Our test winner is the Philips HF3505/01 Wake-up Light: The device has a modern design, a range of useful additional functions and ensures a pleasant awakening. Our favourite with the test score 9.1/10!
We have tested 8 light alarm clocks and paid special attention to handling and quality.
To be woken up carefully without being woken from sleep? That is very simple: with a light alarm clock. The device simulates the sunrise and thus ensures that you wake up in a "natural" way. With these devices, you get out of bed in the morning more easily and start the day relaxed.
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TheLight Alarm Clock by Philipsconvinces not only with its modern, timeless design but above all, with its easy handling and the various adjustment possibilities. With the help of the sunrise simulation, waking up in the morning is quite pleasant. Unfortunately, however, the snooze function often does not work properly or only with a lot of effort, which is a pity, as this light alarm clock otherwise performs very well in all other areas.
The Philips Smart Connect Wake-up Light HF3671/01 is a great alarm clock with various individual settings. The app simplifies operation and is clearly structured. Different ring tones are easy to set. The Snooze button is somewhat impractical and hidden and only switches off the sound when activated and leaves the light on, but the sound does not start again.
The Light Alarm Clock Coulax not only impresses with its special design (colour: wood grain) but also offers many useful functions. Even if the alarm clock has not high quality as other alarm clocks, it works perfectly fine. The light at sunrise is also pleasant and not too bright, and the selection of alarm tones is varied. The sound quality is ok. It could have been better but the price, therefore, is ok. All in all, it can be said that the light alarm clock is highly recommended as an entry-level model.
TheWake-Up Light Clock by AngLink convinces not only with its modern design but also with its various adjustment options and lighting. This product is well suited as a light alarm clock, only the button tones are at some point annoying.
The Wake Up Alarm Clock by TITIROBA is a well-functioning light alarm clock, which offers many different functions and is easy to use. In addition to the sound quality to be improved, the display with the time could also be a little larger. Otherwise, a good product that does its job of gently waking you up.
The Light Alarm Clock by Medisanais a solid light alarm clock that does what it's supposed to do. However, there are clear differences to other alarm clocks in terms of quality, such as the somewhat complicated setting options or the only satisfying sound quality of radio and natural sounds. Despite these shortcomings, this light alarm clock proved to be very reliable regarding waking up.
The WAKE UP LIGHT MY-3 Lichtwecker von Veholion is a very simply equipped light alarm clock, which does not offer so many functions compared to other alarm clocks (no snooze function, no radio etc.) and is very simply built altogether, but works. The workmanship is rather cheap, which is why the sound quality leaves a lot to be desired.
The Smart Night Light Alarm Clock by Sparkwav, as the name reveals, is in the first place a lamp and not a real alarm clock. The device offers the function to use the lamp also as an alarm clock, but compared to the light alarm clocks, this alarm clock is only conditionally applicable.The app doesn't always work properly and there aren't that many alarm functions. Also, the alarm tone (sea noise) is very noisy and when you wake up you are easily frightened because the volume is very loud at the beginning. As a table lamp with color play well suitably, and also as loudspeaker function, but not necessarily as alarm clock.
Place the alarm clock at least 40 - 50 cm from the head
Pay attention to the sound quality - there are enormous differences among the light alarm clocks
When travelling, make sure that you have sufficient battery power or pack replacement batteries
Back to the roots
Get up in the morning. This is something everybody has to do. But how do you have to imagine this in the past? The first people woke up when the sun slowly sent its rays into the caves. It was a gentle awakening, as almost all mammals need. Unconsciously we perceived the light through the closed eyelids. Our body automatically adjusted to the awakening. Slowly starting the day is the most natural thing in the world.
But then came our highly developed world and with it the curse and blessing of modernity. Due to regular working hours we can unfortunately only get up with the sun on weekends today. Especially in winter, when dusk only falls in the morning, it gets hard. Especially for the non-morning persons, who have a hard time getting out of bed. The piercing alarm tone requires waking up within seconds. Modern people are torn from their dreams into a state of wakefulness.
