The best light alarms 2023on September 13, 2023 at 17:20 Tech Advisor


What is a light alarm? Well, rather than terrorising you out of sleep the way your usual alarm clock does, a light alarm will wake you gently, so that by the time you need to get out of bed, you feel ready to face the day.

Here’s how they work.

Some people find it harder to wake up in the dark during the winter months, and need a bit of extra help. There’s evidence that light can prepare the body to wake up, signalling the brain to increase your body temperature and raise cortisol levels. This means you shouldn’t wake up as groggy and confused as when you’re jolted from sleep by blaring alarm.

Also known as a wake-up light, light alarm clock or a dawn simulator, light alarms are hybrids of alarm clocks and lamps. They’re designed to wake you slowly with a steady build-up of light that simulates a sunrise, complete with a shift in hue from warm reds and orange to brighter yellows and white over the course of the wake-up period.

Many light alarms will also help you to prepare for bed at night by creating a sunset effect that allows your body and brain to relax – and hopefully get a better night’s sleep.

Light alarms can also help SAD sufferers who struggle to get going in the mornings without natural daylight. If you have seasonal affective disorder, you might also like to check out our round-up of the best SAD lights we’ve tested.

We’ve rated and reviewed the best light alarms below but if you want more information before you buy, have a look at our FAQs after the chart.

Philips Sleep & Wake Up Light – Best Light Alarm


Excellent light alarm


Great features



Can’t schedule for specific days

Price When Reviewed:


This device (previously known as the Somneo) is arguably the best light alarm on the market – that is, if price isn’t a factor. Still, we think it’s worth it for the feature set and design.

Instead of physical buttons, there are simple touchscreen controls built into the light itself, which you can use to customise your sunrise and sunset settings, with a range of light intensities, timings, and soothing noises from birdsong to temple gongs.

You can save two different alarm presets. However, you can’t schedule them for specific days, so you’ll have to remember to switch off your weekday alarm when Saturday rolls around.

In addition to a sunset mode, there’s a light-guided breathing mode to help you to fall asleep. Beyond that, there are modern touches throughout: tapping the top to snooze, a dedicated low-intensity light if you wake up in the middle of the night, FM radio, an AUX input if you want to fall asleep to sounds from your phone, and even a USB-A slot to charge your phone.

At the end of the day, this is an expensive alarm, with a price tag that not everyone can justify. But if you can, this is about as good as light alarms get.

Lumie Bodyclock Shine 300 – Best Mid-priced Lumie


Sounds & light options

Medically certified



Resets when unplugged


Price When Reviewed:


This alarm is also on the more expensive side, but with good reason. The Bodyclock Shine 300 is a fully featured light alarm from Lumie. It offers granular control over your wake up and bedtime routines, with a mixture of sounds and light settings at your disposal.

It has mixed LEDs that shine combinations of white, orange and red to create a realistic sunrise or sunset effect that isn’t too blinding and can increase and decrease gradually over 15-90 minutes, at up to 20 different light levels.

We opted for the maximum brightness scale over 30 minutes and found we woke up naturally. However, you can set the alarm at the end of that time period if you don’t trust you’ll wake up using the light alone.

The alarm can be set to beep or use one of the preset sounds including a steam train (unusual), ping pong (also odd), waves (more conventional), or the inbuilt FM radio.

Annoyingly, if you turn it off at the mains all the settings reset to factory, and the buttons on the unit mean it’s fiddly to set up. However, once it’s up and running, it’s an excellent product.

Lumie Zest SAD & wake-up light – Dual Functionality


Dual functionality

May be VAT free


Limited features

Price When Reviewed:


The Lumie Zest has dual functionality. It’s both a light alarm and a SAD lamp. As such, if you’re a SAD sufferer in the UK, you may be able to waive VAT at the purchase point. Buy it from Lumie for this option.

The wake-up light has two sunrise options (15 or 30 minutes), along with a snooze function. The blue-enriched white LEDs simulate natural daylight, waking you up gently. You can set a beeping alarm if you want, but you can’t choose any other audio options as you can on dedicated wake-up lights. And bear in mind that the beeping alarm isn’t particularly soothing.

For light therapy, you can choose brightness (up to 10,000 lux) and timer settings. The adjustable stand makes it easy to position it towards your face for the greatest effect. 

It does need to be plugged in all the time, but because it’s so compact, you can move it around your home easily to use its SAD lamp functionality.

If you’re willing to forgo some of the light alarm features a dedicated product will have, the ability to double up as a SAD lamp makes this a great hybrid option for someone who wants to try out different forms of light therapy.

Groov-e Light Curve – Best Budget Option



Mood light feature

FM radio


No nature sounds

Less bright than competitors

Price When Reviewed:


Looking for a light alarm that won’t break the bank? The Light Curve Wake-up Light from Groov-e fills that niche, with a few nifty extra touches. You can use both sunset and sunrise options to decrease/increase your light’s brightness over ten settings over a period of either 10, 20 or 30 minutes. However, the shift between the brightness levels is not as smooth as those from more expensive rivals. 

With the sunrise option, you can also add audio effects, choosing between FM radio or one of the programmed sounds on the light. Most of these are musical. Unfortunately, there are no nature or ambient sounds, which are available on other lamps.

This budget light alarm also doubles up as a mood light, with seven colours that rotate – or the option to set it to your preferred shade. None of its rivals offer this feature, so although the Groov-e is missing some functionality, this is an unusual selling point.

The light itself isn’t as bright as competing products, but it’s enough to produce a decent glow. All in all, if you’re looking for a budget light alarm and don’t mind a few compromises, this is a great option. 

