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How Casper's Glow Light makes my early mornings a little easier

This portable light helps me relax at night and gently wakes me up in the morning — here’s what to know.
Casper’s The Glow Light can mimic a natural sunrise in the morning, and turns into a dimming night light at bedtime.
Casper’s The Glow Light can mimic a natural sunrise in the morning, and turns into a dimming night light at bedtime. Casper

Admittedly, I’m not a morning person, and even less so when I’m woken up by a blaring alarm. Whenever I wake up early to head to the gym or get a head start at work, I’ll usually find myself snoozing my alarm more times than I can count, just to hear it go off another four or five times. So when Casper sent me The Glow Light to try out, I put it to good use as a sunrise clock — and with Daylight Saving Time delaying the sunrise by an hour, it’s become a much gentler wake-up call.

So how does this compact LED cylinder work? Similar to most sunrise clocks, the Glow Light mimics the natural sunrise by emitting a light that gets brighter throughout the course of a 30-minute period, starting as a dim glow and progressing to its highest setting. Using the accompanying Casper Glow mobile app, I schedule a time for it to turn on — typically about 30 minutes before I expect to wake up — and set the specific days of the week I want it to come on. Once it’s at its brightest setting, the light can stay on anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes before it conveniently dims and turns off again.

Casper The Glow Light

I was pleasantly surprised at how versatile and easy to use the device is, no matter the time of day — I turn it on by simply flipping it over and I can manually dim or brighten it by physically twisting it clockwise or counterclockwise on its charging base. In fact, the Glow Light ended up significantly upgrading my nighttime routine just as much as it did my mornings: The device is designed to automatically dim for a set time interval until it eventually turns off (the default time is 45 minutes, but you can turn it down to 15 minutes or up to 90 minutes). The wind down period gently lulls me to sleep, and serves as a better alternative to abruptly turning off the bright overhead lights into total darkness. If I need a little extra light before bed, I press the button at the top or bottom of the device to pause the dimming feature and maintain a set level of brightness.

I’ve also found this device to be extremely portable and lightweight, which is a lifesaver when I wake up in the middle of the night. If I need to get up at any point when it’s dark, I can give the device a gentle shake to turn it into a nightlight at its dimmest setting and take it with me (a feature that ultimately saved me from having to purchase lamps around my new apartment to get around at night). The battery life can also last for up to seven hours, according to Casper, so I can use it in different areas of my house without needing to unplug my charging pad.

It’s important to note that, unlike other popular sunrise clocks, the Glow Light doesn’t equip an alarm or a clock that actually displays the time. With that in mind, I do suggest setting a backup alarm later in the morning in case you sleep through it. Since I’m generally a light sleeper and because the light is directly next to me on my nightstand, I will typically wake up around the time I set it to turn on. Heavier sleepers or those who place the light a little farther away in the room, on the other hand, may have a harder time waking up by solely using the sleep light.

If you have more people in your home, you can pair multiple Glow Lights together and sync the settings, or you can control each one individually (you can name them on the app to keep track). If you want to adjust the brightness of one and not the other, you can simply give one a shake and use it on its own.

Other sunrise clocks to consider

If you’re looking into other sunrise clocks to shop, we’ve compiled some highly rated options below based on our past reporting and from notable brands across various price points.

Hatch Restore Sound Machine and Smart Light

Dr. Seema Khosla, medical director of the North Dakota Center for Sleep, previously recommended The Hatch Restore in our guide to alarm clocks due to the flexibility in creating a solid nighttime routine. The clock allows you to dim the light during the evening, play quiet music and set reminders to turn off your other devices. This sunrise clock has different light styles that range from Warm White to Peach, and includes sound features like white noise. According to the brand, you can utilize its companion app to control your nighttime routine and the color of the light, among other things.

JALL Wake Up Light Sunrise Alarm Clock

The JALL Wake Up Light features 20 levels of lighting to gradually wake you up in the morning over the span of 10 minutes, 20 minutes or 30 minutes, according to the brand. You can also choose from seven natural sounds to pair with the sunrise feature, such as birdsong, ocean wave and piano music. The device comes in both White and Wood, and it offers seven colored light options: blue, indigo, purple, orange, yellow, red and green.

Philips SmartSleep Connected Sleep and Wake-Up Light

This sunrise clock from Philips provides a personalized sunset and sunrise routine using the connected app, SleepMapper — the brand says the app lets you adjust the light's length and intensity and set an alarm schedule with the choice of 20 different sounds, lights and intensity patterns. According to Philips, the smart touch display can adjust the brightness of the light automatically to the light level in your room, and a soft light option can also be accessed with a simple tap of the screen. You can choose between four different light colors, including white, orange, yellow and amber.

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