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8 best light-up alarm clocks to brighten your morning routine

Do you find waking up a bit of a nightmare? Rise slowly with these glowy bedside companions

Zoe Phillimore
Tuesday 18 January 2022 17:24
<p>The artificial light intends to gently trigger our circadian rhythms, which control our sleeping patterns</p>

The artificial light intends to gently trigger our circadian rhythms, which control our sleeping patterns

Winter is here. Everything feels pretty dark and chilly. So it’s no surprise some of us are struggling to get out of bed. And while some people turn to coffee, or splashing water on their faces, the answer might actually be light.

Sunrise alarm clocks can help rouse you gently, so by the time you need to be up and about, you’re ready to take on the day.

They are said to work by triggering our circadian rhythms, which control our sleeping patterns. These patterns are affected by both natural and artificial light. An artificial light gently brightening, the thinking goes, will softly rouse you, and prepare your body to wake up. How smart is that?

These alarm clocks slowly increase in brightness, mimicking the sunrise. And many of them can also simulate sunset too, to help you fall asleep. Alongside the light functionality, there’s often sounds to choose from – sometimes including radio – and these can work in tandem.

How we tested

We tested sunrise alarm clocks to see which got us bouncing out of bed in the morning, which had useful extra functions, and which ones looked good on our bedside table. We also, of course, factored in price.

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The best light alarm clocks for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Lumie bodyclock shine 300 wake-up light radio alarm clock: £129, Lumie.com
  • Best for cool design – Lexon Miami sunrise wake-up light alarm clock: £68.35, Madeindesign.co.uk
  • Best for straightforward controls – Lumie bodyclock rise 100 wake-up light: £79, Lumie.com
  • Best mid-range sunset alarm clock – Lumie bodyclock glow 150 wake-up light: £99, Lumie.com
  • Best for extra functions – Beurer WL50 wake-up light: £74.99, Johnlewis.com
  • Best premium sunrise alarm clock – Lumie bodyclock luxe 750DAB wake-up light alarm clock: £199, Lumie.com
  • Best for bedtime routines – Philips smartsleep sleep and wake-up light: £187.36, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best budget buy – Robert Dyas groov-e curve wake-up light: £34.99, Robertdyas.co.uk

Lumie bodyclock shine 300 wake-up light radio alarm clock

Best: Overall

Rating: 10/10

A jump up from the glow 150 (£99, Lumie.com), the shine 300 has both sunset and sunrise functions. However, you can also adjust the duration of the sunset and sunrise to anything between 15 and 90 minutes. This means it will fit in with most lifestyles, and we found it helped instil a better bedtime routine when we set it to a 90-minute sunset. There are also 15 wake-up and wind-down sounds to choose from, including, inexplicably, someone playing ping pong. Anyway, you’re sure to find a sound that floats your boat.

The digital display lets you set the language, and then it’s fairly simple to set up the alarm, sunset and sound functions. It also displays not just the time but the day too, as well as what time your alarm is set to. We found this handy, rather than having to keep cycling through the options. As the name suggests, there’s also an FM radio built into the shine 300, and you can set up to five presets. All this is wrapped up in a smart little package – the grey tweedy fabric underneath is a nice touch, and it looks great on our bedside table.

Lexon Miami sunrise wake-up light alarm clock

Best: For cool design

Rating: 8/10

We liked the Eighties aesthetic of this alarm clock. The time is displayed on an LED behind a metal grey mesh, and the light is a dish on top. The top of the display has a subtle marble effect, and that’s the kind of attention to detail we can get behind. You can use the Lexon as a regular light – it’s easy to switch on and off using a touch spot on the bottom. To adjust the brightness you have to tap a certain spot at the back, which we found hard to find in the dead of night.

The wake-up element of the light comes with three options – light and natural sound, just light or just natural sounds. And there are six nice, calming audio experiences to choose from including running water, woodland, crashing waves and a few musical ones (we’re not sure they’re actually “natural” sounds, but fine, whatever). When the light setting is being used, it grows in intensity over 30 minutes, hitting maximum brightness at the alarm time. We really liked the snooze function on this one, which is lacking in some others. You can use this via the mains plug, or insert batteries for more flexibility.

Lumie bodyclock rise 100 wake-up light

Best: For straightforward controls

Rating: 8/10

As well as waking you up in the morning by mimicking a sunrise, this product also helps you prepare for bedtime. The sunset feature gradually fades the light out of the room, so you slowly unwind – apparently it helps promote melatonin. We aren’t sure about that, but it was nice to tuck up in bed and for the light to gradually dim, reminding us to put our book (or phone!) down and get to sleep. It’s a simple function to use – just hit a button when you’re 30 minutes out from wanting to go to sleep.

The sunrise function is easy to set – pick an alarm time, and then say what brightness you want the light to achieve at wake up. You have the option of also adding a (slightly irritating) beep that strikes when it’s the alarm time. No gentle natural sounds here though, we’re afraid. But you can snooze the light by simply tapping the top of it, and then it will start again in nine minutes. We found this function really useful, as we are addicted to snooze. No light is ever going to be able to cure us of that.

