Best sunrise alarm clocks: Light-based wake-up alarms proven to boost your mood

Our edit of the best sunrise alarm clocks, designed to help you spring out of bed feeling alert and ready to face the day

Lifestyle shot of the Lumie Shine 300, one of the best sunrise alarm clocks
(Image credit: Lumie)

Do you struggle to drag yourself out of bed? You're not the only one. The blaring, electronic drone of an alarm clock jolts you awake, disrupting your circadian rhythms and providing a very rude, sudden awakening. The best sunrise alarm clocks aren't only a more gentle way to start the day, but they're also scientifically recommended to make you happier. 

A study by researchers from the University found exposure to bright light early in the morning was several times more effective than an antidepressant, when tried over a period of eight weeks. This is thought to be because it encourages a more natural cycle of melatonin, the body's sleep hormone.

So, how do they work? These clever gadgets mimic the natural brightening of the sun, softly easing you awake instead of startling you out of sleep like a regular alarm. By stimulating your body clock, they help to regulate your sleep / wake cycles, enabling you to feel more alert as you prepare to face the day.

Our top pick for best wake-up light is the Lumie Bodyclock Shine 300, for its intuitive controls and stylish design. If you’re after a cheaper option, the FitFort Wake Up Light offers seven shades of mood lighting, as well as FM radio. 

How to choose the best sunrise alarm clock for you

There’s an abundance of wake-up lights on the market, with prices ranging from under $50/£30 to well over $100/£100. Here are a few pointers to help you find your perfect bedside companion. 

  • DESIGN

Wake up lights vary radically in their design, from the frankly futuristic to sleeker, more minimalist models. If space is at a premium, you might appreciate a sunrise alarm clock that can double as a bedside light. Many models offer this functionality, often in addition to a sunset button which gradually dims the light as you drift off to sleep.

  • SOUNDS

All the best sunrise alarm clocks wake you with light, but the pricier models add a few bells and whistles. Fancy listening to the radio as you’re pulled out of sleep? We’ve found some great options with FM capability. Many brands have soothing sounds to help you fall asleep and wake up too. These range from birdsong to piano music or even gently bleating goats.

  • CLEVER EXTRAS

Wake up lights are designed to make your mornings (and bedtimes) more harmonious, so it’s worth considering what will up the ante even further. If you’re an avid snoozer, you might like a tap-to-snooze function, or perhaps you’d like to be able to stream music via Bluetooth. Many models also offer dimmable red night lights, as well as soothing melodies to send you off to sleep.

The best sunrise alarm clocks you can buy right now

Lumie Bodyclock Shine 300, one of the best sunrise alarm clocksFit&Well Best Buy

(Image credit: Lumie)

1. Lumie Bodyclock Shine 300

The best sunrise alarm clock for most people

Specifications
Radio: FM radio
Choice of sounds: 15
Adjustable sunrise: Yes
Audio alarm: Yes
Dimensions: 18 x 21 x 12cm
Reasons to buy
+Great sound choice +Tap control snooze
Reasons to avoid
-FM radio only 

When it comes to sunrise alarm clocks, it’s fair to say Lumie know a thing or two. The company has been developing light therapy products for 30 years, and this domed design doesn’t disappoint. 

While it takes a few minutes to set up, it’s very easy to personalize. You can adjust the duration of your sunrise and sunset from 15 to 90 minutes, and the light intensity is easily altered from a bright light to a soft glow. 

Alarms can be pre-set for the week ahead and there are 14 natural sounds, a standard beep and also an FM radio. Fancy nodding off or waking up to birdsong, or even the gentle bleating of goats? No problem! 

Philips SleepSmart wake-up light, one of the best sunrise alarm clocksFit&Well Approved

(Image credit: Philips)

2. Philips SmartSleep Connected Sleep and Wake Up Light

The best premium sunrise alarm clock

Specifications
Radio: FM radio
Sounds: 7 or 8 wake-up sounds, depending on model
Adjustable sunrise: Yes
Audio alarm: Yes
Dimensions: 22.5 x 22 x 12cm
Reasons to buy
+Handy charging point +Clinically proven 
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

Yes it’s an investment, but the Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light is clinically proven to work. Independent studies concluded that it not only wakes you up more naturally (ith 25 brightness intensities, it floods your room with bright yellow light) but also more energized.

