man sleeping in bed with amazon halo rise alarm clock

Amazon's New Sleep Improvement Device Looks Shockingly Decent

An Amazon product that doesn't require Alexa? That's a first.

Fast Facts

Amazon’s Halo Rise is a sleep tracker, smart alarm, and wake-up light rolled into one. It doesn’t require any wearables, has no microphone or camera, and is functional without Alexa.

Amazon is not the company we expected to release a sensible-sounding sleep tracker, but here we are. 

Announced at the company’s yearly devices launch event in the fall, the new Halo Rise promises is a sleep tracker, smart alarm, and wake-up light all at once. It provides data on the quality (or lack thereof) of your sleep through an app, and doesn’t require you to wear an uncomfortable watch or other wearables. You don’t even need an Amazon-enabled smart home device to use it. 

So what does the Halo Rise do, how exactly does it work? Here’s what you need to know. 

What Does the Halo Rise Do?

Its three core functions are sleep tracking, smart alarm, and wake-up light—which also happens to be the order of importance of each function. 

Sleep tracking

At face value, sleep tracking is the most robust function the product offers. Amazon says the Halo Rise knows when you get in bed to go to sleep, when you go to sleep, and the levels of sleep you reach (and for how long). It can even tell the difference between your sleep intent, or, put in simpler terms, when you get in bed to read a book rather than sleep for the night. 

The brand also says the Halo Rise is able to discern your sleep partner—other human or pet—from the “primary” user, which is a nerdy way of saying it can tell who’s sleeping closest to the device and only track that person’s sleep patterns. All data is fed to the Halo app. 

Smart alarm

The Halo Rise kind of ignores the time you set your alarm to. If you set the alarm to, say, 7:30 a.m., it could wake you up any time between 7 and 7:30. Why? Because the device wants to wake you up when you’re in the optimal wake-up ready state—i.e. when you’re in the lightest sleep phase. According to Amazon, it begins its wake-up cycle when you hit light sleep during the 30-minute window before your set wake-up time, but it does aim to “maximize sleep duration.” 

Wake-up light

The simplest of the three core functions is the wake-up light. There are a number of other wake-up alarms that use light simulating the sunrise, rather than sound, to wake you up. The key difference between the Halo Rise and these products is its ability to sync sleep tracking, your desired wake time, and the sunrise wake-up function into a fluid and easy-to-understand user experience. 

If you want, you can turn on a more traditional alarm as well—perhaps one that rings at your actual alarm time rather than the 30-minute window—if you’re into the sleep tracking but not the sunrise wake-up cycle. 

Sleep Better

How Does the Halo Rise Work?

The clever combination of a sleep tracker, smart alarm, and wake-up light will get the headlines, but how the Halo Rise works is just as impressive. 

Where most smart tracking devices require the use of a wearable—a watch, a ring, a bracelet, whatever—the Halo Rise does not. Instead, it tracks your sleep via a very well-trained radar that can figure out when you’re going to sleep, when you fall asleep, and what level of sleep you’re in. There are no microphones or cameras onboard to track sound levels of movement; it’s purely the work of the low-power radar.

The radar isn’t creating any kind of visual image of the room, either—it’s tracking your breathing, which shifts as you transition from a waking state, to sleeping, to different levels of sleep. 

And all that you need to do to make this happen is set it up on an end table on your side of the bed. 

halo rise lamp radar
The Halo Rise uses radar detection zones to figure out whose sleep it should be tracking.

Where Can You Buy the Halo Rise? 

The Halo Rise is available on Amazon for $140 at launch, and comes with a six-month Halo membership as well. 

The Bottom Line

Looking to wake up more refreshed and don’t want to strap on multiple smart tech wearables? Amazon’s Halo Rise is worth looking into. It tracks your sleep with a radar, wakes you up when you’ll feel most refreshed, and does so without the need for wearables or Alexa.