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Waking up before sunrise can feel impossible when crawling out of bed in the early morning darkness. With the invention of the sunrise alarm clock, also known as a light therapy alarm clock, you no longer have to turn on a bedroom light at 4 a.m. and feel blinded. A sunrise alarm clock simulates the sun's rise and rays, so instead of waking up in the darkness to a blaring alarm beep, you wake up to a chosen light level and a gentle alarm sound.
These days, sunrise alarm clocks offer much more than just a light bulb and gentle alarm tone. Some can provide features like meditation and breathing exercises to help calm you before bed and even rainbow lights.
Whether you're looking for a no-frills sunrise alarm clock or one that can help you calm down before bed with voiceover narratives, you'll be able to get one that will wake you feeling refreshed and ready to tackle your work day long before the sun rises. Below are our picks for the best sunrise alarm clocks.
Also: The 5 best smart alarm clocks
Philips SmartSleep Sleep and Wake Up sunrise lamp specs: Light-guided breathing | Sunset simulation | Smart touch display
The Philips SmartSleep Sleep and Wake Up sunrise lamp meets all our requirements for a great sunrise alarm. It can simulate both a sunrise for morning wake-up and a sunset to aid in falling asleep at night. You can choose from nature sounds, ambient songs, or even your favorite radio station as the alarm gently rings. Furthermore, you can customize the brightness and noise level of the alarm up to 20 different levels.
In addition to its sleek, modern design, the lamp has a convenient, soft, adjustable, one-touch light for getting up to use the bathroom or check on children. The touch screen display also features easy-to-navigate buttons, allowing you to quickly set an alarm before bedtime or start a breathing cycle just before sleeping.
Personally, I have used this sunrise wake-up lamp for several years and found it to be very effective in getting me out of bed faster. The alarm is a gentle bell gong when the light fails to wake me up, and it can handle two alarms when my partner needs to wake up at a different time in the morning.
Jall Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock specs: Adjustable sunrise simulation time | Multiple color smart light bulb
The sleek alarm clock from Jall has no frills and can wake you up with a sunrise simulation as early as 10 minutes or as long as 30 minutes. You can program two different alarms, and the snooze function can be used up to five times at nine minutes per snooze, allowing you to enjoy a few extra minutes of peace before beginning your day.
The alarm includes various smart light colors and seven audio sounds, such as wind bells and piano, with up to 16 noise levels. Additionally, it can play FM radio if you prefer to wake up to NPR or another station. If you prefer complete darkness at bedtime, you can turn off the display so that it remains dark while you sleep.
Amazon Halo Rise specs: Contactless sleep tracking | Sunrise light simulation | Subscription-free app
Have you strayed from sleep trackers in the past because you didn't want to get into bed with tech? I don't blame you -- a wearable can be clunky and not at all conducive to a good night's sleep. Amazon's newest addition to its Rise line, however, is a contactless sleep tracker. The Halo Rise uses low-energy sensors to analyze your breathing patterns, movements, and room environment to provide measurable and actionable sleep insights. Plus, it doubles as a sleek, sun-simulating alarm clock that flooded my room with light even on the gloomiest of days.
Via the subscription-free Halo Rise app, you can access your usual sleep tracking stats such as sleep duration and cycle along with environmental stats like the room's lux, temperature, and humidity percentage. The app then takes that information and consolidates it into a "sleep score," ranging from 0 to 100. You can use this score to make the appropriate adjustments either by adjusting external factors or using the in-app meditation recommendations or sleep programs, which are designed to aid in better sleep. And for an even smarter, hands-free experience, you can pair the Rise with an Alexa or Echo Show device.
Review: Amazon Halo Rise: A sleep-tracking nearable to replace your clumsy wearable
The $140 price tag might be daunting at first, but for accurate and actionable tracking, a sunrise light, and reading light, I feel like this three-in-one alarm nearable has earned its price and a permanent place on my nightstand.
Hatch Rest Smart Sound Machine specs: Color-coordinated wake-up indicators | Soft nightlight | Smart app connection
If you are attempting to train a toddler to rise in the morning, you absolutely must consider acquiring the Hatch Rest Smart sound machine. This sleep machine includes 11 different sounds and 10 colors, allowing you to personalize it from ocean waves to light lullabies. You can adjust the lights, sounds, and programs with the smart app's ease, making it simple to set wake-up times and sleep times from anywhere in the house.
The wake time feature enables you to assist young ones in learning when to rise in the morning by utilizing a unique "wake-up" color. When it changes to your selected color, children will know when it's time to awaken for the day. The recommended minimum age to use the time-to-rise feature is two years old, so while they're learning to be a "big kid," they can learn the wake-up cues. You can also use it as a nightlight to help children feel safe from those pesky nighttime monsters under the bed.
Hatch Restore 2 specs: Curated content channels for relaxing | Comprehensive smart app | White noise sleep sounds
If you require a white noise machine in the background to feel well-rested, the Hatch Restore 2 is an excellent choice for you since it combines your sleep and waking requirements into one. In the accompanying app, you can program the clock to play white noise while you sleep and wake you up with a sunrise simulation at the time you choose.
