The horrible, nightmarish beeping of an alarm clock can instantly ruin your mood within seconds of being woken up. For me at least, hearing my alarm clock is a terrible way to start the day. Wouldn’t you rather wake up every day like you do on the weekends? Letting the sun to naturally wake you up as the morning begins.
If so, you’re in luck. That is exactly what these 7 “alarm” clocks are designed to do. Unfortunately, waking up with natural sunlight isn’t always possible. If you’re getting up before the sun (we pity you) or if you sleep in a room without a window (okay Harry Potter) you won’t be able to wake up with sunlight. These clocks replace the sun by simulating a gradual, warm light to wake you up gently.
Even if you don’t care about being woken up by the sun, science says you should. In fact, reports in Smithsonian Magazine suggest that waking up with a sun-simulating alarm can help stabilize your circadian rhythm and help you get better sleep.
There are many of these clocks on the market, so we decided to compile our own list of what we feel are the best. Happy waking!
7 Best Sun Simulating Alarm Clocks
Philips Wake-Up Light HF3520
You might not believe that sleek looking device isn’t from an alien spaceship. Its rounded face and circular design make it look great on any nightstand. They also give it a more relaxing, less “alarm clockish” look. What’s really great though, is the sunrise feature that this light has. Unlike some sun simulating clocks which just use white or yellow light, this one uses multiple colors in the simulation for a more realistic experience. It uses a combination of reds, oranges, and yellows to gradually simulate a sunrise right next to your bed.
Thirty minutes before your alarm is set to go off, the lights turn on very dimly. They slowly increase in brightness and whiteness as the time gets closer to your scheduled alarm. You can also choose from five relaxing sounds like birds chirping or gentle piano music to aid in your waking up efforts. On top of all the great features, this alarm clock is backed by clinical trials that attest to its effectiveness. A huge 92% of users said they found it easier to wake up with this versus a traditional alarm clock or their phone. When you aren’t waking up, you can adjust the 10 light settings and use this alarm as a lamp for reading or getting ready for bed. Buy Here
Aura® Day Light Therapy Lamp
Our next selection isn’t necessarily an alarm clock, but will definitely help you get up in the morning. The Aura Day is actually a light therapy lamp not an alarm clock. Experts in the field suggest that exposure to high-lux-level light that simulates sunlight (or is sunlight) is beneficial. This is even more true in the dark winter months. This award-winning lamp gives off a whopping 10,000 lux of UV free white light. You can tilt it for optimal positioning and set it on a timer from 10-60 minutes depending on how long of a light therapy session is preferred. If 10,000 lux is to bright to start, you can use the adjustable dial to select the light level that is best for you.
Being exposed to the light from this lamp for an hour a day before noon is shown to boost mood, energy levels, and reduce depression symptoms. If you turn it on after waking up for about 15 minutes, you’ll find that it’s easier to get out of bed and feel more refreshed. Buy Here
Joyful Heart Multi-Colored Sunrise Alarm Clock
Back to alarm clocks, this one brings a more fun and playful option. It features 7 vibrant colors ranging from blues and greens to reds and pinks. Of course, it also has a warm yellow for sunrise simulations. Like the Philips we discussed earlier, this alarm starts the sunrise simulation 30 minutes before your alarm time. It gradually gets brighter along with 6 relaxing sounds or FM/AM radio accompany the light. The touch buttons on the front allow you to set the time, alarm time, colors, change the radio station, and cycle between 10 brightness settings. For casual use, the different colors make this a great addition to any room for use as ambient lighting. As a sunrise simulating alarm, it has all the features you’re looking for at a reasonable price tag. Buy Here
Philips Somneo Sunrise Wake-Up
Thanks to their extraordinary line of Hue Smart Lighting products, Philips is a well-known name when it comes to unique and cool lighting. That’s why they’ve made our list for a second time. The physical shape of this lamp alone makes us want to buy it and put it on display. A mix of artistic sculpture, abstract design, and donuts make it loveable at first sight. See, you want it already. We haven’t even mentioned the fact that you control it with a touchscreen interface that makes setting alarms feel futuristic. Maybe you won’t dread it so much anymore? You can set your alarm, adjust the brightness, and more with the simple and easy-to-use touchscreen.
When it’s bedtime, take advantage of Philips proprietary feature known as RelaxBreathe. Follow light-guided or sound-guided patterns with your breathing and transition smoothly and gently into sleep. This is great for people who struggle with falling asleep or wiping stress from their mind at the end of a long day. After just 2 weeks of use, 79% of users reported an easier time falling asleep with the RelaxBreathe feature. This alarm clock also features a natural sunrise simulation and sunset simulation to help you wake up and fall asleep more naturally (surprise huh?). Buy Here
hOmeLabs Sunrise Alarm Clock
This one reminds us a lot of the Joyful Heart clock, but with a few differing features. Similarly, it offers multiple color options that you can use as ambiance lighting to replace a lamp on your nightstand. The two clocks have a similar design, but this one features a slightly different time display. You can choose from on, bright, or off; so you can have your preference for the amount of light in the room at night. An impressive array of sounds from both nature and relaxing music libraries compliments the sunrise simulation. Or, you can choose to tune in to your favorite FM/AM station to wake up to in the morning. Buy Here
GLIME Rectangular LED Sun Simulator / Traditional Alarm Combo
Deviating from the rest of the alarm clocks on this list, GLIME’s version is a rectangular cube rather than a circular disc (or donut) shape. Its trendy shape makes it look great in any room, and since it takes up less space it would be perfect for a dorm room or bunk bed shelf. This clock is also set apart from some others because it runs on battery power (USB rechargeable) rather than needing to be plugged in. This makes it very convenient for places where an outlet isn’t accessible (or already taken up by your phone charger). That makes this a great option for traveling so that you can take your relaxing sunrise wake-up on the go. If you want to leave it plugged in, you can connect it to your laptop or a USB outlet for continuous power or to use as a lamp. Its many colors and brightness levels make it perfect for setting the mood on the go as well. Should you not wake up after 5 minutes past your alarm time and the sunrise simulation, the traditional alarm beeping takes over to remind you to get up. Buy Here
YSD Round Wake Up Light
We “round” out our list (pun intended) with this nifty clock from YSD. This one is unique from others in the fact that it emits light in 360° around it. The lights on this one are RGB colors so you can access a huge gradient of 256 full colors. It also features a large snooze button directly on top. Even if you blindly swat there’s no chance you’ll miss it or hit another button by mistake. For rough sleepers, its low profile means you won’t knock it off the nightstand when your pillow runs away. It charges via USB for on the go use or can remain plugged in via USB cable for continuous power. Its small size makes it great for traveling or even camping. Unless you’re in a tent, then just use the real sun for waking up. Buy Here