Sun Bliss Light Therapy Alarm Clock Review

If you are SAD this winter, the Sun Bliss Light Therapy Alarm Clock might be what you are looking for, especially if you need a small, reasonably priced light therapy device. SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) is a real thing, and it affects millions. Most people just brush off the effects of SAD, calling it "winter-blues", but your dipping mood is most likely a result of a vitamin D deficiency brought on by, you know, there not being a lot of sun in the winter months. In most cases, SAD symptoms appear during late fall or early winter and go away during the sunny days of spring and summer. The effects of SAD include feelings of depression, losing interest in things you once enjoyed, low energy, problems sleeping, changes in appetite, feeling worthless, all the way to thoughts of suicide. Not what most people are looking for. 

The people over at Nature Bright sent over their Sun Bliss light, and I gave it a good, long test to see what changes, if any, this thing made to combat SAD and generally if it helped the whole "I have to get out of bed and I don't want to" thing almost everyone deals with on a workday. It features LED lights and "advanced optical lenses", and operates at a full, 10,000 LUX brightness. 

The first thing you'll notice right out of the box is how small this device is. It's pretty tiny, especially in comparison to some of the other light therapy devices on the market, and the light itself comes out of a section just larger than a standard playing card. The dimensions are a compact 4.8 x 4.7 x 1.2 inches and it weighs in at just under a pound. With such a small, lightweight device, you would think it would feel cheap, but despite its light weight, it still feels substantial in the hand. There is a sliding plastic "shelf" on the back that pops out in three different positions, so you can adjust how much of an angle you want, and it sits sturdily on the shelf without feeling like it is going to collapse or fall over. You can also pop the little shelf in so it rests against the back of the device, so you could theoretically hang it flush against a wall if you wanted to.

There are a couple of different functions on this device: "alarm", "backup alarm",  and then your turn-it-on-and-walk-away light therapy mode. The device is surprisingly difficult to set up, at least for me. I had to come back to the instructions a few times to figure out how to set both the sunrise and backup alarm. Once you get the hang of it, it isn't too tough, but I would have liked a little more streamlined interface that didn't require me to keep returning to the instruction manual. After a couple months of use it's a breeze, but you will want to do a couple test runs before you toss out your other alarm and count on this thing to wake you up in time for work. 

The unit must be plugged in to function, which is a bit of a missed opportunity, especially since the cord is so short. A battery option would have been a nice feature to have, especially on a device this small. For light therapy, it is recommended that you place the light-source about 2-3 feet away from you, and with such a short cord, your options are somewhat limited. You almost need an extension cord depending on how far your workspace or couch is from the nearest outlet.

The alarm-light itself comes on 30 minutes before you want to wake up, and there are ten different light-levels, up to the full 10,000 LUX blast where the device tops out. It works great, slowly ramping up the light until it is blazing, and if that doesn't work, an alarm will kick on to give you an extra nudge out of unconsciousness. A small complaint I have is that it would be nice to have the initial "10% light" come on gradually. It is such a low-light that this isn't a huge problem, but it does go from no light to light immediately. 

As far as combating the effects of SAD, it is somewhat a subjective thing. I do seem to rise a bit better in the mornings, and I will bless this little light for finally offering an alternative to the blaring unpleasantness of a buzzing alarm, or the "so gentle I don't even wake up" soothing alarms that I've tried. I seem to have a little more energy during my day, but I have also started exercising more vigorously as of late, so that is probably helping as well. The bottom line is that this light pretty much does exactly what every other SAD-combating light does, so if you have tried light therapy before with positive results, you will most likely get the same thing here. It doesn't feature the different colored "rising sun" feature that other lights have, but it works just as well, despite not being as aesthetically pleasing as a rosy, reddish orange simulated sunrise. 



This is a good little entry light therapy device. It is bright enough to work in your bedroom, but compact enough to take on the road without a second thought. It works as advertised, and despite having a bit of a learning curve when setting it up, the Sun Bliss Light Therapy & Wake Up Light is a good option for those who have an outlet close to their desk or need a backup for travel.

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