Getting enough sleep is possibly an urban myth. Between stress, kids, and a global pandemic, plus the temptation of our smartphones lurking on the bedside table, with all that sleep-disrupting blue light emanating from them, it’s no wonder we’re not getting enough quality rest.
A new alarm clock may be able to convince you to swap out your phone as an alarm, providing a more restful sleep and an easier wake up. I recently got my hands on a Philips SmartSleep Connected Sleep and Wake Up Light (formerly know as Philips Somneo) to test out and review in my home for a few weeks.
Review: Philips SmartSleep Connected Sleep and Wake Up Light
Philips SmartSleep Connected Sleep and Wake Up Light is an alarm clock that has a built in light. The light simulates the sun, either as it rises or sets, and the clock also has sound effects and white noise to help you drift off to sleep. It’s a fairly large device, but its soft round shape is kind of pretty and mod looking. In addition to waking up with simulated sunlight, you can choose a variety of sounds to wake up to, from traditional alarms to nature sounds.
The key innovation for this light, over the original Philips Somneo version and the previous Philips Wake Up Light (both reviewed here) is that this light now connects to your smart phone for what should be vastly easier set up and adjustments.
The new SmartSleep light also has built-in sensors to measure your bedroom’s temperature, noise, light and humidity levels – syncing with the SleepMapper app and suggesting ways to improve your sleep space.
Connectivity with Philips Sleep mapper app
Through the new SleepMapper app, you can more easily control and set the Philips Smart Sleep. You can now control your light and personalize your experience and set an advanced weekday or weekend alarm with the Advanced Alarm Scheduler that offers 20 different sounds, lights, and intensity patterns.
The app is a game changer for this device and for me it elevates this alarm clock to a new level. Previous versions of this clock, like the Somneo and Wake Up Light needed to be set manually using a complicated series of touch controls on the device itself that took forever and was beyond frustrating. Now, you can set everything from the time to alarms, adjust the radio station, change the display brightness and control the sunrise or sunset effects and a lot more.
Setting up Philips SmartSleep Connected Sleep and Wake Up Light
Getting the clock set up was so easy this time around; use the app to connect to the clock, program the time of day and set your wake up time. When you set your alarm, you can choose right in the app what type of sunrise light you want, the sound, any repeats, and snooze duration.
I was thrilled with how easy this was.
Wake Up options: Philips SmartSleep Connected
Simulated sunrise and sunset
The light will come on slowly, starting with a dim glow, then brightening gradually over a length of time you can choose, until it brightens your room like a natural sunrise. In this new Connected version, you can also choose the colour of your sunrise, from red, to orange or white light. You can also adjust how long the light takes to fully brighten and its overall brightness.
Sound effects & FM radio
There are several sound options on the Philips SmartSleep. You can set them to play as white noise to help you sleep, or as the alarm sound. Sound options range from spa-style music, to nature sounds, and even Tibetan singing bowls.
A new feature called PowerWake Alarm can even provide a more jarring wakeup if that’s what you need to get you up. PowerWake alarm combines the blaring sound of a traditional alarm clock with flashing lights to get you out of bed.
Aux connection but no Bluetooth
Also notable, you can connect an aux cable to link up your phone, but there’s no Bluetooth for playback, which I think is an oversight.
There’s a USB plug for charging other devices which is handy. There’s also an FM radio which you can use for passive listening, or as part of your wake up routine.
What’s it like waking up with Philips SmartSleep?
Using the Philips SmartSleep is really enjoyable and provides a much more gentle wake up than traditional alarm clocks or most smartphone alarms.
I set two alarms, an early weekday alarm and a later weekend version. My weekday alarm goes off at 5am, and I chose the Island red sunrise, with a 30 minute fade in and a light intensity of 20/25. I found that works well to gradually wake me up and by the tie the light is on full, the sound kicks in. The sound that wakes me is forest birds and I find this super soothing and gentle but still enough of a noise that it gets me moving. The bonus of this whole alarm profile is that it doesn’t wake my husband.
The touch control Snooze button is easy to reach on the top middle of the clock and I can hit it even without setting it on days where I need a few more zzzs.
Help falling asleep
Similarly, you can set the light to dim gradually, simulating sunset and triggering your body to head for sleep. Set how long you’d like the sunset effect to last, the colour and if you’d also like some white noise to fall asleep to.
Relax Breathe mode
Another feature designed to help you drift off faster is Relax Breathe, which runs you through deep breathing exercises while using light and or sound to help you relax.
Again, this feature is fully customizable and you can adjust your breathing pace (breaths per minute) duration, light, sound and overall intensity.
Sensors & data: AmbiTrack
The Philips SmartSleep Connected Sleep and Wake Light now tracks four key metrics in your bedroom; temperature, humidity, light levels and noise levels.
It’s no surprise that rooms that are too bright, too loud, or too hot or cold can disrupt your sleep. So the Philips Sleep mapper app keeps tabs on this for you. It will track it over time, but to store and access the data you do need to create an account.
Now, while this info is interesting to have and be aware of, the clock isn’t monitoring your sleep quality like wearing a sleep tracker would, so you’d need to cross reference that data with your clock’s readings and try to draw your own conclusions about how those metrics are affecting your sleep, though the SleepMapper app will suggest tips to improve your sleep space and routine.
Speaker quality: so-so
The speaker on this clock isn’t much to talk about. It’s small and kind of tinny; what I’d call a typical alarm clock speaker. My nest wish for Philips with this light would be to put a great quality speaker in here so it sold also double as a high quality music or podcast listening device.
Night Light option
When turned on in the middle of the night, the SmartSleep provides a soft light that is just enough to let you find your way in the dark – without jarrign your senses. The midnight light can be easily activated and de-activated with a few simple taps on the clock.
Overall review: Philips SmartSleep Connected Sleep and Wake Up Light
I’ve been experimenting with sleep-wake lights and alarms for a few years now, and I can say this is definitely one of the best on the market today. Philips has definitely taken all the best features from its previous Wake Up lights and then made every necessary improvement
I absolutely love that every single setting on this light is customizable. There’s not one thing you can’s adjust to your own preferences.
The biggest downside is the speaker quality, but let’s be clear; it works just fine for its intended purpose and gets loud enough and is clear enough to wake me up. While a higher quality speaker would be nice, it’s not truly necessary. I also think a Bluetooth connection would be nice with a better sounding speaker so you can listen to podcasts from your phone.
Overall, I can’t say enough how much I love this light and how it’s earned a place on my bedside table permanently. The Philips SmartSleep Connected Sleep and Wake Up Light sells for about $249 and you can get it from Amazon.
*A note about Affiliate Links: Occasionally I will include affiliate links in my reviews. I do this partly for convenience of the reader (since I’ll almost always include a link to the company website or similar anyway) in case you want to read more or purchase but I also may get a small commission from the click, which helps me keep the blog running. If you chose to use this link I thank you greatly for supporting the blog. There’s no obligation or cost to you for using this link.
I'm a journalist, tech blogger, writer, TV producer, silversmith& jewelry designer, foodie and world traveler. I blog, write for publications, and supply freelance writing services to Calgary, and the world.