Three best wake-up lights

Daniel Kobialka

A wake-up light may help you put an end to morning grogginess, a problem commonly linked to low cortisol levels.

Let's face it -- waking up to a loud alarm clock in a dark bedroom is rarely an ideal way to start a day. Fortunately, wake-up lights replicate natural sunlight to help you awaken feeling refreshed and ready for whatever life throws at you.

Whereas a traditional alarm clock plays music or makes noise, a wake-up light simulates the morning light to help wake you. As a result, you get a natural energy boost without the stress and anxiety a blaring alarm can cause, and you're in the best position to maximize productivity and efficiency throughout the day.

Of course, not all wake-up lights are the same. We're here to help you make an informed buying decision that will serve you well both now and in the future.

Considerations when choosing wake-up lights

Key factors to consider as you evaluate wake-up lights include the following.

Light color: Most wake-up lights simulate the natural yellow and orange hues of the sun. However, some wake-up lights offer blue, pink, red, or purple light.

Sounds and alarms: In addition to simulating natural sunlight, wake-up lights frequently include sounds and alarms designed to help you get out of bed in the morning. These sounds and alarms are usually customizable, and you should be able to turn them on or off at your convenience. Also, wake-up light sounds and alarms vary. Some allow you to kick off your day with music; others gently awaken you with calm, soothing nature sounds.

Sunset feature: For those who struggle to fall asleep, a wake-up light with a sunset feature may be a good idea. The sunset feature gradually reduces the light's brightness until it finally turns off. This is a great option for people who want to relax before bedtime and ease into restful sleep.

Reading light: If you enjoy reading before bedtime, you can pick up a wake-up light that comes equipped with a reading light. This type of wake-up light tends to be smaller than comparable options, making it a superb option for those with limited space.

Wake-up light features

Keep these features in mind as you shop for a wake-up light.

Battery backup: We recommend that you opt for a wake-up light that includes a battery backup. With a battery backup in place, your device won't fail during a power outage.

Size: Some wake-up lights are bigger than others. Depending on how much space you have, size could impact your buying decision.

Bright light therapy: A wake-up light that features bright light therapy may help you reset your circadian rhythm, resulting in restful sleep night after night.

Price: Price ranges from about $20 to $150. Low-end models tend to replicate natural sunlight but lack a radio, light color options, and other features. High-end models typically feature expert construction and lots of features.


Q. How does a wake-up light work?

A. A wake-up light simulates the sunrise, emitting soft rays of light before you even wake up. Brightness steadily increases, waking you gently.

Q. How does a wake-up light help alleviate stress?

A. A person who fails to get a good night's sleep may experience chronic stress that leads to cortisol spikes throughout the day. These cortisol spikes may cause a person to feel tired as the day progresses, too. However, wake-up lights foster a good circadian rhythm, thereby helping a person maintain consistent cortisol production.

Q. Are wake-up lights portable?

A. Some wake-up lights are large and bulky; others are small and portable. If you're searching for a way to stimulate natural light when you travel, a smaller, more portable wake-up light may prove to be an excellent choice.

Wake-up lights we recommend

Best of the best: Philips Wake-Up Light With Colored Sunrise Simulation

Our take: For those who want a wake-up light that replicates natural sunlight and offers plenty of features, this choice is ideal.

What we like: It features a straightforward, user-friendly design that you should have no trouble using right out of the box. Options include five sounds, an FM radio, and 10 brightness levels.

What we dislike: It's pricey in comparison to similar wake-up lights.

Best bang for your buck: FitMaker Sunrise Alarm Clock

Our take: If you're on the lookout for a wake-up light that's loaded with features and won't break your budget, this is an outstanding choice.

What we like: Its variety of features include seven colors, brightness control, and six sound options. The sunset simulation option emits a weak light to help you fall asleep at bedtime.

What we dislike: The FM radio can be fuzzy at times, and the plastic components are somewhat flimsy.

Choice 3: INLIFE Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock

Our take: This wake-up light is affordable and durable. It also serves as a wonderful bedside lamp in any bedroom.   

What we like: The cylindrical shape offers an excellent blend of style and function. With 20 brightness levels, four sound options, and seven color choices, you can easily customize it to match your sleep preferences.

What we dislike: This wake-up light lacks a power adapter and does not include a radio. Its alarm noise cannot be disabled, which may be frustrating for some users.

Daniel Kobialka is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

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