The best wake up lights can genuinely help those of us who find getting up in the dark a near-impossible chore. Some wake-up lights are also certified medical-garde light therapy devices that have been proven to help with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – if you're a sufferer, you should definitely check out our top picks. They are also great for use if you can't get outside as much as you'd like to, to enjoy the few hours of light in the winter. If working from home plus lockdown means you never see the light of day, a wake-up light could help make mornings (and evenings) a bit more cheerful.
How do wake up lights work?
Using light to tap into your Circadian rhythm, wake up lights are designed to lightly lift you from your slumber, causing minimal stress to your mind and body in the process. This reduces the groggy feeling that many of us experience first thing in the morning.
Far from an unnecessary gimmick, these handy bedside lights really work and have the power to transform your morning routine from first use. They're also designed to help you drift off to sleep more readily – and can do away with that jarring alarm noise in the morning, too. Keep scrolling for our round-up of the best models. There are options for every budget, so you'll be sure to find something that suits.
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The best wake up lights
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The Lumie Zest doubles as a wake up light and an alarm clock, boasting a large digital clock. Though small, this wake up light certainly packs a punch. Here's what it can do:
Two types of light therapy
Yep, this wake up light offers not one but two types of light therapy – bright light therapy and dawn simulation. With 2,000 lux behind it and blue-enriched white LEDs, too.
Not only does this wake up light feature a digital clock on its front, but it can wake you up gradually (and naturally) within 15 or 30 minutes. You can also set it so it wakes you up with a noise – radio alarm or a chime. Though it is worth us noting that you can only set one alarm on this device at any one time.
An adjustable timer will choose one of the five different light levels to give you the optimum treatment – this is typically 30 minutes at full brightness.
Certified Medical Device
This wake up light is an effective treatment for SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). It can also improve your mood and boost your energy at the same time. That and it can make you feel more alert.
Thanks to its small and compact size, you can use this wake up light anywhere in your home. From your living room to your home office to your bedside. Pop it in your overnight bag when going on staycation, too.
Next in our list is the Philips wake up light with its sleek design and impressive range of wake up features. Here's everything you need to know about it:
Designed to sit unobtrusively on your bedside table, the Philips Wake Up Light is one of the more attractive models we've seen.
Choose from a range of wake up sounds
Choose between seven wake up sounds including bird song and local radio for a truly customisable wake up call.
Built-in USB port
Perfect for those looking to reduce the number of trailing wires in and around their bedside table, this model comes with a built-in USB port that's perfect for charging your phone overnight.
When it comes to design, the Casper Glow Light just can't be beaten. Despite not offering a built-in alarm clock, this model still has a lot to offer. Here's everything you need to know:
We think the Casper Glow Light might just be the most attractive wake up light currently available. It sits almost unnoticed on a bedside table and is free of the (often quite unattractive) speakers and buttons that accompany wake up lights.
What we love most about the Casper Glow light is its portability. You can pick it up and use it to guide you around in the dark so you don't have to turn on any big lights that will blast your eyes at four in the morning and properly get you out of a deep sleep.
Experience sunrise and sunset
In addition to replicating sunrise to wake users up gradually, this model also replicates sunset and offers a customisable 15 to 60-minute programme that's perfect for unwinding in the evening.
Sync your Glow Lights
Decided you want more than one Glow Light? Whether to replace your existing bedside lamps, or to create a relaxing atmosphere throughout your entire home, when evening rolls around, it's super easy to connect all of your lights together and control them from one app.
Factors worth considering
The only downside is that this model is not voice activated, nor does it come with a built-in alarm. So, you may have to set a separate alarm if you can't rely on a light to wake you up.
Next in our round up of the best wake up lights is the Fitfort Alarm Clock Wake Up Light, which offers users many of the perks of more expensive wake up lights, but at a fraction of the price. Here's everything you need to know about it:
Affordable price point
Retailing at less than £30, this model is by far the most affordable in our round up and is an option worth considering if you want to test out a wake up light without breaking the bank. Despite being almost half the price of many other models on our list, this model still offers many of the perks associated with a quality wake up light.
Designed with a simple, disk shape, this minimal looking alarm will sit comfortably on your bedside table. Plus, we think it's a one of the more attractive designs going.
Wake up to an array of sounds
This model also offers users the option to choose between a broad range of wake up sounds. Options include bird song, gentle music and FM radio, depending on your preference.
Replace your bedside lamp with this handy wake up light
Complete with a choice of six LED light shades, it's also possible to customise your lighting according to your mood.
The sleek and futuristic-looking Philips SmartSleep has lots of functions and customisable options to make it work for you.
Colour and brightness settings
One of our favourite things about this light is that you can choose the precise brightness level and colour that suits you. Choose from warm white, yellow, or amber.
Sunset mode and breathing guide
Struggle to nod off? This light will also help you get to sleep with its (very pretty) sunset mode and and a special Relax Breathe mode that helps you breathe more deeply in order to fully unwind before bedtime.
Nice alarm sounds, but no traditional alarm
There are eight alarm sounds, but, somewhat oddly, no ringing or buzzing sound that many people associate with needing to wake up. So, if you're the type of person who sleeps through anything but a military-style drill, you might consider a different model.
Lumie started the wake-up light trend, and the Bodyclock is still one of the best models around.
Gently does it with a sunrise time frame of as short as 15 or as long as 90 minutes. The choice is yours, and you can also choose the final light intensity – great if you're not keep on bright sunlight in the middle of winter.
This light achieves a very realistic sunrise and sunset effect thanks to the use of mixed LED lights. The effect is softer and more natural.
Lots of sound options
If you like a sound alarm, this has lots of different sound options from traditional beeping to white noise and even goats (yes, our favourite).
How to buy the best wake up light
Where to buy the best wake up lights
Looking for tips on how to buy the best wake up light? Follow our advice to ensure you find a model that suits your requirements.
Most standard models offer a light range of up to 30 minutes. That means the light will gradually increase over the course of half an hour, until maximum brightness is reached. If you'd prefer a longer, more gradual process of waking up, you may be best going for something with a customisable right range.
The lumens of a wake up light refer to how bright it will get. If you're a heavy – or not particularly light-sensitive – sleeper, you may require something with a higher level of lumens.
Do you need a built-in alarm clock?
While most wake up lights come with a built-in alarm clock, it's certainly not the case for all of them. So, if you don't want to rely on just light to wake you up, or don't want to have to set a separate alarm, this is certainly a factor worth considering.
We've also written a guide to the best alarm clocks, which may better suit some of your needs.
You may also want to think about the design of your wake up alarm. Are you bothered about how large and cumbersome it looks, if it does the job? Or are you more conscious about the aesthetic appeal?
Find more tips on getting the best night's sleep:
- Best mattress: pick from pocket sprung, memory foam, hybrid and latex with our mini reviews and advice
- The best pillow: 9 best buys for a sound sleep