Colored light for realistic sun simulation
Five naturally soothing wakeup sounds
Doubles as a reading lamp
Sunset timer to wind down at night
Tap-snooze isn't easy to use
Nature sounds can't be used for nighttime white noise
Bulb is not replaceable
Philips HF3520 Wake-Up Light Therapy Lamp
We purchased the Philips Smart Sleep Wake Up Light so our writer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
Sleep has never come naturally to me. I don’t stay up late bingeing Netflix, and I rarely drink caffeine after 2 in the afternoon. My body never seems to realize it’s time to unwind. Instead of snoozing, I lie awake thinking, stressing, and, yes, even counting sheep, barely falling asleep by 2 a.m. Unsurprisingly, I wake up groggy the next day.
The Philips Smart Sleep Wake Up Light captured my interest. I was giddy about the idea of peacefully waking up to a simulated sunrise—especially since our blinds are always down with my husband’s sporadic hospital work schedule. I also loved the idea of a sunset simulation to wind down at night. It’s hardly something I’d ever considered—obviously, sunset is not my sleep time. But after three weeks of waking up and hitting the hay with the Philips Smart Sleep Wake Up Light on my nightstand, I’m a serious convert to this daily routine.
...waking up to subtle, soft light and cheery birds makes me happier than any mood lamp I have ever tried, and I have tried several.
For starters, the sunrise simulation wake-up call is what an aspiring morning person’s dreams are made of. I was skeptical. Could a light actually wake me up and not disrupt my husband? The answer is yes. I set a gap of 30 minutes when the light starts increasing (simulating sunrise) to when it reaches full brightness. When the sound of this light feature's soothing alarm turns on, I prefer the bird chirps to the four other soothing options like waves and other natural sounds.
The light almost always wakes me up before the 30-minute mark. Each light-induced wake-up feels so natural that I forget why I’m awake at 7 a.m. Plus, the soothing bird calls are a nice treat when I make it past 30 minutes. It almost feels like I’m camping with my family.
The sunset routine is nice but not as functional for me. The subtly dimming light, which starts at full 300 lux brightness and slowly fades through 20 light intervals, is soothing. But it only works on occasion for me, usually the days that I'm already exhausted.
This device has a few additional perks beyond its sunrise and sunset simulation. I like its clean, minimalistic look. Sure, it’s basically just a white contraption, but it fits nicely in our room. The warm glow that radiates from it doubles as a nice reading light and is soothing during all hours of the day. I rarely listen to the radio, but it includes a handy FM radio button I could use for waking up. However, I much prefer bird calls or waves to news or talk radio. I can also plug in my phone and play music via AUX cable.
There are some downsides to this device. For starters—and, honestly, this may be a good thing in my case—I can never get the “tap to snooze” function to work. I’m supposed to be able to roll over, subtly tap, and it should snooze the alarm. But after about five minutes of fumbling, I give up and wake up. Another downside is the light bulb itself. Philips says consumers can’t replace the bulb when it runs out, which means I’ll need to invest in another light or upgrade to their next gadget when the time comes. Although, in theory, that time should not come for a long time. Its bulb is rated for at least 16,000 hours of use, and Philips offers a 2-year warranty on its light therapy products.
The thing I’m most bummed about is that nature sounds equipped on the device can't be used as white noise for going to sleep. Those sounds can be programmed only with wake up time or left on continuously. It would be nice if those sounds could shut off with a sleep mode.
Frequently Asked Questions
What color is the light?
The light is a soothing warm, almost orange, hue. You can adjust the brightness with 20 light intervals. The maximum is 300 lux.
How many alarms are there?
Two separate alarms are great for weekday and weekend customization. You can activate each via buttons on the rim of the light. They’re easy to set and change, much easier than most digital alarm clocks I have used. It is also easy to tell when an alarm is on or off via the LED indicator screen, which is also where you set them.
Will it wake up my partner?
This answer depends on how your partner sleeps. My husband is a pretty solid sleeper. He has yet to notice the light or the bird chirps. He usually sleeps right through them. You can adjust the sound level to make it quieter if necessary.
Is this also a mood lamp?
This device does not double as a mood or “happy” lamp. But, waking up to subtle, soft light and cheery birds makes me happier than any mood lamp I have ever tried, and I have tried several.
How big is the lamp?
The lamp is 7.83 x 5.75 x 7.56 inches and is small enough to easily fit on my tiny little nightstand with a water bottle, ring dish, and chapstick.
How is it powered?
The Philips Smart Sleep Wake Up Light has a white plug and plugs into the wall. It has no on or off button; you turn it off by unplugging it from the wall.
Philips Smart Sleep Wake Up Light vs. the Hatch Restore Smart Light
The Philips Smart Sleep Wake Up Light and the Hatch Restore Smart Light offer similar features: Sunrise and sunset simulation with soothing sounds and warm light hues to help you wake up refreshed and fall asleep easily. The Hatch light has a few perks that the Philips light lacks, including the ability to change between different light hues via an app, an array of in-app sounds and sleep stories, and a white noise sleep mode.
A big downfall of the Hatch system is that it is entirely phone dependent. You use your phone to control settings, sounds, and alarms, while the Philips light has buttons along the sides of the device. Price-wise, the Hatch and Philips Smart Sleep lights are in the same range, about $130 each.
You need this light.
I will not put this lightly: If you struggle to wake up or want to create a more soothing and peaceful morning routine, you need the Philips Smart Sleep Wake Up Light in your life. Nothing puts me in a worse mood than a blaring alarm clock forcing me out of my slumber—and few things make me happier than naturally waking up to the sound of chirping birds and the warm glow of the pseudo-sun on my face.
- Product Name HF3520 Wake-Up Light Therapy Lamp
- Product Brand Philips
- MPN HF3520/60
- Price $139.99
- Release Date August 2012
- Weight 1.6 lbs.
- Product Dimensions 7.83 x 5.75 x 7.56 in.
- Mounting Type Tabletop
- Warranty Two-year