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Feeling the Winter Darkness? These Dawn Simulators Will Help Boost Your Energy
philips-light
Mental Health

Feeling the Winter Darkness? These Dawn Simulators Will Help Boost Your Energy

Feeling in a slump? A dawn simulator, which uses lights to imitate the sun's rising at dawn, can help boost your energy. Dawn simulators let you program lights that progressively increase in intensity to wake you up in the morning. They are easy to use, as you just set them up like an alarm clock and allow the light to reach your retina while you’re still sleeping.

Using a dawn simulator offers a few key benefits. It can support a healthy circadian rhythm and even help balance hormones and positively influence cortisol levels (the stress hormone). Dawn simulators can be used to treat seasonal affective disorder, depending on the light intensity. There are also sleep benefits. It may seem backward to use a wake-up lamp to help you sleep better, but light can control our melatonin levels and consequently, affect our quality of sleep. Changing your light exposure can help regulate your melatonin levels and improve energy levels throughout the day. 


Before purchasing a dawn simulator, there are a few things to consider. According to findings, 10,000 lux is the ideal amount of light intensity for SAD treatments, but lower lux levels are still effective for everyday use. Other than budget considerations, you also need to keep in mind the distance that your light is going to have to be to work efficiently. Most good-quality dawn simulators will allow the treatment to be effective from at least 12 inches from your face.

How we chose the best dawn simulators 

To choose the best dawn simulators, we took into consideration a few basic criteria:

  • Lux (lx): Most importantly, you’ll want to take note of the lux, or light intensity, of the lamp. The higher the lux, the stronger the concentration of light. Look for a lamp with a lux of 10,000 if possible if you’re looking to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder. If not, just 250-300 lux is fine for basic dawn simulation.
  • What additional features does it offer?
  • Is there manufacturer support / a warranty offered?
  • Does it filter UV rays?
  • Price (Also what is its energy cost?)

Ready to find the perfect dawn simulator for your needs? To make your life easier, here are the best options on the market.

Philips SmartSleep Wake-up Light

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The Philips SmartSleep Wake-up Light, Colored Sunrise and Sunset Simulation works at 300 lux. It also offers 20 different light intensities to help personalize your experience. It doubles as an alarm clock and radio, giving you additional features to look forward to. 

It does include a warranty of 24 months beginning on the date of purchase for products bought in Canada or the U.S. In terms of price, this dawn simulator would be considered mid-range at $79.95. 

  • Pros: Affordable, ability to customize your experience
  • Cons: No nighttime features available

SEE IT: $139.98 at Amazon.com 

Lumie Bodyclock Rise

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The Lumie Bodyclock Rise is around 350 lumens and features wake-up as well as sleep functions. Wake-up includes 30 minutes of sunrise duration, adjustable light intensity, mixed LEDs to simulate the sun accurately, as well as the option for a traditional alarm with tap-snooze. 

Sleep features include a 30-minute sunset option to help you wind down, as well as a light-sensitive display to adjust to the light in your room. Plus, this dawn simulator also doubles as a nightlight! It has a three-year warranty to cover any issues with the LED lights. The 99$ price tag may seem steep, but it does provide lots of value for its price. 

  • Pros: Longer warranty, nighttime functions, good light intensity and high quality LEDs
  • Cons: Slightly more expensive, batteries are not included

SEE IT: $99.00 at Amazon.com 

Philips SmartSleep Connected Sleep and Wake-Up Light

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The Philips SmartSleep Connected Sleep and Wake-Up Light has 25 brightness settings and a light intensity of 315 lux. This product’s unique features and functions reflect its $169 price.  the price. 

Smart features include a midnight light, FM radio, phone charging dock, speaker, auxiliary connection, auto-dimming display, smart snooze, and an AmbiTrack sensor that measures your bedroom sleep environment. You can also download the SleepMapper app to track your sleep and get insights and metrics. There’s a full two-year warranty should there be anything wrong with the way your product is manufactured. 

  • Pros: Allows you to track your sleep, many additional functions that make it multi-use, great light intensity.
  • Cons: Expensive

SEE IT: $199.99 at Amazon.com 

Hatch Restore

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The Hatch Restore is a good dawn simulator with sound and light options to help you customize your sleep and wakeups. The purchase of this light lamp comes with a 30-day free trial of the Hatch Sleep Membership that includes meditations, sleep stories, and more through the content library. 

This sunrise alarm clock also features a sleep routine function and reading light. All of this can be accessed through the app or by touch. The digital time display doubles as a clock. This product retails for $129.99 and includes a 60-night money back guarantee. 

  • Pros: Includes a sleep routine function on top of the wakeup. You can control the settings through your app.
  • Cons: You have to pay for the Hatch Sleep Membership after 30 days to access their content, expensive, does not specify the light intensity (lux), batteries not included.

SEE IT: $129.99 at Amazon.com 

Sunrise Alarm Clock 

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This sunrise alarm clock is very affordable and offers a lot of value for $39.95. First, you get great light intensity at 500 lux. You also get both sunrise simulation and a soft night light. 

The daytime and nighttime functions include seven respective wakeup or sleep sounds at 10 adjustable volumes. The 20 brightness settings help you customize your sunlight. This dawn simulator also includes eight color lights to mimic a sunrise and three white lights (2500k, 3000k, and 3500k). The correlated color temperature sits at 5200K/1700K. 

  • Pros: Great light intensity, nighttime routine functions and adjustable settings, and very affordable
  • Cons: No warranty information listed

SEE IT: $39.95 at Amazon.com 

Onlycare Sunrise Alarm Clock 

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Onlycare’s sunrise alarm clock gives you the ultimate bang for your buck. It features a 320 lux brightness and sunrise time of 10-60 minutes. Other features include a sunset simulation, snooze button, dual alarms, FM radio and eight natural sounds mimicking animals, forests and even the ocean to help you sleep. It’s also only $45.99. 

  • Pros: Affordable, sunset simulation, batteries included, additional sleep help
  • Cons: No warranty information listed

SEE IT: $45.99 at Amazon.com 

Dawn Simulator FAQs

What is the difference between a dawn simulator and a SAD lamp? 

A dawn simulator works similarly to bright light therapy in terms of treating Seasonal Affective Disorder. Although, bright light therapy has a high level of lux needed, which can be more difficult to find in a dawn simulator. A SAD lamp also requires you to be awake during the treatment, whereas a dawn simulator works while you’re asleep. 

Is buying a higher-end dawn simulator worth it? 

It depends on the functions of that dawn simulator. If the light intensity fits your needs and includes additional features that are important to you, don’t let the price steer you away from the product. A higher priced dawn simulator doesn’t necessarily mean it’s better though. 

How long does it take to see benefits from using a dawn simulator? 

Consistency is key: It could take about a week or sometimes a little more to see results, especially if you’re using it to benefit your mental health or your hormone/cortisol levels. You may notice improved sleep more rapidly. 

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