The Best Wake-Up Lights

If you sometimes struggle to get out of bed in the morning, it could be worth investing in a wake-up light. Whether it’s dark mornings or bad weather that leads you to hit the snooze button and hide under the duvet, a wake-up light can make all the difference. These lights use an artificial dawn, also referred to as dawn simulation, to awaken you.

Wake-up lights wake you up slowly, gently pulling you out of slumber, rather than with a sudden jolt as most alarms do. They fill the room with soft light before your alarm goes off, helping you to wake up feeling happier and calmer.

There are lots of wake-up lights on the market, with the best of them coming from industry leaders Philips and Lumie. Whether you’re looking for a high-end model with exceptional sunrise simulation, or a simple budget option, you can expect your needs to be catered to. Read on for a run-down of the best wake-up lights in 2017.

The benefits of wake-up lights

The human body is fundamentally tied to the earth’s natural rhythms, and wake-up lights are designed with this theory in mind. Research shows exactly how these rhythms affect our health and wellbeing. For example, something called earthing, which refers to skin to earth connection, has been proven to lower stress hormones. Daylight is another way in which nature affects our wellbeing. It’s been shown that by replicating sunrise, you can balance hormones and support a healthy circadian rhythm.

  • A wake-up light supports morning cortisol response.

  • A wake-up light helps to balance the sleep hormone melatonin.

  • A wake-up light may help depression and seasonal affective disorder.

Philips HF3520 Wake-up Light

1) Philips HF3520 Wake-up Light

Philips make more wake-up lights than any other lighting manufacturer. The Philips HF3520 Wake-up Light stands out from the crowd, thanks to its sturdy and stylish design and high-quality light settings. The light’s sunrise simulator leaves other products in the shade, starting with a deep red and gradually moving through shades of vibrant oranges and yellows. In comparison, many cheaper alternatives have only a few shades of white, and they jump noticeably in brightness.

The Philips HF3520 Wake-Up Light looks good, and with a maximum brightness level of 300 lux, you won’t have to worry about not waking up in the morning. It’s also robust enough not to fall off your nightstand when buttons are pressed.

This wake-up light is unarguably one of the best on the market. However, there are some downsides to consider before you splash the cash. Firstly, the digital time display can be dimmed, but it can’t be turned off. Secondly, the buttons on top of the light can’t be seen from the front, and they’re also quite small. This means that you’ll need to look carefully if you want to change settings or switch the audio alarm off. It’s also worth noting that the battery back-up lasts only 7 minutes.

Overall, the Philips HF3520 does its job very well, providing a gentle sunrise experience that few other wake-up lights can contend with. There are a few interface issues, but they’re worth putting up with in this case.

Lumie Bodyclock Starter 30

Bodyclock STARTER 30

Despite Philips producing the biggest range of wake-ups lights, Lumie invented the device, and so it’s worth taking a closer look at the company’s product range. This UK firm specialise in the development of light therapy devices, with the Lumie Bodyclock Starter 30 being used to help sufferers of Seasonal Affective Disorder.

Like the Philips HF3520, this wake-up light also has a very pleasant sunrise simulator. It shifts gradually through a spectrum of warm colours, gently waking you up in the morning. Unfortunately, this light doesn’t have much of an audio alarm (just a simple beep), although this does mean that it has less buttons and instructions to contend with!

At $135, this Lumie wake-up light is the lowest priced in the company’s range and represents excellent value for money. With its smooth and stylish design and a 30-minute sunrise simulator which wakes you up slowly with the help of soft, warm hues of light, it does everything you want it to. Plus, the sunrise simulator works in reverse, helping you to relax and unwind when you’re ready to fall asleep.

The main drawbacks of this wake-light involve the alarm. Not only does it consist of a basic bleep, without any other sounds or a radio, but you have to reset it every night, which can be tedious.

Despite Lumie’s failure to add a few other alarm sounds, the Bodyclock Starter 30 is definitely worth considering if you’re seeking a simple and effective sunrise simulator. Whilst the Philips model is unarguably more modern in its design and offers a wider range of sunrise colours, this might be worth overlooking due to the low price of this light.

Nature Bright’s Sun Bliss

Nature Bright Sun Bliss

The Sun Bliss 2-in-1 lamp from Nature Bright offers light therapy and a wake-up light alarm clock in one neat package. The device, which is powered by a 10,000 lux bulb, weighs just 15.5oz and is compact in size, making it perfect for travelling. It fits easily into a backpack, purse or laptop bag and includes a universal power adapter, which means you can take it with you wherever you may go.

