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Home / Best Wake-Up Lights

Written by

Lauren Fountain

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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.

Product Details

Hatch Restore

Best Overall

Hatch Restore

Hatch Restore
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

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

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.

Philips SmartSleep Sleep & Wake-Up Light (HF3650/60)

Best Features

Philips SmartSleep Sleep & Wake-Up Light (HF3650/60)

Philips SmartSleep Sleep & Wake-Up Light (HF3650/60)
Who it's best for:
  • Shoppers with larger budgets
  • People who have trouble falling asleep
  • Sleepers looking for a night light
Highlights:
  • Sunrise and sunset settings
  • Light-guided breathing options to promote relaxation
  • Alarm settings include FM radio or natural sounds
Philips SmartSleep Sleep & Wake-Up Light (HF3650/60)

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

The Philips SmartSleep Sleep & Wake-up Light provides a 30-minute sunrise simulation that culminates in natural sounds or FM radio. It also features a sunset simulation and light-guided breathing exercises that are designed to help you relax at the end of the day.

The Sleep & Wake-Up Light comes with a night light option that can softly illuminate your dark bedroom. Controlling the light can be done in the dark, as it has a touch display that activates when your hand comes near it. It lights up according to the ambient light of the room.

The brightness level is fully adjustable, and the light can function as a bedside lamp if needed. The wake-up sounds include a variety of nature sounds or FM radio stations. The touch display isn’t needed when it comes to hitting snooze, as users can tap on the top of the light.

You can plug your phone into the Philips SmartSleep Sleep & Wake-Up Light to charge your phone and use the light as a speaker. However, your personal music selection can’t be added to the selection of wake-up sounds.

The Smart Sleep Wake-Up Light includes a 90-day return period.

Phillips SmartSleep Wakeup Light

Best Value

Phillips SmartSleep Wakeup Light

Phillips SmartSleep Wakeup Light
Who it's best for:
  • Value seekers
  • Shoppers who aren’t interested in extra features
  • Sleepers looking for a simple setup and functionality
Highlights:
  • Options include 10 light settings and two nature sounds
  • Can be used as a bedside light with multiple brightness settings
  • Snooze function postpones the sound alarm
Phillips SmartSleep Wakeup Light

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

The Philips Wake-Up Light gradually wakes users with a 30-minute sunrise simulation that increases to a bright yellow light. It features two different wake-up sounds to choose from: bird noises or FM radio.

The Philips Wake-up Light has 10 different brightness settings, allowing it to function as a bedside lamp or night light. Brightness settings can also be changed for its alarm function.

The Philips Wake-up Light has a touch-activated snooze function. The control display comes with four brightness settings, so it can be adjusted based on personal preferences or time of day.

Anti-slip rubber feet help keep the light from shifting on a bedside table.

The Wake-up Light is backed by a 90-day return period.

hOmeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock

Best Budget

hOmeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock

hOmeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock
Who it's best for:
  • Those on a budget
  • Sleepers who prefer to wake to natural sounds
  • Shoppers looking for a simple design
Highlights:
  • LED touch screen display with eight light color options
  • Alarm functions include ambient sounds and FM radio
  • USB-powered with a backup battery
hOmeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock

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

The hOmeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock has a 30-minute wake-up cycle during which its round light gradually brightens. Additionally, it comes with a sunset feature that slowly dims until it becomes a nightlight.

To accompany the brightness, the light provides a selection of nature-inspired sounds, including ocean waves and chirping birds. FM radio is also included as an alarm option. For children, lullabies can be programmed as a wake-up sound.

Those who want a personalized look may be interested in the light’s eight different color options. In addition to the sunrise and sunset features, the brightness of the hOmeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock can be manually adjusted as needed.

The controls are located both on top of the alarm as analog buttons and on the clock’s surface as a touchscreen.

The hOmelabs Sunrise Alarm Clock comes with a 30-night trial and 2-year limited warranty.

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.