A judge told Yahya Babiker that the murder had been brutal, premeditated and inexplicable – then ordered him to serve at least 18 years before he can be considered for parole.
CCTV footage, seen by a jury, showed Babiker, 46, in a local DIY superstore buying the cheap claw hammer he used just hours later – as the couple's children slept next door.
Student Randa Kamblawi, 34, was hit at least five times as she lay in bed.
Babiker then wrapped her body in a duvet, put her in a bath of water and began an attempt to cover his tracks.
He tried to flee to Paris, but only got as far as London before returning to Edinburgh and handing himself in to a hospital in the city.
An earlier trial heard how Babiker went to a HomeBase store in Edinburgh where security camera footage showed him trying out a crowbar for size before settling for a hammer costing three pounds and ninety nine pence.
Advocate depute Pino di Emidio, prosecuting, described the careful selection of the murder weapon as damning and unforgettable evidence.
Babiker returned to the flat in Nicolson Steet, Edinburgh, which he shared with Randa, his wife of eight years and smashed her skull.
He tried to claim that his wife had died by accident, saying he had pushed her in the bath, for a joke, and she had slipped and struck her head.
But the trial also heard that blood splashes were found on the bedroom walls and in the hallway of the flat, where Babiker had dragged the body, in spite of his attempts to wash them away.
A jury took less than an hour to find him guilty of the murder on the night of 19-20 October last year.
The trial also heard that Babiker washed blood-stained clothing and bedding and claimed that Randa was ill, asking a relative to look after their children
He took a taxi to Edinburgh Airport but, because he did not have the cash to buy a ticket to Paris, flew to London instead.
At the High Court in Edinburgh today defence QC Herbert Kerrigan said the relationship between Babiker and his wife was a good one, in spite of one previous brief separation.
The lawyer added: "I asked Babiker if there was any special matter to raise before my lady this morning. He maintained that the only point to make was that he is innocent."
Sentencing him, judge Lady Stacey told Babiker: "You have been convicted by a jury of the brutal and pre-meditated murder of your wife, who was the mother of your two young children.
"You have deprived her of her life and you have deprived her children and her family of her society.
Lady Stacey said Babiker's action last October was "inexplicable."