The lamp gradually increases in intensity 30 minutes before the alarm time, simulating a morning sunrise. The light not only helps to regulate your circadian rhythm, ensuring you sleep soundly and wake up feeling refreshed, but it also means you awaken slowly and peacefully. Advanced LED diffusion lens protects your eyes from the harmful effect of UV rays.

Philips HF3506

Philips Wake-Up Light HF3506

The Philips HF3506 is just one of the many wake-up lights in the HF3000 series. However, this one has some key differences that make it stand out from the rest. With 10 brightness settings, a choice of two bird sounds or radio as the final alarm, and the option to snooze for up to nine minutes, it’s a good option if you’re seeking a wake-up up light packed with features.

In terms of design, the Philips HF3506 is very minimalist and contemporary, and won’t fail to complement any décor. It has a circular face with a fixed prop so that it stays upright and has touch-sensitive controls on the front which are easy to use. The digital display has four brightness options. You can rest assured that this wake-up light will make a sleek and stylish addition to your bedroom.

There may be many wake-up lights in choose from in the HF3000 series, but this one outshines the rest in terms of design, features and usability. Some negative points include the fact that you must reset the alarm every day, and there’s no battery backup. This means that if you lose power, it’ll lose its settings. These are small drawbacks, but important to consider when you’re comparing the various wake-up lights in the range.

Working out the differences between the models can be a confusing task, especially as there are only small differences between many of them. Look carefully before buying to make sure you have all the features you need.

Lumie Bodyclock Active 250

Lumie Bodyclock ACTIVE 250

The Lumie Bodyclock Starter 30 represents better value for money, however it does lack a few features. The 250 is a big upgrade, offering more features and a much more contemporary design and display.

Unlike the majority of wake-up light alarm clocks, it doesn’t just focus on waking, but on going to sleep too. As well as a slow sunset simulator, it also has ocean sounds and white noise to help you relax and drift off to sleep.

The light quality is on another level to the Bodyclock Starter 30, with an excellent subtle slow fade. It ranges from a dim glow to a very bright light, which won’t fail to wake you up feeling calm and relaxed. It also has a choice of alarm sounds, including two nature sounds, beeping and FM radio.

If there’s one drawback to the Lumie Bodyclock Active 250, along with the fact that it’s more expensive, is that the instructions and combination of buttons can be complicated until you get accustomed to them. Overall though, this wake-up light does its job very well and is definitely an improvement on the Starter 30. If you like your devices to be bursting with features, it’s worth considering.

FAQ ( Frequently Asked Question on Wake-up Light)

What is a wake-up light?

A wake-up light wakes you up using light instead of sound. These devices use a dawn simulation effect that wakes you up gently and without the sudden jolt of a conventional alarm clock. Wake-up lights not only wake you up from your sleep - they do so whilst helping you feel relaxed, refreshed and with good energy levels.

How do wake-up lights work?

Wake-up lights rely on the body’s sensitivity to light, imitating the effects that morning light has on the biological clock. They produce warm wake-up light that slowly gets brighter over a period of around 30 minutes before the set wake-up time. Once the light has reached peak intensity, you’ll be fully awake.

Do wake-up lights work?

In most cases, wake-up lights are very effective at helping you wake up in a more natural and pleasant way. These lights have been developed after extensive research into the body’s circadian rhythms and how they’re affected by sunlight. Some studies show that being awoken suddenly by sound raises cortisol levels, directly increasing stress and tiredness as well as low mood. A wake-up light can address these issues too.

Who needs a wake-up light?

Wake-up lights could be useful to anyone want to wake up in a better mood and more alert. If you don’t like being pulled suddenly out of sleep by a traditional alarm clock; you sleep in often after hitting in the snooze button too many times; or you wake up feeling dazed and sluggish, a wake-up light could be for you. Light alarm clocks are also well-suited to people who find it difficult to wake up during the winter; those who work night shifts; and people who suffer from seasonal affective disorder.


No-one enjoys waking up to a blaring alarm clock, and so it’s no surprise that a more peaceful way to begin the day has hit the mainstream. Wake-up lights provide a stress-free wake-up method that lets you skip the snooze button and avoid that morning grumpiness you may have become accustomed to. There are many wake-up lights on the market, all with varying designs, features and price tags. Hopefully this article has helped you to find one which will help you wake you up slowly and peacefully, leaving you feeling relaxed, reenergised and ready to face all that the day has to throw at you.