Wake up to nature sounds, ambient music or FM radio and at night, use the light-guided wind down function to ease you into sleep. Simply follow one of seven rhythms of light intensity with your breathing, to help you relax. Alternatively, drift off to also the simulated sunset, accompanied by natural sounds. 

It's easily personalized, either on the device itself or via the SleepMapper app. The latter is only available on the app-enabled Somneo model, which costs around $20/£20 more, but is well worthwhile as it allows you to analyze your bedroom environment and sleep patterns, helping you towards your best night's sleep.

There’s a handy USB charging point too, and the nifty midnight function comes in handy in the dead of night; tap the device twice and it emits a soft orange light to save you stumbling around in the dark. 

Fitfort Wake-Up Light, one of the best sunrise alarm clocksFit&Well Approved

(Image credit: FitFort)

3. FitFort Wake Up Light

The best budget sunrise alarm clock

Specifications
Radio: FM radio
Sounds: 7 sounds
Adjustable sunrise: Yes
Audio alarm: Yes
Dimensions: 18.9 x 17.7 x 11.7cm
Reasons to buy
+Purse-friendly +USB charging port 
Reasons to avoid
-Could be more intuitive 

Reviewers rave about FitFort’s wake up light, not least for its sleek, sun-shaped appearance. The buttons are tucked neatly away at the top of the light and there’s an integrated USB port too – handy for charging your phone or other devices. 

There’s the option to set two different alarms (ideal if your partner wants to wake up later) and the seven natural sounds include wind chimes and calming ocean waves. There’s also the option to wake up to FM radio too. 

With 16 different volume levels and seven shades of mood lighting, ranging from orange through to green and blue, this is a great gadget for the price. 

Beurer WL75, one of the best sunrise alarm clocksFit&Well Approved

(Image credit: Beurer)

4. Beurer WL75

The best sunrise alarm clock for tech-savvy sleepers

Specifications
Radio: FM radio
Sounds: 10 melodies
Adjustable sunrise: Yes
Audio alarm: Yes
Dimensions: 22.5 x 18.5 x 9.5cm
Reasons to buy
+Impressive mood lighting +Slender design 
Reasons to avoid
-Might not suit technophobes 

This slimline design from German brand Beurer doesn’t just look good, it has a relatively small footprint too – handy when space is at a premium. 

In addition to the basics you’d expect, like adjustable alarm times, there’s an FM radio with 10 presets, six wake-up melodies and four sleep melodies too.

It also works as a bedside light and mobile-savvy users will appreciate the handy LightUp app. This connects your phone to your light via Bluetooth, giving you access to a host of additional functions. These include close control over an impressive range of mood lighting, as well as the ability to personalise the brightness and duration of your sunrise. You can stream your own music via Bluetooth too. 

Coulax Wake-Up Light, one of the best sunrise alarm clocksFit&Well Approved

(Image credit: Coulax)

5. Coulax Wake Up Light with Digital Clock Projection

The best sunrise alarm clock for kids

Specifications
Radio: FM radio
Sounds: 30 sounds
Adjustable sunrise: Yes
Audio alarm: Yes
Dimensions: 18.3 x 18 x 9.3cm
Reasons to buy
+Great value +Projects the time 
Reasons to avoid
-Not the most stylish design 

This budget-friendly wake-up light offers the fun option to beam the time onto your bedroom ceiling – handy if you like to know how long you’ve got left in bed! The sizeable screen display can be personalised with four brightness levels too, so it won’t keep you awake at night.

The clock gradually simulates sunrise over 30 minutes and the alarm itself can be set for weekdays, weekends or every day. In addition to an FM radio, the Coulax Wake Up Light has 30 built in sounds, and there are 20 adjustable brightness levels.

With mood lighting options that include pink, blue and yellow, it’ll appeal to youngsters too. Impressive functionality at a purse-friendly price! 

Fit&Well
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The Fit&Well team is all about helping you meet your health and fitness goals in ways that are fun and achievable.