What is a Sunrise Alarm Clock

Do you often hit snooze in the morning? Maybe you need a little assistance with getting out of bed in the morning. We’ve found the perfect product to assist you: a sunrise alarm clock. These are reasonably priced and can help with a variety of issues while reducing your wake-up time, so you’re ready to start the day quicker and easier. But what is a sunrise alarm clock, and how can one benefit you?

How They Help You to Sleep and Wake Better

happy young woman in bed Sunrise alarm clocks use an artificial light source that gradually wakes you up at a selected time. This works by replicating the increasing light of sunrise over 30–40 minutes, although some alarm clocks can use a timer between 15–60 minutes.

Sunrise clocks will feature a full-spectrum white or yellow LED lightbulb. These light sensors create a colour temperature that replicates the warmth of the sun. Most range from 100–300 lux.
Moreover, a sunrise alarm clock considers the natural patterns of lightness and darkness and how your circadian rhythm provides an optimal cycle of sleeping and waking up. Similar to most animals, humans have evolved to sleep when it’s dark. On the other hand, light wakes up the brain and body by suppressing melatonin and activating your body’s natural awakening sensors. Incorporating a sunrise clock into your morning routine can actually make it easier for you to wake up.

Light travels from the eyes to your optic nerves and then to a part of the brain that regulates the body’s circadian rhythm, which initiates a “wake-up” sequence. Without your body’s natural rhythm, you’d struggle with hormone release, cortisol levels, body temperature, wakefulness, rest, and more. Thankfully, light in the morning allows us to feel more awake, feel energised, and well-rested that night.

What Is a Sunrise Alarm Clock Compared to a Traditional Type?

A traditional type can leave you feeling groggy and unwilling to leave your bedroom since the loud noise can send your body into shock. This effect can then continue for the entire day, leading to unproductivity, sadness, and an overwhelming feeling of tiredness.

Fortunately, a sunrise product can encourage you to sleep better at night. And most importantly, you’ll be able to start the day feeling energised, like you haven’t woken up on the wrong side of the bed. Without a sudden awakening, you’re more willing to get out of bed without kicking up a fuss and desiring caffeine to get you to function.

Who Should Use One?

This poses a question of who should use or who needs a sunrise alarm clock. Why not simply make your alarm time slightly earlier and enjoy some vitamin D in the morning instead? Well, not everyone has the opportunity to enjoy the sun in the morning.

Night Owls

If you’re a late sleeper, you’ll likely wake up later the following day. Whether this is through choice or you struggle with insomnia, falling asleep at 2 am means that your body might not be naturally awake until 10 am. Using light therapy can allow you to wake more easily the following day. A sunrise clock might also help you to fall asleep earlier by working in the opposite way—thus, aiding you if you have trouble falling asleep at a reasonable time.

SAD Sufferers

Also referred to as Seasonal Affective Disorder, this disorder happens during the winter months, when the darkness makes it harder to wake up the next time. Fortunately, light can help make mornings a little easier by not forcing you to wake up instantly. With the help of your sunrise light, mornings are better than having to rise to a loud sound.

Travellers with Jet Lag

a man tired after travelling If you regularly travel around the world, your body has to get used to different time zones, which means that your circadian rhythm might not be properly aligned. Sunrise alarm clocks can avoid jet lag or at least make it a little easier. Using optimal light exposure can allow you to adjust to the morning at different times.

Shift Workers

Those who work shifts might find it difficult to adjust to the mornings when their schedule is constantly changing. When you’re not hitting the sack at the same time every night, or even at all, this might lead to health problems, weight gain, and even certain types of cancers. Fortunately, artificial light, when properly timed, can alleviate this concern.

A Huge Benefit of Using a Sunrise Alarm Clock

The human body is designed to wake up with the sunrise and feel tired when dark. The sun rises with a deep orange colour and moves to a rich, golden shade at sunset.

These clocks allow you to wake up easier by replicating a gentle start to the day and preparing the body with natural hormones, such as cortisol, to get you ready for the following day. Just the same, as the sun sets, your brain responds to the light to encourage you to feel more tired and get a well-rested sleep.

Moreover, this type of alarm clock creates a dawn simulation that may make it easier to get out of bed. And it doesn’t involve using loud alarm sounds that might startle and make you feel like you’re fully alert but leaves your brain in the process of trying to catch up with you. In fact, this loud sound and sudden alertness can actually make it more challenging to get up in the morning. It can even further slow you down. But the best sunrise clock gives your body and brain time to make that transition by making the wake-up process gradual. Therefore, you’re more willing to leave your bed and less likely to lie back down.

This alarm can boost cortisol, a natural hormone that can regulate blood pressure and control your sleep/wake cycle. Additionally, some people who work on shifts might need to take melatonin supplements. On the other hand, Sunrise clocks could create a balance of melatonin in your body, which may help you feel more prepared for a good night’s sleep.

Features to Consider When Buying an Alarm Clock

Now that you’ve read the benefits of using a wake up light, let’s take a look at some important features to bear in mind before making a purchase.

Light Source

Most light alarm clocks use LED lighting to create a bright yellow light in the morning. The benefit of low-energy LEDs is that you can experience multiple colours. However, they’re not cheap or easy to replace, but they do tend to last a while.


Probably the most significant factor to consider is the clock’s brightness. Similar to how standard light bulbs have a range of brightness levels, so do these alarm clocks. This unit is typically referred to as ‘lux’, which takes into account the distance to the light source.

Most clocks have a range of 100–300 lux. But light therapy lamps used to treat SAD can often increase to 10,000 lux.

Colour Temperature

In addition, these products are available in a range of colour temperatures. The most basic models come with only one colour—usually a yellow or white light. However, more expensive units are equipped with multi-coloured spectrums that replicate the natural effect of sunrise and sunset, helping you to start the day feeling refreshed and end it feeling calmer and more sleepy.


You can even choose a clock that produces a sound, such as birds chirping, to encourage you to rise in a more natural way. These dawn alarms trigger your body to feel more awake in the morning so you can perform your best throughout the day. Furthermore, they can also feature wave effects, trickling water, and natural effects from a forest that may help you unwind at night.

Final Thoughts

Keep your light alarm clock on your bedside table to help you fall asleep and create a dawn simulation that allows you to wake up easier in the morning. Now you know the answer to, ‘what is a sunrise alarm clock?’. Will you consider getting one?

What are your thoughts on this product? What are some methods that you use to wake up? Let us know in the comments.

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