Review: I replaced my phone alarm with this smart sunrise clock. The results were night and day
You can select from meditation, deep breathing exercises, or just the white noise machine with the Hatch Restore 2. Furthermore, you may use the app to schedule your sleep and waking needs, allowing you to feel more rested when you wake up. Additionally, like others on this list, the clock's light doubles as a reading light before bedtime.
For those that want an alarm clock without a subscription, the Philips SmartSleep Sleep and Wake Up sunrise Lamp is our top choice. It provides gentle wake-up, adjustable light and noise settings, and comes with a reading light, breathing exercises, and a sunset simulation. It's also at a very affordable price point considering the features that it comes with sans app.
|Sunrise Alarm Clock||Price (USD)||Where to Buy||App Support||White Noise Feature||Touch Interface / capacitive||Gradual Alarm|
|Philips SmartSleep Sleep and Wake Up sunrise lamp||$180||Amazon, Best Buy||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Jall Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock||$33||Amazon||No||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Amazon Halo Rise||$140||Amazon||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Hatch Rest Smart Sound Machine||$70||Hatch||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Hatch Restore 2||$200||Hatch||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
You're going to want to consider a few factors. First, you'll need to decide whether you want one that comes with all the bells and whistles, like a smart app that can create schedules for winding down and waking up, or if you would prefer one where you can simply tap a couple of buttons on an easy-to-read interface for ease of use.
Additionally, you'll need to decide what kind of sunrise clock you want. Most come with a 30-minute wake-up sunlight simulator, while a few can be adjusted to as little as 10 minutes. If you prefer a different color besides the traditional yellow LED smart bulb, you'll need to make sure that the alarm clock you choose offers different colors.
|Choose this sunrise alarm clock...||If you want this...|
|Philips SmartSleep Sleep and Wake Up sunrise lamp||If you want a top-of-the-line sunrise alarm clock with customizable settings, advanced app support, and high-end features, choose this. The SmartSleep lamp has a variety of features, including multiple wake-up sounds, customizable light intensity, and a sunset simulation mode.|
|Jall Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock||If you want a budget-friendly sunrise alarm clock with a variety of wake-up colors and a simple touch interface, choose this. The Jall clock is an affordable option that still offers a variety of features, including a range of wake-up colors, an FM radio, and a gradual alarm.|
|Amazon Halo Rise||If you want a no-contact sleep tracker that also functions as a sunrise alarm clock, choose this. The Halo Rise tracks your sleep and provides a gradual wake-up light that simulates a natural sunrise. It also features an optional gentle alarm sound and can be controlled via the Amazon Halo app.|
|Hatch Rest Smart Sound Machine||If you want a sunrise alarm clock that also functions as a sound machine for toddlers or children, choose this. The Hatch Rest has a range of customizable features, including sound and light settings, and also features a "time to rise" mode that tells children when it's time to wake up.|
|Hatch Restore alarm clock||If you want an all-in-one bedside device that functions as a sunrise alarm clock, sound machine, and bedside reading light, choose this. The Restore has a variety of features, including customizable wake-up sounds, a range of light settings, and multiple relaxation programs.|
A sunrise alarm clock is a device that wakes you up more gently than a traditional alarm clock by using a sunrise simulator coupled with a light, calming alarm audio. They can help you wake up gently and help you get out of bed faster in the morning. Some sunrise alarm clocks even offer features that help you relax for bedtime, promising to help you get to sleep with breathing and meditation exercises.
If you struggle to get out of bed in the morning, or if you wake up long before the sun rises, a sunrise alarm clock can be a beneficial start to your day. If you would like to create a more routine bedtime, you can use extra features on them to help you relax for bedtime, making this clock a worthy purchase.
We chose these alarm clocks by reviewing clock features and specs, including functionality, ease of use, and customer reviews. Anything that has less than a 4.5-star rating was not included in this roundup, and some of the recommendations come from ZDNet tech experts with personal experience using these clocks.
A sunrise alarm clock typically is an alarm clock that simulates a natural sunrise by gradually increasing light intensity, mimicking the natural way the sun rises. This type of alarm clock is designed to help you wake up more gently and naturally, and may also offer other features like soothing sounds, customizable light colors, and app support for personalized settings. Sunrise alarm clocks can be helpful for people who struggle with waking up feeling rested and energized, or for those who have trouble getting up in the morning.
Yes, most sunrise alarm clocks also come with a regular alarm clock function, so you can use them as a regular alarm clock if you prefer, or you can use the light therapy function alone or in combination with sound.
Sunrise alarm clocks can range in price from around $20 to over $200, depending on the brand, features, and quality of the product. There many affordable options available that are effective at waking you up with light.
Sunrise alarm clocks use light therapy to simulate a sunrise, gradually increasing the amount of light in your room to mimic the natural way that the sun rises. They are thought to be very effective at waking you up. Several studies have found that wake-up light therapy (using a sunrise alarm clock) is also effective at regulating the circadian rhythm and improving mood in patients with seasonal affective disorder.
Whether you want one with smart app features or just want something a little less Wi-Fi enabled, there are plenty of sunrise alarm clocks to choose from. Take a look at two more options worth considering:
Whether you prefer the sunset or the sunrise, this light simulates both with 20 personalized brightness settings.
If you want a Philips brand sunrise alarm clock but don't want to spend a lot of money, this is a great option with 10 brightness settings.