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The 6 best wake-up light alarm clocks

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L ong, dark nights and short days are part and parcel of winter life in Britain. Throw in long working hours and, for many of us, daylight is almost unheard of during the cold months. With around 6 per cent of the population suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), and many more experiencing milder symptoms, SAD alarm clocks can be useful in overcoming seasonal depression.

Known alternatively as sunrise alarm clocks, wake up lights, bodyclock lights and natural light alarm clocks, SAD alarm clocks provide a novel form of light therapy that can have a big impact.

Light therapy has long been used to treat SAD, and these days you can access the treatment at home. It’s a relatively simple concept: the clock slowly emits light for 30 minutes before your desired wake-up time (many can be changed to increase or decrease light emission time).

This is designed to combat the sudden, startling awakening of a regular alarm clock, which releases cortisol and causes an imbalance in hormones, potentially leading to bad mood and inertia.

There are many on the market, ranging from around £20 to £200. They all perform the function of waking you with light rather than startling sounds, but the more expensive have features like DAB radios and reading lights. Check they are medically certified to treat SAD before purchasing.

T he Telegraph tested some of the best wake-up light alarm clocks on the market. Here are our favourites:

1. Lumie Bodyclock Luxe 750D

D efinitely a market leader, the Lumie Bodyclock Luxe 750D is a cut above its competition. “Why’s it so good?” I hear you ask. Well, it’s a pleasing mix of simplicity and high-tech features, and is incredibly easy to use for even the most technophobic.

While some SAD alarm clocks are fiddly and complex to set up, the Bodyclock Luxe comes almost ready to go – all you have to do is set the time. It was even pre-set to wake me at my usual time of 7am.

Other reasons for this being the best? It looked more like a radio than a weird alien light, despite the groovy antenna. It had DAB, while many either had only FM or none, and Bluetooth and USB connections. Sound quality was better than most. The time light was less powerful than some, a bonus for sleeping hours.

With 20 wake up sounds, you’ll find the right one for you – I even awoke happily without any sound, just light (almost) as nature intended it. It’s pricey, but if you can afford it, this is the best wake up light I tried.

2. Lumie Bodyclock Shine 300

T he Lumie Bodyclock Shine 300 is a more basic version of the Luxe Lumie alarm clock. While it doesn’t have many of the snazzier features of the more advanced version, it’s a lot cheaper. Aesthetically, it’s very similar.

Setting up is a little more complex; it took me a while to figure out all the right settings that I wanted. After that, I liked it. The clock light was on the dimmer side, which helped me when getting to sleep, and the morning waking light was in no way startling. You can set a particular FM radio station to wake you up, if you so wish, or several calming noises.

Like its definitively luxe counterpart, it is also proven to treat SAD.

3. COULAX Wake Up Light Wood Grain Sunrise Alarm Clock

W ith a futuristic design and a number of features that set it apart, this is a good, affordable option for those after a new wake up light.

The sunrise simulator gradually increases brightness from warm red to bright white to wake you up (with its cycle length customisable from 10 to 60 minutes). The sleeping simulator does the same, in reverse, over 10 to 120 minutes.

Y ou can set two different alarm times for weekdays and weekends, snooze up to five times per alarm, choose from seven different wake-up sounds (including birds chirping and ocean waves), and listen to FM radio. When used as an atmosphere light, you can even select one of seven colours to illuminate the room at any time.

Millions of people across Britain suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder, which can lead to depression, especially in winter. SAD alarm clocks, also known as wake-up light alarms, are clinically proven to help prevent the symptoms. The Telegraph tested the eight best SAD alarm clocks.

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