This Sunrise Alarm Clock Is the Only Thing That Gets Me Out of Bed During Winter

I'll never use my iPhone alarm again.

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Editor's Pick: Phillips SmartSleep Sunrise Alarm Clock
Photo: Amazon

As a Chicagoan with over 10 years of residency under my puffy down jacket, I live by one motto year-round: Winter is coming. If there's anything summer-Kristen can do to make winter-Kristen slightly more pleasant to be around, I do it. Booking a February warm-weather getaway, buying an impulse plant every time I go to Trader Joe's, investing in a broad array of disco balls to catch the minimal daylight — these are all things I've done in the past six weeks alone in hopes of mitigating my seasonal affective disorder (SAD), a form of clinical depression that often emerges at the end of daylight savings time.

For the past four years, one daily companion has made it bearable for me to keep my 6 a.m. wake-up time in the dark winter mornings. Even better, I no longer throw my phone across the room or ignore the alarm for so long that my partner wants to kick me out of bed. Enter: the Phillips SmartSleep Sunrise Alarm Clock.

Phillips SmartSleep Sunrise Alarm Clock Key Features

  • How I tested: I've used this alarm clock every weekday for four years.
  • Perfect for: Anyone who wants to keep their phone out of their bedroom.
  • What you'll love: The sunrise simulation is a gradual, noise-free way to wake up — perfect if you share a bed.
  • Keep in mind: The buttons along the top of the clock are easy to mix up in the dark, so it might take some practice to get the hang of what button to hit without accidentally snoozing.
  • Light intensity: This goes up to 300 lux and 20 different brightness settings, but similar models from Phillips go to 310 or 315 lux and 25 brightness settings.

Phillips SmartSleep Sunrise Alarm Clock

Editor's Pick: Phillips SmartSleep Sunrise Alarm Clock

Phillips SmartSleep Sunrise Alarm Clock Review

I'm a morning workout person for life. But from October to March, the rude blaring of my default iPhone alarm in the pitch black isn't good for my mental health (not to mention the mental health of my partner). I realized I needed a different solution that would make waking up more "aahh" and less "aaghh!"

So I turned to the Phillips SmartSleep Sunrise Alarm Clock. This sunrise alarm clock is going on four years of use for me, and the biggest draw is its sunrise simulation. Each weekday, the clock gradually gets brighter and brighter over the course of 20 minutes (but you can set the duration to be longer if you want). At the end of my "sunrise," the lamp hits its full brightness and starts playing natural wake-up noises (think: birds tweeting or waves crashing). It feels like a little bit of light therapy to start my morning off on a sunny note.

Editor's Pick: Phillips SmartSleep Sunrise Alarm Clock

And perhaps surprisingly, I use this alarm clock in the evenings, too. The Phillips SmartSleep Sunrise Alarm Clock features a sunset simulation for a "bedtime alarm." Here's how it works: Around 10 p.m., I climb into bed with my latest book and turn on the light portion of the clock, which has enough brightness to use as a reading light, even when the overhead lights are off. Then I set the "fall asleep" duration to 30 minutes, and over the next half-hour, the light gradually dims until it's completely off and I know it's time for bed. Together, the sunrise and sunset simulations mean my phone can charge in a different room and I avoid the temptation of scrolling before bed.

One thing to note: Since I bought my sunrise alarm clock, other sleep health brands have come out with high-tech sunrise alarm clocks that are app-compatible and have all the bells and whistles. Honestly, one of the reasons I love the one from Phillips is that it's pretty basic — I don't get decision paralysis wondering which particular color I want my light to be, or choose from dozens of wake-up sounds. For me, keeping my options simple is key to maintaining any routine. If that sounds perfect to you too, try the Phillips SmartSleep Sunrise Alarm Clock, available on Amazon for under $100 — and say goodbye to the abrasive iPhone alarm forever.

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