Set Your Morning: The 6 Best Sunrise Alarm Clocks
Philips, EEOOS, and More
Wake up naturally and gently with a sunrise alarm clock. These alarms gradually raise the light level in the room before your alarm goes off, making your morning transition feel less stressful.
What is a Sunrise Alarm Clock?
A sunrise alarm clock uses LEDs or other embedded lights to gradually raise the ambient light of your bedroom, promoting a more gradual, natural transition from sleep to wakefulness. They generally include a sound alarm as well, and time the light so that you’re ready to wake up when the actual alarm goes off. Most sunrise alarms have a touch screen or function, and can be powered through an outlet, USB port, or by batteries.
Why Should I Use Them?
Many people have trouble waking up in the morning and end up with feelings of grogginess and fatigue. This feeling, called “sleep inertia,” is often caused by waking up when your body isn’t ready, and it can affect cognitive performance, decision making, memory, and reaction time. It’s a conflict between waking up naturally, which is caused by a combination of light and circadian rhythm, and waking up with an alarm, which startles the body awake at a random point in the sleep cycle.
Sunrise alarm clocks solve one of these two problems. By introducing light gradually an hour or so before your scheduled alarm, your body has a chance to adjust and begin to wake up, making the transition to morning activity easier. This will work best if it’s combined with set sleep times that sync your circadian rhythm to your work schedule, but even if your sleep/wake window is inconsistent (for travelers, shift workers, new parents, etc), switching to a sunrise alarm can reduce the stress that comes with waking up at odd hours.
For even more control over your morning routine, use the alarm with blackout curtains, and create a sleep environment that fits your real schedule.
The 7 Best Sunrise Alarms You Can Start Using Right Now
Alarm: Natural Sound, Radio, or Light Only
Power: Wall Plug
This clock has a ton of features, and 92% of users reported that it made getting out of bed easier in clinical tests. You can customize virtually everything about the light cycle, including length, intensity, and color, and the navigation screen is easy to use (check out the User Guide to get a sense of it). It uses a wall plug but includes a USB port to charge your phone if you need an extra outlet.
In addition to helping you wake up, this alarm includes a few features to help you fall asleep: there’s a sunset light function that gradually reduces the light in the room, a program called “RelaxBreathe” that helps regulate and relax your breathing with a range of speed settings, and an option to connect your phone or other AUX cable device to play music.
It’s not cheap, and there are no USB or battery power options. There are also fewer color options if you prefer blue/green light.
If you like this clock but don’t need RelaxBreathe or the USB charging port, there’s an older model that has many of the same functions and customizable settings.
This clock is Philip’s previous Sunrise Alarm Clock model. If you like the Somneo clock but don’t need RelaxBreathe or the USB charging port, this model has many of the same functions and customizable settings. It includes touch-to-snooze capabilities, up to 200 lux light intensity, and the same verified results as Philip’s other sunrise design. Definitely a solid option!
Alarm: Four gentle wake-up sounds
Power: USB rechargeable lithium batteries (the batteries are included, the USB cable is not)
It has 7 color settings with adjustable brightness that can be cycled for a soothing pattern. It’s also designed to function as a bedside lamp and includes a “warm” and “dimmer mode” for nighttime reading. The wakeup sounds can be set on a 15, 30, or 60-minute timer, and used along with its sunset light function to help you fall asleep.
No light-only alarm function – an alarm sound must be selected for the alarm to work. It also has limited options for it’s alarm noise.
Alarm: Six natural sounds or FM radio
Power: USB, wall plug, or 3 AAA batteries
This alarm has a wide range of options and customizable settings, including 6 different LED colors in addition to white light. It has a touch screen control and he display can be completely darkened at night, so you don’t start to wake up until you’re ready.
No automatic Monday to Friday settings, and the alarm needs to be manually turned on every day. There’s a learning curve on using the touch screen controls, and the clock is more delicate than some of the other available models.
Alarm: 5 natural sounds (Cuckoo, wood thrush, kingfishers, waves and thunderstorms)
Power: USB with emergency internal battery
Really simple and easy to use design, with buttons on the bottom and an on/off touchpad on the top. Light comes from all directions rather than just through the clock face, and the set of wake-up sounds is pretty unique. The brightness can be adjusted using the touchpad on top. The light is set to come on 30 minutes prior to the alarm and can be set to a range of colors.
Not a lot of settings on this one, and it’s a standard button interface instead of a touch screen (buttons are on the bottom of the clock). The sounds can’t be used as white-noise, and there’s no Monday to Friday alarm setting (it comes on every day once it’s set). It also lacks a snooze button.
For Kids: Sleep Trainer Light Alarm Clocks
Alarm: Natural light, ocean sounds, lullaby, and white noise
Power: Plug and USB
The Mella is designed to use light cues to help your child learn a healthy morning routine. It has three main settings: SLEEP, which uses one of 5 soft night light colors and displays a sleeping face, PLAY, which uses yellow light and signals 30 minutes of independent quiet time, and WAKE, which uses green light and a happy face to signal that it’s time to get up and leave the room. It can also be set for a timed nap that ends with a light or sound cue.
There’s no dimmer option for the lights, and the “PLAY” period can’t be turned off.