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Rise and Shine: The Best Wake-Up Lights to Start Your Day Right

wake-up lights

Nobody likes waking up in the morning. That is why we try to find ways to make our transit from sleeping mode to full-blown awake as pleasant as possible. We choose peaceful alarm tones, we program the snooze button five to ten times, or we even try all kinds of rituals that are supposed to get us excited about waking up in the morning. In reality, not many things work. 

And then there are morning people. Those strange creatures wake up easily in the morning and are okay even before the first cup of coffee. I never understood them, and according to my circadian rhythm, I never will. However, recently I discovered something that I really enjoy waking up to. I usually sleep with my curtains closed because the sun comes up before it’s time to wake up, but that means it’s harder to wake up when I actually have to. And you need light to wake up. 

Studies have shown that bright lights have a direct impact on human alertness. While doing some research on that aspect, I came across a fascinating device. It’s called a wake-up light and is a lot more pleasant than an alarm clock. I use it because I sleep with my curtains closed, but there are people who can benefit from these lights even more. I am talking about individuals who have to go to work very early in the morning, as in before the sun appears on the horizon. Believe it or not, some of the wake-up lights I found can simulate a sunrise. I can honestly say that I was left in awe.

The benefits of a wake-up light

It is not news that daylight keeps us awake during the day. There have been countless studies, and they all show the same thing. We need light to be alert. It makes sense if you think about it. I don’t know about you, but I get very energetic on sunny days, and very sleepy when it rains. I know for a fact that this experience is quite common. So, in light of that information (pun intended,) here are the benefits of a wake-up light.

A wake-up light supports the cortisol levels

Cortisol is a substance that wakes us up. It’s some kind of coffee, the only difference is that it’s ‘ordered’ by the brain. The levels of cortisol are in direct connection with every person’s circadian rhythm. If you are feeling tired in the morning is because you lack the normal quantities of cortisol. It’s sometimes referred to as adrenal fatigue, and it’s the body’s way to tell you that it doesn’t want to be alert due to things like stress and depression. Well, here is where a wake-up light intervenes. It will expose you to daylight when it’s not around (because it rains or because is too early,) which will help your cortisol levels reach normal levels. You will feel fresher in the morning.

It will balance your melatonin levels

Melatonin is also controlled by light, but unlike cortisol, it is in smaller amounts in the morning, and it peaks during the night. If you want to keep melatonin balanced, a wake-up light is ideal for the job. Supplements that contain melatonin can mess up your hormone levels, so it’s best if you do it as naturally as possible.

You will get out of bed quicker

We are all aware of the useful snooze button. It’s one of our best friends sometimes. Some wake-up lights come with a snooze button as well, but you won’t feel the need to use it. It will help you get out of bed easier. But it’s not as unpleasant as with an alarm clock.

You will feel more energetic when you wake up – this is strictly related to your cortisol and melatonin levels, so I am not going to repeat myself.

My personal experience with a wake-up light

As I said at the beginning of this article, I started using a wake-up light a few months back, and for me, it worked like a charm. I am no longer groggy in the morning. It modified my circadian rhythm to a point where I can actually feel okay in the morning. I was the kind of person with whom you couldn’t talk before a cup of coffee, but now I am more relaxed. That is why I decided to share my experience. Maybe you want to improve your morning mood as well, but you don’t know how. Well, this is a great starting point.

The first thing I noticed is that I no longer go through the trauma which is the alarm clock. No matter how soothing the alarm tone was, I still jumped as if SWAT knocked down on my door. That is because the sound was too all of a sudden, and I had no transition time as I have with the wake-up light.

I use both the alarm clock and the wake-up light, but the light provides a transition time. For example, I set the alarm clock for 7 o’clock, but the wake-up light starts its sunrise simulation around 6:30. It doesn’t wake me up completely, but there is a transition between sound asleep and wide awake, which works better for me.

Another thing I noticed is that I feel better in the morning. I feel well-rested, energetic, and most importantly for the people around me, I don’t have a bad mood. You can actually talk to me. I feel more positive and sometimes excited about a new day. Especially if it’s sunny outside as well. Getting out of bed is not a struggle anymore. I don’t remember when the last time I used the snooze button was, and I am never late to work anymore. I can honestly say that the wake-up light is the best thing that happened to me in a long time.

