Waking up - nobody likes it. You might be a morning person, or you could find that first couple of hours the worst of every day, but for most people, the actual act of waking up from sleep is a tough one.
Just because it's a challenge to rouse yourself from slumber each and every morning, though, doesn't mean that you should revert to the old-school methodology of a blaring alarm bell and brutal wake-up techniques.
Increasingly popular lamps and lights are now available which can simulate miniature sunrises in your bedroom, carefully calibrated to make you wake up naturally and gradually rather than in one big shock. These can help you start your day off more gently and calmly, and have rave reviews from those who use them.
We've rounded up some of the best wake-up lamps on the market, and listed them below so that you can get a sense for the options ahead of you if you like the sound of an easier morning routine.
Our guide to the best wake-up lights to buy today
Philips Wake-Up Light HF3520
Philips can make a fairly substantial claim to have started off the craze for wake-up lights - or at least to have anticipated it. It's offered wake-up lights for years, and that experience has led to a classy, simple offering.
The HF3520 is one of the more premium lamps that Philips offers, but you might not want to skimp when it comes to your sleep. This lamp will, over the course of 30 minutes, slowly light up to wake you, with some optional sounds to play at the point of your actual alarm time if needed. It's got a space-age sort of design to it, and most important does exactly what it says on the tin.
Lumie Bodyclock Luxe 750DAB
The lamps on this list have generally got some key similarities, in particular, the fact that they're centred around that all-important wake-up light. Lumie, though, the other big name in this market, has got a bit of a USP when it comes to the Bodyclock Luxe 750DAB — as the name suggests, it packs in a DAB radio as part of its base.
A slightly cheaper version is available that just has FM channels, but we think DAB is worth the upgrade. Either way, you'll be able to enjoy the classic, timeless pleasure of listening to the radio in bed, whether as part of a daily wakeup or on the weekends. This is the most expensive single lamp on our list, but it's also really well-made and boasts a packed feature set.
Philips Somneo Light
Philips changed the game up a little bit with the Somneo — this isn't just a lamp to help you wake up, but also one that aims to help you doze off in the first place. You get the standard powerful light to help rouse you from slumbers deep or otherwise, but also the option of what Philips calls Relax Breath.
This mode makes the lamp pulse gently with rhythmic light, while you keep your eyes shut, and is basically a guided breathing system to help you relax into sleepiness. If you have trouble bedding down for the night, the Somneo could be a solution that helps with both the start and end of your nightly sleep.
Totobay Wake Up Light
Right at the bottom end of the cost spectrum, you'll find lamps that aren't as powerful or as multi-functional as those above, but which can still ably help you to wake up more easily.
This simple effort from Totobay, for example, has the same 30-minute timer as most of the posher lamps, and a snooze function to delay the inevitable for you. It even has FM radio bands, too, making for an impressive package at a fraction of the price of some of those above.
This is a bit of a maverick entry, again from Lumie, in that it isn't just a wake-up light, but also a certified seasonal affective disorder (SAD) light, which can help to deliver light therapy if you need it.
It also fulfils the needs of a wake-up light, with timed alarms and gradual brightening, but you can also pick it up and use it throughout the day to get bursts of bright, simulated natural light to help keep any winter blues away. For a small light, it really does pack a punch.
Philips Hue smart bulbs
As a final curveball, we'd suggest that you look into the possibility of using smart lightbulbs as your very own wakeup system. A lamp by your bedside could be perfect for you, but if you already have, for example, Philips Hue bulbs in your light fittings, you might not need one.
There are multiple ways out there to set routines for your Philips Hue system, making it wake you up using certain of your lightbulbs in the morning, whether by asking your smart assistant to set it up for you, or using official routines or apps. Because Philips' bulbs are often capable of changing the warmth and colour of their light (depending which you've bought), you can get a very similar effect to a wake-up lamp without having to splash out for one.