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Some amphibians, fish and reptiles have a literal third eye—called a parietal eye—located on the tops of their heads. This organ can’t really see, but it does have the same light-gathering and reflecting parts as a regular eye (think: lens, retina and cornea). Scientists say the light collected by the parietal eye regulates light-sensitive hormones that affect the animal’s circadian rhythm, body heat regulation and even the ability to navigate. (When scientists cover up the parietal eye with nail polish—what?!—lizards dropped in a maze become hopelessly lost.)

While humans didn’t evolve a nifty full-on third eye, we do have a brain structure that does similar stuff. That’s the pineal gland, which secretes the light-sensitive hormone melatonin—and plays roles in the circadian rhythm, mental health, and aging. So, light is inherently tied up with how you feel, and all those unnatural lights humans enjoy (from the TV or phone or, you know, light bulbs) can make good sleep (and good waking up) difficult.

Enter the wake up light alarm clock.

This alarm has separate functions to simulate the sun coming up or going down. Philips SmartSleep

The idea behind a sunrise alarm clock is to simulate the light-based wakeup triggers that most humans miss out on since we live inside and use artificial lights. Look for a device that fakes sunrise by cycling from red-tinted light to brighter white light—just like the sun coming up. Some clocks also have a sunset function to help ease you into sleep.

App Controlled

This option is a full-service device that can be set for multiple users simultaneously. heimvision

Many wake up light alarm clocks let the user adjust the length of the wakeup cycle so the “sunrise” can be longer or shorter, depending on user preferences. Like any alarm clock, these also have snooze buttons so sleepers can postpone sunrise. (Too bad that doesn’t work with the real sun, right?)

Versatile Functions

This device also does mood lighting and plays music. JALL

Other useful features include the option to add music or alarm sounds to the sunrise wakeup, handy USB charging ports and a night light function. For the full natural sunrise experience, look for an alarm clock that combines sunrise simulation with a suite of nature sounds—and roll out of bed to a sunrise nature serenade like a (well-rested) forest critter.