The Stone Age people had it better and much more natural. They stood up when the rays of the sun woke them up and fell asleep when twilight covered the world in darkness. The light regulates our biorhythm and would normally also regulate our day-night rhythm. But we often don't allow that anymore. Is there any other possibility than a penetrating alarm sound that rips us out of sleep in the morning?
Fortunately, in recent years clever minds have developed something that corresponds to the human biorhythm: the light alarm clock. What the sun used to do in the past can now be done by an artificial sun on the nightstand and it works. Our body can be outwitted. Natural sunlight controls falling asleep and waking up with the help of the hormones melatonin and serotonin. Depending on the color of the light and the brightness, the body produces more or less of the respective hormone.
The result when the normal alarm clock rings in the morning is that there is still too much melatonin in our body. The result is that we are very tired. Daylight alarm clocks counteract this. They simulate the sunrise. Even when a person is still asleep, the body perceives the light, which becomes stronger and stronger. Melatonin production is reduced and serotonin in the body is increased. The sleeper is thus unconsciously adjusting to waking up.
But how does this marvel of technology work?
Similar to previous alarm clocks, the desired stand-up time is set. Some time before you have to get up, the LEDs of the light alarm switch on. The intensity is now increased every minute, but the light colour is also changed. This simulates the sunrise in the best possible way. The human subconscious should not be underestimated here either. Because although humans are still in deep sleep, at some point the first rays of light hit through the closed eyelids. The production of the happiness and wake-up hormone serotonin starts. In most cases, the person wakes up before the actual alarm sounds. But also when you sleep until the alarm clock rings: The body adjusts to waking up. Natural wake-up noises, such as birdsong, support the closeness to nature of getting up.
In order for the daylight alarm clock to have the best effect, the artificial sun should not be placed further than 80 cm from the sleeping person's head. Apart from the fact that waking up is easier, it is also possible to use a daylight alarm clock as a sleeping aid. Our ancestors did not only get up with the sun, no, they also went to sleep with the sunset. So it is actually the most natural thing in the world to fall asleep with the daylight alarm clock. Here the LED alarm clock reduces the light gradually. The colour spectrum of the light also changes. This simulates the sunset. Also the falling asleep is led back thereby to its originality.
There are several studies that confirm the positive effect of daylight alarm clocks on our biorhythm. Because LEDs are so far advanced, it is possible to simulate sunrise and sunset very realistically. Thus our body can find back to its origins and the whole day can be revalued. Daylight alarm clocks are perfect for all those who don't like to sleep in the morning and also for those who can't sleep well. Our body is not designed to go up or down from 0 to 100. With these artificial suns this is no longer necessary. Our body can fall asleep and wake up as it would in nature.
The alarm clock rings and a powerful, relaxed start to the next day is coming - a healthy sleep under normal circumstances should make this possible. But often the sleep does not fulfil its task satisfactorily. A pronounced urge to simply ignore the alarm clock and mute it, lack of concentration and constant fatigue attacks throughout the day are the result. Such problems are widespread and, apart from exceptional cases, mostly self-inflicted. However, the quality of your night's sleep can be increased considerably by simple means. In addition to a change in lifestyle and environmental influences, a specifically selected time of awakening plays a major role.
The different stages of a night
To understand the process of sleep more precisely is indispensable for the improvement of one's own well-being. Sleep is divided into four different phases, which are repeated cyclically several times at night: light sleep in two phases, deep sleep and the REM phase (Rapid Eye Movement). In the first two light phases, the body gradually begins to reduce its brain activity and muscle tension.
Nevertheless, the body is still considered to be alert and easy to wake up. When deep sleep is reached, the brain finds itself in what is known as delta sleep and takes little notice of its surroundings. People are therefore hardly able to wake up at this time for about 20 to 30 minutes. This is immediately followed by the REM phase with the typical rapid eye movements. Their expression is parallel to that of an almost completely awake person. A large part of the emotionally consciously experienced dreams originates from this stage. A complete round trip through all stations of the sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes.
