As anyone keen to improve their sleep hygiene knows, light can play a massive part in your sleeping and waking cycle. Exposure to sunlight through the day improves your chances of a restful night sleep, while pesky blue light at night makes it harder for you to drift off.
Philips, one of the world’s leading tech manufacturers, realised that it could create a more immersive sleeping experience by developing a clock that helps with everything from winding down before bedtime and waking up in the morning too.
Introducing the Philips Somneo.
The Somneo sleep and wake-up light is one of the most expensive sunrise alarm clocks on the market, but it’s also something that will help you to enhance your brain functioning by ensuring that you don’t jolt too quickly out of the late stages of sleep.
With the Philips Somneo for sleep, users can look forward to being gently roused from their slumber with a combination of soft sounds and lights that mimic the beauty of the sunrise.
Philips Somneo features
Unlike most alarm clocks that focus almost exclusively on waking you up in the morning (usually quite rudely), the Philips Somneo combines a relaxing wake-up experience with tools that help you to drift off at night too. The Philips Somneo sleep and wake-up light come equipped with a simple touch-screen that you can use to customise both sunset and sunrise settings, for an excellent sleep schedule. Features include:
25 light intensity levels
Various timing options
Relax and breathe elements
Sunset and sunrise simulations
8 wake up sounds and 3 relaxation sounds (including birdsong)
Aux entry point and charging port for your phone
Multi-level touch display
Philips Somneo review: Design and setup
Measuring in at about 8.8 inches wide, and 12 inches in diameter, the Philips Somneo is quite a giant alarm clock. It weighs around 3.2 pounds, which is a lot more than you’d expect from the average piece of bedside table kit.
The shape of the Philips Somneo for sleep is also unusual, with a unique curved design that features a hole in the centre. Though it’s difficult to say for sure why Philips chose this appearance for their clock, the good news is that it does make your bedroom look instantly more futuristic. It’s kind of like having a piece of modern art in your room.
Of course, the Philips Somneo is more than just a pretty face. The interface for managing your sleeping and waking cycles is relatively easy to use, and the lighting even adapts according to the ambient light in the room, so you don’t have to squint when it’s sunny outside.
There are plenty of simple touch-activated buttons, including an FM radio feature, light switch and a “wind-down” button that will help you to enjoy a soothing experience both at night and in the morning.
An extra convenient aspect of the Philips Somneo design is the available USB port. This means you can charge your phone without having to take up any valuable plug sockets near your bed. There’s also a 3.5 Aux jack included so that you can listen to your phone’s music through the speaker too.
Interestingly, the Somneo light doesn’t rely entirely on mains power to operate. If there’s a power outage for any reason, then your clock can continue to perform for up to eight minutes, and it will beep for one minute if it knows it isn’t going to reach your alarm time. That’s a smart function to have — and a great way to reduce your risk of being late for work.
Philips Somneo review: Configuration
While setting up the Somneo sleep and wake-up light is simple enough, there’s a bit of complexity involved when it comes to configuring your clock.
At first, accessing the Somneo is as simple as plugging it into your wall outlet. However, when you start fiddling around with things like setting the time and establishing your sleep hygiene cycle, things get a bit more complicated. The setup process requires you to go deep into your settings, creating everything from the sounds and volumes you want to use, to breathing exercise routines immediately.
Although you should be able to get through the configuration process without any extra help from the Philips team, it’s not a quick experience. You’ll need to set aside a bit of time to configure your clock, and you may decide that you want to come back and change some of the features that you implement once you’ve tested the Somneo for a while.
Philips Somneo review: Falling asleep features
One of the things that make the Philips Somneo so impressive is that it’s just as great for falling asleep as it is for waking up. There’s a wind-down feature included with the clock, which provides a sunset simulation—which is beautiful to watch—and a series of breathing exercises.
When you tap the touch-sensitive wind-down button, the light slowly morphs from a bright yellow to an orange and red hue, before turning off completely. The lights don’t suddenly switch on and off with the Somneo. Instead, your illumination level will get gradually brighter or dimmer depending on the time of the day.
The breathing exercises included with the Somneo sleep and wake-up light are also very impressive. As you go through your breathing exercises, you’ll notice that the light brightens slightly when you breathe in and fades when you breathe out — which is excellent for upgrading your meditation experience.
The relax and breathe sleep aid feature is so effective that around 79% of Somneo users said that they fell asleep easier after using the function.
If you don’t want to go straight to sleep with the Philips Somneo, then you can also use it as a bedtime lamp to read with. However, don’t expect the device to be bright enough to light up your entire room.
Philips Somneo review: Waking up and alarm features
Using the Philips Somneo for sleep hygiene is excellent — but what about when you want to wake up?
Well, the same gradual light changes that you can access at night are also available for your morning alarm. The light gradually brightens, similar to if you were waking up outside with the sunrise. You might find that the Somneo’s lighting effects wake you up naturally a minute or two before your audio alarm goes off. There’s a range of audio options for your alarm too, including soft gongs, birdsong and more. However, you can’t use your phone tunes as far as we know.
If you want to snooze the alarm clock (let’s face it, we all do it), all you need to do is tap the top of the light, and the music will stop playing for nine minutes. However, the light stays on. If you want to turn off the alarm completely, you’ll need to press the alarm button on the Somneo interface, and the light will gradually fade out.
For those who like to wake up with a little music, it will help to know that the Somneo sleep and wake-up light also comes with an FM radio. You can add up to five pre-set stations to your radio, and swap between them in a matter of seconds. There’s also a volume section available under the FM radio too.
Should you try the Philips Somneo?
The Philips Somneo sleep and wake-up light is one of the most impressive light therapy lamps on the market today. Featuring excellent capabilities to help users gradually drift off at night and wake up in the morning, the Somneo is an excellent choice for upgrading your sleep routine.