has a reputation for high-end tech products, but the Circadian Rhythm Clock’s price-point is quite low given its functionality. Standard returns are permitted within 60 days of purchase, and the company extends the return window for items bought between late October and Christmas Eve.

What Is a Wake-Up Light?

A traditional alarm clock uses sound to wake you from sleep, but this can be overly jarring for some. In recent years, wake-up lights have become an increasingly popular alternative.

Instead of relying solely on sound, wake-up lights simulate the sunrise by slowly brightening over a period of time. By doing so, they’re able to wake you up more gradually than a traditional alarm. The duration of the sunrise simulation varies across models, as does the range of colors.

As with traditional alarms, most wake-up lights provide a built-in alarm that can be set for a specific time, regardless of the sunrise time in your area. Many models also come with a sunset mode to help you prepare for sleep.

Additionally, wake-up lights often include sound options. In keeping with the natural theme, these sounds tend to include birds chirping, waterfalls, or other ambient noises.

How to Choose a Wake-Up Light

When choosing a wake-up light, shoppers may want to compare features and settings to find the right fit. Each wake-up light serves largely the same function, but certain variations and additional features may appeal to specific users.

We’ll cover the most common variations between models, including wind down features, overall value, style, and smart home integration.

What to Consider When Purchasing an Wake-Up Light

With so many options on the market, it’s important to know how wake-up lights are different from one another in order to find one that suits your individual needs.

To help you make an informed purchase, we’ll highlight the top features you’ll want to consider when buying a wake-up light.

Wake-Up Features

Wake-up lights often differ in terms of available features and settings. While some lights simply get brighter, many wake-up lights simulate the colors of the sunrise.

To accompany the light alarm, wake-up lights may include a traditional auditory alarm with natural sounds or FM radio.

Wind Down Features

In addition to sunrise settings, some wake-up lights include sunset simulation. By dimming gradually and changing colors, this function helps users wind down before falling asleep. Wind down features may also include soothing, natural sounds or meditations.

Battery Backup

Many wake-up lights are AC- or USB-powered. Some will include a backup battery to ensure that the light still works in the event that power is lost. This provides users with additional peace of mind. The backup battery is typically not intended to be the primary power source, and it should be replaced regularly.

Value

Value is an important consideration for shoppers, and most will want to compare the cost of a wake-up light with the features it provides. Some shoppers may justify a higher price-point for a wake-up light that includes additional options like smart home integration or wind down settings. Others may want a simpler design that does not warrant a high price.

Smart Features

It’s becoming more common for household objects to feature smart home integration, and wake-up lights are no exception.

While many wake-up lights are compatible with Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home, it’s not unusual for a manufacturer to provide its own app or premium service. Using these smart devices, wake-up lights can often be programmed and controlled from outside the home or by voice.

Style

Each wake-up light has its own shape, colors, and style. While not every wake-up light’s design may cater to your personal taste or fit in with your bedroom decor, there is a wide selection to appeal to a variety of shoppers.

Along with wake-up and wind down color changes, some wake-up lights allow for multicolored lighting. This could allow a light to fit a room’s color palette closely, or appeal to those who want a customizable option.

Display 

Many wake-up lights include a digital clock. Others may display additional information or feature a functional touchscreen. Some displays may also have a night mode or turn off completely in order to not disturb sleep.

Other Features

In addition to some of the more common features, wake-up lights may come with sleep stories or guided meditations, which can be used alone or in conjunction with other wind down features. Dedicated reading light and night light modes are also included in some models.

When it comes to wake-up or wind down sounds, some wake-up lights pair with an app and include the ability to download more options as they become available.

Frequently Asked Questions About Wake-Up Lights

Since a wake-up light differs from a traditional alarm clock, shoppers may have additional questions when shopping. We’ll cover some of the most frequently asked to give you a better idea of what to keep in mind before making a purchase.

How do sunrise alarms work?

Sunrise alarms wake you up with light that gradually brightens, rather than using a loud noise like a traditional alarm.

Your vision is stimulated by the wake-up light’s sunrise settings. With some wake-up lights, natural sounds or the radio can accompany the change in light.

Are wake up lights good for you?

Wake up lights can be considered a more natural alternative to traditional alarms. Exposure to light is one of the most important factors for your circadian rhythm, which dictates your ability to fall asleep and wake up at regular times.

By simulating the sunrise with a gradual increase in brightness, this type of alarm wakes you up gently.

What is the best color light to wake up to?

To simulate the sun’s brightness, most wake-up lights are yellow. This energizing color is one that your body is naturally inclined to associate with morning.

Colors like purple and red are often used for simulating the sunset, and may be more conducive to falling asleep.

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About Our Editorial Team

author
Lauren Fountain

Certified Sleep Coach

Lauren is a Certified Sleep Science Coach with extensive experience researching and testing a wide variety of sleep products.