Finding the optimal sleep rhythm
Despite natural limitations, the human body demonstrates a considerable degree of flexibility under stress. It adapts the individual sleeping conditions to guarantee the strongest possible regeneration of the body cells. But if negative influences on sleep add up, noticeable effects do not stay away for long. Many people suffer from an unfavourable sleep rhythm. Changing this requires strict adherence to rest and wake-up times. A positive new adjustment succeeds then usually in manageable periods of time.
Depending on family or professional duties, the time of awakening is often fixed. Difficulties with the adjustment arise, if the way to the bed against the internal clock takes place for weeks much too late. A sudden correction of several hours usually fails. A cautious approach to the desired time frame, on the other hand, is more promising. Daily the overnight by only 10 to 15 minutes to bring forward, should already be sufficient. A similar strategy also helps in the early morning hours. Due to the different sleep cycles and the accompanying condition of the body, there is a danger of quickly missing the optimal time during the light sleep phases.
With a little bad luck, the alarm clock may ring in the middle of a deep sleep phase. Limbs and head feel very stiff in this situation and the mental readiness to leave the bed is extremely low. Therefore, an advanced wake-up time of about 20 to 30 minutes makes you wake up much more gently despite shorter sleep times. Since each sleep phase lasts about 20 minutes, the time window for a good start to the day can be roughly limited in advance. After nodding off, about 7 or 8.5 hours is considered a good average and a key point for experimentation. After a few test series you should be able to determine the best value for yourself.
Experiment with different wake-up times
Keep your sleep times consistent
Adjust the bed times in small steps
Plan the time of awakening in a targeted way
In the long run your body takes over the new habits
Targeted sleep training calibrates the inner clock
Emotional conflicts quickly develop a life of their own and can only be tamed with difficulty before going into the bedroom. Solid disputes with your partner or in your social environment do not necessarily have to be the trigger. Even subtle fears provoke circling thoughts and encourage thought about unsatisfactory life situations and future events. Hectically doing the last jobs in the household or for professional life pushes the blood pressure up in the evening hours and additionally releases stress hormones. Remaining obligations and personal ambition can, in combination, quickly upset the inner balance.
The ability to let go and not take the world of work with you to bed can be learned with a little patience and willingness. Decelerate your end of the day and give you more leeway for the necessary relaxation. A friendly conversation at the table, some family entertainment or distractions in the form of a good read, a radio play or suitable music relax the mind and promote the chances of a restful night. If psychological problems or even loneliness plague the world of thought, sporting activity can make a decisive contribution to improvement. Two to three physical leisure activities per week over a period of half an hour, preferably in combination with comrades, strengthen a more positive basic attitude. Through social contact and physical workload under the sun, the body releases happiness hormones.
Endorphins are balm for the soul and put you in an extremely satisfying feeling of relaxation. This effect lasts into the evening hours and automatically banishes disturbing thoughts. The basic aim is to calm body and mind before going to bed. Whatever activity may be considered, your organism will learn a balanced gait in the long run through regular exercise. You should allow plenty of time for the exercise to take place in order to avoid rushing into action - this would be counterproductive.
Do more sports in everyday life
People have a natural urge to move and are not designed for permanently monotonous postures such as when working at a desk. Unfortunately, endurance sports are not everyone's cup of tea. But you can also keep your body on its toes with targeted actions, even under exclusion of sweat-inducing physical activity. As a result, the transition to the hoped-for rest is much easier at dusk. With small changes in the everyday life you already achieve effect.
Prefer the stairs and ignore the comfortable elevator. The bicycle is also suitable for small errands at the bakery or supermarket around the corner. The occasional walk on foot already ensures good blood circulation and stabilises the cardiovascular system. Regular interruptions due to exercise or smaller gymnastic exercises are an important contribution to your well-being and a sustainable, healthy sleep, especially when you are seated at work. However, if you want to strengthen your body in a targeted way: Even without experience, the introduction to endurance sports is an interesting option. In addition to improving the quality of sleep, they also offer numerous benefits for body and soul.
