Waking with a jolt followed by a frantic scramble to locate the source of that incessant beeping isn't the best way to start the day. You feel groggy yet startled, stressed yet tired. Thankfully these days, there's a much better way to begin your mornings. Alternatively called dawn simulation lights, wake-up lights or natural alarm clocks, sunrise alarm clocks mimic the sun as it moves through sunrises and sunsets, making getting up and falling asleep much, much easier.
Philips and Lumie are the titans in the sunrise alarm space, but there is certainly a wide selection of choices. Popular online retailers such as Amazon, Argos and John Lewis sell a variety of sunrise alarm clocks suited to a wide range of budgets and needs. But how do you know which one to choose? Luckily for you, we've done the brunt of the legwork! Here's our guide on how to choose a sunrise alarm clock in the UK.
Sunrise alarm clocks wake you with more than just an alarm. They simulate the sunrise and sunset over a selected period of time, bringing an authentic ray of morning sun into your room. They help you shift your circadian rhythm so that your body and mind fall into a natural sleeping pattern.
By simulating the perfect sunrise, your body slowly wakes up, allowing yourself time to prepare for the day. You feel refreshed, awake and ready to go. This form of light therapy has been clinically proven to improve your mood and is often found to be an effective complementary therapy to SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder).
Some models also include sunset simulations which can be excellent for those that struggle to fall asleep. Over a period of time, the light dims from midday sun to complete darkness, usually to a soothing sound of nature. These lights help set the scene for dreaming, preparing your body for relaxation before you fall asleep.
When choosing a sunrise alarm clock, there are many things to take into consideration, such as the type of light they provide and the shape. Many have additional features, too, whether bedtime breathing exercises or relaxing sounds to wake you up.
First things first - the main feature of a sunrise alarm clock is, of course, the light. Most sunrise alarm clocks will emit a natural, refreshing white light. This sunlight white will be enough to gently rouse your body from a deep slumber in the morning.
Natural white light isn't your only option. Some alarm clocks mimic the sun as it moves through a full spectrum of golden sunrises and sunsets. They start with a subtle deep red, slowly moving through brighter hues, filling your room with a warm, soothing glow - your own, personal sunrise. The light source on these types of alarms doesn't tend to be as bright as white-light-alarms, giving the dawn a more soothing feel.
Some clocks also feature scenes, patterns and multicoloured lights. They predominantly work in the same way, in that the alarms will begin with low, dim light and gradually increase. But, if you're after that little something extra, choose an alarm with additional light features. Other colours and features may not do much for your quality of sleep, but just for fun, they can double up as entertainment!
Of course, light isn't the only feature you should be thinking about. To add a little more ambience to your mornings, choose a sunrise alarm clock with additional sound features.
Wake up to the fairytale chirping of birdsong, forest sounds, or gently lapping waves. Listen to calming piano music, white-noise or running streams to help you drop off, or go old school and program your alarm to switch on the morning radio. If sound quality is essential, choose an alarm which also doubles up as a speaker.
Sunrise alarm clocks come in a variety of shapes and sizes - some are cubed, round, some resemble a car-headlight, and some resemble something from outer space. That said, most companies have found the rounded or headlamp-shaped products to dissipate light better, so most will fit into one of these two categories.
Most of the wake-up lights in the ranking resemble a rounded shape. These are excellent for saturating the entire room in a golden glow, making your faux-sunrise feel much more authentic. The round shape also allows light to dissipate more evenly, enabling a gentler light to cover a larger surface area.
The second most popular shape for a sunrise alarm clock is the head-lamp. These lights are perfect for those who share a bedroom with someone on a different sleeping schedule. They still provide you with a glowing sunrise; however, the light is more directional, meaning that it won't necessarily fill an entire room. These alarms do tend to be a little brighter as the light is more concentrated in one direction.
People who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder often have bouts of depression during autumn and winter. Light therapy is one of the most effective forms of treatment, so if you suffer from SAD, make sure that you choose a sunrise alarm clock which is medically certified.
Some brands like Lumie have been researching SAD light therapy systems for 30+ years, so they have some of the most reliable, medically certified kits on the market - that said, they aren't the only ones!