Lumie Bodyclock Luxe 700FM – Best Luxury Light Alarm


Over 20 sounds

Bluetooth speaker

Customised scheduling


You’re paying extra for the speaker

Price When Reviewed:


Towards the top end of Lumie’s light alarm range is the Bodyclock Luxe, which comes with FM radio, Bluetooth speakers, over 20 sounds, sunset and sunrise settings and a low blue light feature for the evenings. 

Setting the alarm is relatively easy, and you can customise different times for different days. The duration of each sunrise and sunset mode can be adjusted, and you can choose from a range of natural sounds and ambient noise to create the atmosphere you want – one of which includes café noise, if a café breakfast is your sort of thing. 

The actual light is extremely warm and mimics the sunset range very well thanks to its combination of coloured LEDs (low-blue white, blue-enriched white, orange and red). You can also keep the lamp on very low as a night light. 

The Bluetooth speaker allows you to add custom sounds to wake you up, but it’s also the main factor in boosting the price of the Bodyclock Luxe. It’s great to have a product that boasts an extra feature, but there are other, extremely similar Lumie light alarms that are much more budget-friendly. If a Bluetooth speaker isn’t a dealbreaker, we’d consider something like the Bodyclock Shine. 

Lumie Bodyclock Spark 100 – Best Budget Lumie Alarm


Customisable light intensity


Limited audio

Limited scheduling

Price When Reviewed:


US readers will see the details for the Lumie Bodyclock Rise 100 – an almost identical model to the Spark, which is not available in the US.

If you like the sound of the Shine 300 but want a more budget-friendly option, you might want to consider the Spark 100, a cheaper model in the same Bodyclock range.

You can use it either as a light alarm to wake up or with a sunset mode to go to sleep, with customisable light intensity over the 30-minute modes.

Unlike the Shine 300, you can’t change the duration of either the sunrise or sunset period, and the audio options are also more limited: the only wake-up option is a beep, with none of the soothing waves or FM radio options available from rival products.

The more annoying omission is the inability to set an alarm schedule. While you can save a default time, you’ll still need to remember to turn the alarm on every night before you go to sleep, which is a slight flaw in an otherwise excellent product.

Dyson Solarcycle Morph – Most Versatile Light




Smart functionality




No audio options

Price When Reviewed:


Best Prices Today:

£649.99 at Dyson

Although the Solarcycle Morph (previously known as the Lightcycle Morph) isn’t a dedicated light alarm, a light alarm is one of its many functions. It’s also a task light, a reading light and a soothing ambient light.

It can mimic the natural daylight cycle to help you to concentrate and relax as the day demands when you’re stuck inside. This makes it invaluable on a winter’s day when light is limited.

As a light alarm, you can set up a weekly schedule and adjust the light’s brightness via the Dyson Link app. It’s easy to configure and use but you will miss out on the audio options that many dedicated light alarms have.  

Read our full

Dyson Solarcycle Morph/ Lightcycle Morph floor lamp review

Philips Wake-up Light – With FM Radio


Great to look at

FM radio & natural sounds


Learning curve to get it set up

Price When Reviewed:


The Philips Wake-up Light is one of the most aesthetically-pleasing lamps around, with a large bright face that changes naturally through a display of warm colours, ranging from red to bright yellow. 

Like most of its rivals, this lamp comes with FM radio and a list of natural sounds to wake you up. However, there are only seven options available, so it doesn’t have as much choice as rivals (and one of the options is a group of cows mooing, which is somewhat bizarre). 

If you wake up in the night and need to find your way around, you can tap the lamp twice to activate the midnight light function, which is an unobtrusive orange glow that won’t disturb your sleep cycle. The display brightness is also self-adjusting, so if your room is dark, the lamp will change to suit the atmosphere. 

This wasn’t the most straightforward lamp to use. I had issues trying to stop the radio from turning on automatically whenever I set the lamp to the sunset cycle. After a few days with the product, I managed to get to grips with it, but there are more user-friendly lamps out there at around the same price point.



Do light alarm clocks work?

Light alarms help to prepare your mind and body to wake slowly, so that you feel refreshed instead of bleary by the time you have to wake up.

But if you’re a heavy sleeper, or you’re worried that it won’t wake you up effectively, almost all light alarms also come with a conventional audio alarm.

Or, in some cases, less conventional. While some use the traditional beeping tone, you also get light alarms that will play a sound effect, such as birdsong or waves. The Lumie Bodyclock Shine 300, for example, features wake-up noises including steam trains and ping pong, while the Philips Wake-Up light has the option of the sound of mooing cows to rouse you from your slumber. The pricier light alarms may come with an inbuilt radio or have an AUX input so you can play music from your phone.


Is a light alarm worth it?

If you find it much easier to get up and get going during the summer than you do in the winter, a light alarm is probably worth it for you. It’ll definitely wake you up more gently and it can also help to sort out your sleep cycle, making it easier to get an early start on dark mornings.

They amount of control you have over the the light settings could be important to you. Basic light alarms might only let you set a wake-up time, but more expensive models can give you control over the duration of the sunrise effect and the light intensity – the Philips Sleep and Wake Up Light has a scale of 25 different intensities.

You also want to look out for optional sunset modes, which will slowly dim at night to help you relax and fall asleep naturally. Again, look out for customisable settings, optional sound effects, or even breathing-focused modes to help you soothe yourself to sleep.


What’s the difference between a light alarm and a SAD lamp?

A light alarm has a different purpose to a SAD lamp, although both can be useful to people who struggle with the lack of light over the winter months. A SAD (seasonal affective disorder) lamp is a light therapy device. It’s designed for use during the day, to stand in for the natural outdoor light that’s missed over the winter months. It can help to boost the mood and energy levels of people with SAD, as well as regulating the sleep cycle. If you are interested in finding out more, have a look at our round-up of the best SAD lamps.

Health and Beauty, Lighting

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