Lumie bodyclock glow 150 wake-up light

Best: Mid-range sunset alarm clock

Rating: 8/10

The glow 150 offers a greater degree of flexibility than some other wake-up lights. You can select for the sunrises and sunsets to last for 20, 30 or 45 minutes. We are not the easiest to coax out of bed, so appreciated the longer lead time, we’ve got to say. To accompany the light there’s a range of sounds you can choose from – some are slightly unusual, such as a cafe, while others, such as crashing waves, proved very relaxing.

We liked that this also had a sunset function, to lull us off to sleep. As in the morning, you can set the brightness as well as the duration of the sunset, and select a sound to play – or have none at all. We found the glow 150 a definite step up from the rise 100, as it had some useful extra features. It also perhaps looks a bit more premium, with the base being made of matte plastic.

Beurer WL50 wake-up light

Best: For extra functions

Rating: 8/10

This wake-up light offers a little more bang for your buck than the others we tried. Along with the sunrise and sunset features, you can change the colour of the light to match your mood, listen to FM radio and use it as a Bluetooth speaker. We liked that you can charge it and then use it wirelessly – especially because the flex provided is pretty short.

The two alarm settings allow you to store two different times – perfect for people whose routines alter from day to day. You can choose two sounds to be woken up by (birds or a chime), or FM radio. You can also pick a sunrise duration from 10, 20 or 30 minutes. Switch on the light by tapping the top, then tap to cycle through the brightness and colour settings – we found all these to be pretty foolproof.

In reverse, you can also set the duration of the sunset to be 15, 30 or 60 minutes, and choose a sound or FM radio to accompany you off to sleep. This light isn’t the brightest at full whack, but it emits a nice, warm glow. And we liked the extra functionality and easy-to-use, touch-sensitive controls.

Lumie bodyclock luxe 750DAB wake-up light alarm clock

Best: Premium sunrise alarm clock

Rating: 9/10

Pleasingly spherical, the luxe looks great on our bedside table, and, as it combines several functions in one, it meant that we didn’t need any extra clutter. The light is easy to turn on manually, by twizzling the dial, and comes up to a decent brightness – ideal for bedtime reading. It also has a DAB radio with four presets, and can be paired to your own device via Bluetooth.

The sunrise and sunset durations can be adjusted between 15 and 90 minutes, and the light-sensitive LED display automatically switches off when it’s dark so it doesn’t disturb you. There are also 20 sounds you can be woken up by on the luxe, or you can go for your favourite radio station instead. The design of the luxe is appealing – the bottom half is fabric, the display is neat with a navy background, and it doesn’t feel as plastic-y as some of the others we tested. This is Lumie’s top-of-the-range model, with a price tag that reflects this – but if having DAB+ radio is important to you, alongside all the other features the rest of Lumie’s range carries, then it is your best bet.

Philips smartsleep sleep and wake-up light

Best: For bedtime routines

Rating: 8/10

We enjoyed the futuristic look of this wake-up light. As well as simulating sunrise and sunset, it also has a meditation function. The light will change in intensity, which you then follow with your breathing. The idea is that it will help you wind down before bedtime, and we did like it. We found the touch-sensitive controls on the light very easy to use – and there’s a snooze button to whack on the top, should morning come too quickly (every day, right?).

The sunrise function works over 30 minutes, turning from an ambient red right through to a bright light. You can also have FM radio or natural sounds to accompany it. What’s also smart about this light is you can charge your mobile phone from it – great if plug sockets are in demand, like they are at our house.

Robert Dyas groov-e curve wake-up light

Best: Budget buy

Rating: 7/10

This wake-up light gets the job done without too much fuss. A large digital display in the middle can show either a 12 or 24-hour clock, as well as what day of the week it is. There are also eight different sounds you can choose to wake you from your slumber – apparently six of them are natural sounds, but several sound fairly like hold music to us. You can also opt for a good old-fashioned beep, or the radio.

The light itself gets moderately bright – you certainly won’t be blinded even at max levels. You can also dim it via the screen on the front. This is handy if you’re using it as a nightlight. You can also hit a button for some mood lighting, and the light will cycle through different colours – great if you want a disco just before bed. If your wind-down routine is more chill than rave, then there’s also a sunset function, which you can set to last for 10, 20 or 30 minutes. You can also have the radio playing during the sunset, and it’ll switch off when the light has faded.

The verdict: Light alarm clocks

We loved the Lumie bodyclock shine 300. It has great functions and it looks good too. If you’re wanting to really push the boat out, we thought the Lumie bodyclock luxe 750DAB’s DAB radio was a great plus – it was the only model we tried with this functionality.

Voucher codes

For offers on bedside lamps and other home accessories, try the links below:

We’ve also rounded up the best Sad lamps that will help keep those winter blues at bay

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

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