While light and sound features are the main things to look out for, many sunrise alarm clocks include an array of additional features. If you're torn between a couple products, thinking about the bonus features might be just the thing to sway you.
The snooze button is probably one of the most used functions of the iPhone. Of course, there are people who jump out of bed as soon as the alarm sounds feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and ready for the day. Unfortunately, for many of us, that is a mere fantasy. So if you're one of those who always needs that extra 5 minutes in bed, make sure you choose a sunrise alarm clock with a snooze function.
Sunrise alarm clocks can be as simple as a few buttons to as complex as a built-in app which interconnects to your Google Home and Alexa. If you're admittedly a bit technologically challenged, it's best to stick with a simpler model, but if you're a bit of gadget-geek, you could have some real fun tinkering around with some of these features.
If you want to be able to customise the features to suit your tastes, schedule and mood, choose an alarm with a central control system that you can take over, and play around with the settings. These are great if you don't want the same routine every day.
If your problem isn't just with getting up but also falling asleep, opt for a sunrise alarm clock which provides additional sleep-optimising features. A beautiful sunrise can't be fully appreciated unless you've had a decent night's kip!
Sleeping features can range in anything from guided breathing exercises to clocks which assess the temperature and noise pollution of your surroundings, ensuring that they are at the optimal levels for entering the land of nod. If general sleeping issues are your problem, take note of any additional sleeping features of the clocks.
Now that you know a few things to look out for when surveying your options let's dive into our recommendations! Here are our top 10 sunrise alarm clocks that will have you greeting your mornings with a smile.
|Additional Features||Snooze, Night-light|
|Lights||Natural White Light|
|Additional Colours||7 additional colours|
|Additional Features||Wellness light, Snooze|
|Additional Colours||Natural White Light|
|Additional Features||Snooze, Low-blue light for nights|
|Additional Features||Snooze, sleep optimising functions|
|Additional Features||App, snooze, sleep optimising functions|
|Lights||Natural White Light|
|Additional Colours||6 LED colours|
|Sounds||6 nature sounds|
|Sounds||5 Nature Sounds|
Bodyclock Starter 30 sleep/wake-up light
Alarm Clock Wake Up Light
Wake Up Light
Somneo Sleep and Wake-up Light
Bodyclock Spark 100
Lumie Bodyclock Glow 150
Bodyclock Luxe 700FM
Sunrise Wake Up Light
Wake-up Light Alarm Clock
A High-Quality Favourite That Really Works!
Lumie's Entry-Level Affordable Alarm
The No-Frills Sunrise Alarm Clock
The Sunrise Alarm Clock With a Built-in App
The All-Round Sleeping Assistant
The Lumie Alarm with Adjustable Brightness
For Those Who Need a Longer Sunrise
A Luxury, Minimalist Sunrise Alarm
A Sunrise Alarm Clock Focusing on Wellness
The Practical Bedside Companion
|Lights||Sunrise/sunset||Sunrise/sunset||Natural White Light||Sunset||Sunrise/sunset||Sunrise||Sunrise/sunset||Sunrise/sunset||Natural White Light||Sunrise/sunset|
|Additional Colours||No||n/a||6 LED colours||Yes||n/a||n/a||n/a||Natural White Light||7 additional colours||No|
|Sounds||5 Nature Sounds||n/a||6 nature sounds||Yes||11 sounds||Alarm sounds||10 sounds||20+ sounds||8 sounds||Yes|
|Additional Features||Snooze||Snooze||Snooze||App, snooze, sleep optimising functions||Snooze, sleep optimising functions||Snooze||Snooze||Snooze, Low-blue light for nights||Wellness light, Snooze||Snooze, Night-light|
Sunrise alarm clocks are perfect for gently waking you up in the morning, ensuring that you are up and ready for the day. But there are many other fantastic gadgets that can help make your day even better, whether you want to relax or have fun with your friends! Take a look through some of our other articles.
We hope that you found our buying guide useful and that it’s helped you narrow down your choices. Do you already have a favourite? Here's to saying goodnight to groggy mornings, and hello to feeling energised the whole day!
Author: Roxy Pratley
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