Phone and Lamp.
Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock.com

It’s easier to get out of bed when you have a gentle light nudging you awake, but you can’t always count on that. We’ll show you a few ways to automate some morning lighting along with your alarm.

Something as open-ended as turning on lights at a specific time has a lot of different solutions. There are some super complex methods and some very simple methods. We’ll highlight a few to try and maybe get your creative juices flowing to make something of your own.

RELATED: How to Hear a Weather Forecast With Your Alarm on Android

Use Your Phone Screen (on Android)

Let’s start with something you may already have—an Android phone. The Google Clock app features a “Sunrise Alarm.” In the span of 15 minutes, the screen will slowly transition from black to red, to orange, to yellow, gradually getting brighter as well.

The Sunrise Alarm is part of the Google Clock’s “Bedtime Mode” suite of features. Here’s how to use Bedtime Mode on Android. Google Clock is available for all Android phones and tablets in the Play Store. Prop your Android phone up on your bedside table and you’ve got a nice sunrise alarm clock.

Apple doesn’t offer anything like this on iPhone, so this one is only for Android users.

RELATED: How to Wind Down at Night with Bedtime Mode for Android

Smart Bulbs and Smart Plugs

Philips hue box on a pink and yellow background.
Philips

A step up from your smartphone screen is some actual lightbulbs. You could go the route of smart light bulbs or add a smart plug to your existing light.

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There are tons of different smart bulbs and plugs on the market. If you want something cheap, a good place to start is a simple Wi-Fi bulb. You’ll want to get a bulb that can be dimmed, of course. Colors or color temperature effects would also be nice for this purpose.

Our top choice for the best overall smart bulb is the Philips Hue. This bulb connects to your phone over Bluetooth, so there’s no need for a hub. It can also integrate with Google Assistant and Alexa for voice controls and routines.

Best Smart Bulb Overall

Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance

Offering everything from tunable white lights to colored lights that can cycle through 16 million colors, Philips Hue bulbs earn our top spot for quality, product range, and flexibility.

In the Philips Hue app, you can create a simple alarm to turn the light on at your desired time. Depending on the number of bulbs you have, this could be used for a single lamp or your entire bedroom.

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Philips is just one brand, but you’ll find this same functionality in most smart home device apps. If the bulb or plug can integrate with Google Home, you can consolidate it into a single app.

The Best Smart Light Bulbs of 2021

Best Smart Bulb Overall
Philips Hue White and Color Ambiance
Best Budget Smart Bulb
Wyze Bulb
Best Outdoor Smart Bulb
Ring Wired Floodlight
Best Smart Bulb For Google Assistant
C by GE
Best Smart Bulb for Amazon Alexa
Sengled Smart Bulb
Best Smart Bulb for Apple HomeKit
Sylvania Smart +
Best Color Smart Bulb
Lifx Mini
Best Wi-Fi Smart Bulb
Wiz Smart Bulb
Best Bluetooth Smart Bulb
Govee LED Strip Lights

Make Your Own Artificial Sun

It’s time to go big. A phone screen and a couple of light bulbs are cool, but what if you could make your own sun? With a little DIY and some strip lights, you can do exactly that.

There are a couple of different ways you can do this. To go all out, you can build a fake window and program the smart lights to mimic the color temperature of the rising sun in your location. If this is something you’re interested in doing, we have a full guide on building an artificial natural light window with SmartThings.

attach the lights inside the box
Joe Fedewa

For a more low-key approach, you can buy some Wi-Fi strip lights and a shadowbox frame. You’ll simply use the app as we did with the Philips Hue bulbs to create an alarm. When the lights turn on, it will be a nice big window-like box. You can really take this concept as far as you want.

The Best LED Strip Lights of 2021 to Give Your Home a Splash of Color

Best Smart Strip Lights Overall
Govee 65.6ft LED Strip Lights
Best Budget
TJoy 50ft Smart LED Strip Lights
Best Waterproof LED Strip
Hitlights Waterproof White LED Light Strip
Best for Alexa
Cozylady 50ft Alexa LED Strip Lights
Best for Google Assistant
Gosund 32.8ft LED Strip Lights

Depending on where you live and the time of year, it can be very dark in the morning. Hopefully, these suggestions can help with that and maybe give you some ideas for more solutions. A little light can go a long way when you’re trying to start your day.

Profile Photo for Joe Fedewa Joe Fedewa
Joe Fedewa is a Staff Writer at How-To Geek. He has close to a decade of experience covering consumer technology and previously worked as a News Editor at XDA Developers. Joe loves all things technology and is also an avid DIYer at heart. He has written thousands of articles, hundreds of tutorials, and dozens of reviews.
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