Jogging, cycling or a few relaxing trains through the swimming pool strengthen the pumping capacity of the heart and in the long run regulate blood pressure to a manageable level. The immune system also benefits and soon becomes more resistant to infections. And the most important thing: a healthy, exhausted body reduces its activity effortlessly at bedtime. The choice of the correct time for sport is to be met however always carefully. Directly before going to bed, intensive exertion proves to be unfavourable for the course of sleep - meditative relaxation exercises are excluded. The circulatory system is revived and the release of adrenaline maintains the organism's operating speed in the medium term. Ambitious endurance sports in the morning, morning or afternoon, on the other hand, leave enough air until nightfall.
The bedroom as a sacred temple of rest
The equipment and atmosphere of the bedroom has a striking influence on the nightly well-being of sleeping persons. Dimmable lamps for nighttime reading, a comfortable bed and the right air conditioning are all part of this, creating the right environment for a refreshing night's sleep. By carefully coordinating the individual elements, you tell your body that the time for a well-earned break is approaching. First and foremost, you need a quiet and well-darkened place.
Light from street lamps or even constantly passing cars can cause unwanted sensory flooding. If roller shutters or curtains do not sufficiently fulfil their purpose as a light blockade, a sleep mask can help. On hot summer days or with light headaches, however, cooling cushions on the forehead often have a relaxing effect. Pleasantly fresh air facilitates breathing and supplies the bloodstream with new oxygen. A slightly hypothermic room temperature combined with a well regulated humidity level of 15% can already be the decisive factor.
Place a bowl of water on the radiator. In the course of the night, this releases additional moisture into the surrounding air and thus counteracts the drying out of the respiratory tract. Commercially available humidifiers are also ideal for this purpose. A shallow breeze of air through cut windows also promotes sleep, as long as there is no road with heavy traffic in the immediate vicinity. You should not pay attention to the numerous myths about the optimal position in bed. Simply lay pillows and bedding freely according to your ideas. During the sleep phases you unconsciously change your position and posture several times anyway. Restrictions in this respect exist in the case of respiratory diseases or severe snoring. In this case, those affected usually prefer a lateral sleeping position in order to make it easier for the tongue to descend and for breathing in general.
Hygienic factors in bed must also be taken into account. With the time sweat and fallen skin flakes deposit themselves on mattress and bedlinen. Mites and molds prefer this damp climate and lower particularly the sleep quality of people with allergies. Breathable and antibacterial coatings prevent the colonisation of microorganisms. In general, very old linen and mattresses should be replaced or subjected to intensive cleaning and material tested for harmful substances should always be given preference.
Recharge your batteries during the day
Last but not least: The Power Nap helps you to cope with daily lows. People usually experience a sharp drop in their motivation at lunchtime. Instead of a laborious and ineffective rebellion against the dominant fatigue, a short but refreshing lunch break helps. However, this must take place in appropriate silence and without further distraction. Chatting with colleagues or acquaintances at the same time torpedoes the prospects of a really restful short sleep.
The amazing effect of a targeted rest of about 20 minutes has been proven for quite some time. At the same time you promote your health and lower your personal risk of cardiovascular diseases. Here, too, you should establish a fixed rhythm and condition your body to a certain point in time. You don't need a real bed for a short nap. A calm environment in which you can adequately switch off your mind is completely sufficient. A seat for leaning back accelerates the recovery process. In order to avoid counterproductive tension, a comfortable posture is recommended to protect the head and neck muscles. With closed eyes and conscious breathing, you leave behind the events of the day and prepare your body and mind for the tasks ahead.
If your office is too noisy, try noise cancelling headphones. They shield a lot of ambient noises and help you to concentrate on your work or your powernap. You can find out which models are the best in our large Noise Cancelling Headphone Test.
The mobile phone wakes us up at any time with the music of your choice. It wasn't always so easy to get out of bed in the morning. The history of the alarm clock shows imaginative alarm systems and the way from the sundial to the smartphone alarm.