So there you have it. That is my experience with a wake-up light. I was pleasantly surprised, which is why I recommend it to everyone who has the same issue I had. I hope that it helps you overcome your problem with waking up in the morning, just like it helped me.

What are the best wake-up lights?

I searched a little bit before I found the best wake-up light for me. Most of them have the same features, but maybe you are very specific. Chances are that you will find what you are looking for because there are hundreds of models from various manufacturers. I recommend that you first read a wake-up light review, or multiple, before making a purchase. It’s the only way you can know that a particular product suits your requirements.

Best wake-up light: Philips Wake-Up Light with Sunrise Simulation

Philips Wake-Up Light with Sunrise Simulation

I started with the wake-up light from Philips because this is the model I have at home. I said it once, and I will say it again, it’s the best thing that happened to me in the recent past. The people from Philips did a fantastic job with this product, and I hope that you will like it at least as much as I do.

You will wake up almost naturally every morning, and your functionality will be significantly improved. It will simulate a sunrise, so you will have that transition between sleep and awake. That means you won’t feel as angry when the alarm clock goes off. This wake-up light was developed using research on sleep and waking patterns. I always endorse a product that has a scientific base. Otherwise, it would be just a mere gimmick. This is not the case.

Although I told you about my experience, you should know that the Philips Wake-Up Light with sunrise simulation is clinically proven to improve your morning routine. I assume that thousands of people went through what I went, and came out of the experience in a better mood.

This wake-up light comes with a snooze button, but I don’t even remember when the last time I used it was. It also has a beep function that will not let you oversleep, just in case you are exhausted and light means nothing to you. Although I firmly believe that this product is ideal for you, some newer models have some extra features. I am not going to give up on mine because it was quite expensive for a light, but if you can afford it, you could choose a better version. 

Check the product at https://amzn.to/3Jukmyi

SumgottUS Wake-Up Light

This model is a bit more advanced, but the irony is that it’s cheaper than the previous product. Technology becomes cheaper and cheaper as time passes I guess. This one has a sunrise simulation but also features a sunset simulation. So, not only that you will transition smoothly from sleep mode to awake mode, but it will help you fall asleep if you have an issue with that. I think it’s brilliant. The brightness will start from 1% and will reach 100% when you set it.

You can control the wake-up light using a touchscreen. You can adjust the snooze button, start the sunset simulation, set natural sounds, control the FM radio (yes, it has a radio), and you can also adjust the brightness. One of the things that I like the most about this light is that it has a mood light mode with the help of which you can choose from 7 different colors, depending on your mood. You can even use it as a bedside lamp if you want.

The natural sounds are an improvement from your usual alarm tones. It is better to wake up to birds singing and flowing rivers than to one of Adele’s songs. I have nothing against her, she is a great singer, but when you are groggy in the morning, everything sounds horrifying. The light can be powered by both AAA batteries (not included) and a USB cable.

Vansky Wake-Up Light

Vansky Wake-Up Light

This is one of the latest wake-up lights, and it brings a series of cool features. It has simulations for both sunrise and sunset, and the sound quality is like nothing you would expect from a simple light. Setting it up is easy. All you have to do is set the time you want to wake up, and the wake-up light will do the rest. It will start increasing its brightness 30 minutes before waking time. It goes from 1% to 100% in half an hour. You will wake up easily, and enjoy the transition, so your mood will be improved. The alarm will sound for 2 minutes, but you have a snooze button just in case you want to sleep a little while longer.

You can choose among 6 natural sounds or the FM radio. The natural sounds include pure music, birds, waves, forest, and many others. There are also 7 available light colors, just in case you want the wake-up light to go into mood mode. It can act as an atmosphere lamp when you want it. Or you can use it as a warm light when you want to read so your eyes wouldn’t get tired.

The Vansky wake-up light can be powered by a USB cable, but it can also function using AAA batteries (not included in the package.)

Check the product at https://amzn.to/3YGS4F4

My recommendation

If I didn’t have the Philips Wake-Up Light and I had to choose again, I would choose it again. It is a great generation of wake-up lights from Philips, so it makes sense to have cooler features. That is why I believe it to be one of the best wake-up lights available.


I am very happy that such an alternative was invented. It took a while for me to find out about it, but better late than never. It actually helped me, and I can guarantee that if you choose one of the options above, your mornings will suffer a significant change.

Last Updated on May 8, 2023

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