Anyone who knows me will be aware that my sleeping pattern can be a little, ahem, erratic. A night owl by nature, but add in a super needy cat (not kidding) who loves to wake me up at all hours, probably too much coffee, and living in an often noisy part of town, means that sometimes mornings can be tough. I decided to conquer puffy eyes and that heavy head feeling in the AM a couple of years ago by trying out the Philips Somneo Sleep and Wake-Up Light to see whether it could help. To quickly summarize, it did.
It's worth noting that it was January when I first started using this wake-up light and I was really not appreciating my phone's alarm going off when it was still pitch black outside. I religiously used it to help me get out of bed during the darker months, that was until my little sister moved into a new rental a few months ago and was complaining about her sleep. I thought perhaps she could use it for a little while to see if it was right for her. Spoiler alert: She doesn't want to give it back.
Wake-up lights have come quite a long way and the ones that stand out from the rest are those that feel intuitive. After all, they are tapping into your sleep cycle and how your body reacts to daylight. Visually though, this one is a vibe. The glow carries across the entire room and brings an ambiance you're going to enjoy. So for studio-dwellers, it'll be a hit. Here's what else we thought...
TLDR: What I thought of the Philips Sleep & Wake-Up Light
My sister and I had similar shared favorite features, which seems kind of obvious come to think of it. But as serial snoozers and ones for a solo bedroom boogie, this wake-up light delivers.
"I like the radio feature especially" shares my sister, who works a busy fashion ecommerce/visual merchandising job. She and I both need sleep and gadgets that are fuss-free and functional.
"The fact I can plug in my phone charging cable at the back is a really basic bonus," she adds. I love this feature, too, purely because it reduces the need for outlets, which can be few and far between in a rental. My sister, who used it for a couple of months, says, "It's super calming compared to regular alarms, I don't need that stress in the morning; it's a much better way to start my day."
If you're a super snoozer, like both my sister and I, this wake-up light will help get past that groggy feeling that comes with stark wake-ups and equally as quick dips back into sleep. "Hitting snooze doesn't make me feel groggy like my regular iPhone, oddly," she notes. Nine minutes must just be the perfect amount of time to doze back off for.
In all, like me, she notes that waking up and winding down with the Somneo lamp helps her feel more refreshed than previously when using her iPhone, noting that it was pretty dreamy from day one.
How does the Philips Somneo Sleep and Wake-Up Light work?
The Philips Somneo Sleep and Wake-Up Light is a modern smart light alarm clock that uses light to do exactly what its name says. You'll wake up more naturally in the morning and relax thoroughly in the evening for a better night's sleep overall.
It simulates sunset, starting with a warm red glow, graduating slowly in intensity towards the lightest and brightest settings, as the sun would. For an all-around wholesome experience, you can couple the light with either nature sounds or FM radio to help you feel more sprightly. It reverses this display in the evening to emulate a sunset which, over time, helps you drift off a little quicker and enjoy better quality sleep.
Other functionalities of the wake-up light include a RelaxBreathe program, an AUX cable that lets you stream music to the speaker, and a charging port for your phone — the two latter features are notable favorites.
Setting it up
Set up is super easy. It's a case of plugging it in and following the instructions on the display screen. You could be set up in as little as 10 minutes flat. You want to choose your clock setting, you can switch off the button clicks also if you'd like, and you can set up two different waking-up profiles.
Using the Philips Somneo Sleep and Wake-Up Light
This part for me is just as important as waking up, and the Philips Somneo Sleep and Wake-Up light helps you do both. You program it to start winding down and mimicking a sunset for however many minutes you'd like, adding sound if you'd like as well.
The nature sounds option was actually so nice and effective. It changed my mood and made me feel calmer. Plus, whether you're in a hurry to fall asleep or want to read and spend a bit more time relaxing, you can tailor it to suit your needs. You can also switch the display light off if you don't want any lights on at all by pressing the display button.
There are 25 lightness intensity levels (up to 300 lux) to choose from and the brightness adapts depending on how much light there is in your room that morning, which is pretty clever. You can choose how long the sunrise lasts, too. The waking curve is programmed to 30 minutes, but if you want to start rousing 10 or 50 minutes before your actual alarm goes off to the sound of your choice, it's your call entirely.
If you're still not quite ready to get out of bed (always), you can gently tap the top to snooze for nine minutes which is very intuitive and easy to use — perhaps a bit too easy at times. The alarm will automatically shut off after 60 minutes, snoozing or not.
As well as the wind-down evening feature, the Somneo Sleep and Wake-Up light is also designed to help get you through any stressful moments of your day. Particularly useful if you WFH. All you have to do is select the RelaxBreathe program and choose whether you want a light or sound-guided session to help you ride through any anxious moments. We love it for this.
Top perks of the Philips Somneo Sleep and Wake-Up light
With other wake-up lights, you usually have a pre-programmed brightness level, so the ability to fine-tune this with the Somneo is great. Plus, the fact that it will adapt to your room's light levels feels like an important detail.
The nature sounds are really enlightening and pretty realistic, which is very soothing on tough mornings. I also think the RelaxBreathe program and light or sound-led breathing options are a thoughtful touch that not many other wake-up lights feature. You can follow the belly breathing exercises in the manual, too, which it's a good distraction if anything!
Finally, as someone who serially wakes up in the middle of the night, the midnight light was great to help me doze off again quickly, rather than reach for my phone.
What else to consider
There really aren't many qualms to report, only that it's not a total budget buy and more of an investment. Additionally, it's quite a big object and could overtake a nightstand if yours is particularly small. In the same breath, the light it gives off is very cool and a smaller model I suppose might not be able to deliver that entirely.
It has all you need in a modern wake-up light, however, there are more advanced models out there now. For example, I really like other wake-up lights with Bluetooth rather than just an AUX cable. It means they can multi-task a little more.
Throw in some lush bedding and a better mattress and honestly, your sleeping routine will feel on point.
About this review and our reviewer
Camille is the deputy editor for Real Homes. She is a total night owl and a big coffee drinker, so having the best products at hand to help her (and her cat) switch off and wake up feeling refreshed for busy days at a desk in the city is a must.
"I've tried one other wake-up lamp in the past couple of years and it's safe to say that compared to Philips' Somneo, it's more basic and hey, I am not afraid to admit that I like a little cozy luxury when it involves bed and sleep," she says. "My sister also rated the Somneo, noting how it seriously helped get rid of that groggy early morning feeling you get after you've hit snooze one too many times."