Sundial and water clock: the elements as alarm clocks
The first alarm clocks were operated with the power of the elements. Sundials and waterclocks awaken their owners with light and shadow, the weight of the water or a combination of both. The oldest alarm clock is the sundial. Finds from the 13th century B.C. prove that our ancestors took advantage of the course of the sun to ignite previously placed black powder at the desired time and thereby trigger a loud sound. Water clocks also have a long tradition in the history of mankind. Used as a tool for measuring time, the systems have been further developed over the years.
Their functional mechanism: the person was awakened when the water level exceeded a noise. For example, a tub made of sheet metal was often used, which by means of a special mechanism brought a single drop - a loud noise sounded and woke the sleeping person up. A famous owner of this early alarm clock was Plato. The Greek philosopher was an enthusiastic early riser and built the water clock himself - using a kind of siphon and a container which - once filled - made loud beeping noises. Already in the times of the ancient Greeks the crowing of the cock was used as an alarm clock. Farmers awoke with the first crows of the cock, which at the same time meant the sunrise. The combination of loud sounds and light is still regarded as one of the most reliable alarm clock methods today.
From bell to alarm clock
While the crowing cock occasionally still serves as an alarm clock for people in rural areas, the sun and water alarm clocks were largely replaced by bells. At the latest in Christianity and with the construction of the first church buildings the midday bell ringing became the standard. Unlike the early water clocks, however, the bells had to be operated manually. To this day, bells are still rung by hand in most communities. However, automated systems are now also available. The artist and visionary Leonardo da Vinci also worked on an alarm clock in the 15th century. The Italian model took the duvet from the sleeper at a desired time and was supposed to wake him up. Later versions of the curious alarm clock made the bed shake or sprinkled the sleeping person with water. Unlike the bell, which was already to be found in most villages and towns at that time, the Da Vinci alarm clock was not a sales success.
It was not until the beginning of the industrial age that alarm clocks could be developed that woke the sleeper without the use of external aids. An early alarm clock was the so-called Factory Whistles - special steam-powered alarm clocks that wake people up with a shrill whistling sound. The Factory Whistle can be seen in many films, where it is not only used for waking up in the morning, but also for departing ships or finishing the day. They were used until the 19th century and the introduction of modern alarm clocks to attract the attention of factory workers.
The first modern alarm clock
The first alarm clock was invented by US watchmaker Levi Hutchins. The first model was developed in 1787 and could only ring once a day due to the limited possibilities at that time. Due to its limited functionality, this first modern alarm clock was never introduced to the market. Hutchins uses the prototype to wake himself up every morning at 4:00. The first patent on a mechanical alarm clock was filed in 1847 by the French inventor Antoine Redier. Four years later, in 1851, this alarm clock was even connected to a bed. The special device connected the alarm tone to a mechanism that raised the bed by 45 degrees - undoubtedly waking the sleeper up.
From table alarm clock to tablet alarm
The first bedside alarm clock was invented in 1876. Developed by the Seth Thomas Clock Company, the modern alarm clock, which could ring unlimited times a day, became a worldwide success. However, it was not until the beginning of the 20th century that alarm clocks were used throughout the country. Until then, many people were still woken up by a knocker-up - a person whose only task was to wake people up by knocking on front doors and windows. After the introduction of the bedside alarm clock, alarm clocks developed rapidly. Until the beginning of the 20th century, the modern alarm clock received freely selectable alarm tones and additional functions such as stopwatch and lighting. This was accompanied by the replacement of the bell by quieter movements that could sound different.
With the introduction of electronics, radio-controlled clocks and later digital alarm clocks were introduced, which had a digital display and numerous technical gadgets, while the actual alarm function was relegated to the background. The story of the alarm clock ends with the mobile phone, tablet and smartphone alarm clocks. However, the classic alarm clocks from the bell alarm clock to the very early sun and water alarm clocks have not completely disappeared to this day and maintain the tradition of natural waking up.
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