12 Alarm Clocks For Every Kind of Morning Issue—and Every Price Point

published Oct 16, 2020
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Credit: Lauren Kolyn

When it comes to setting up a morning routine, there’s a lot to consider beyond making sure you don’t oversleep. And unless you naturally rise with the sun (please teach me your ways), you probably rely on an alarm or two to tell you when to wake up. Alarm clocks have certainly come a long way from the classic round clock with two bells at the top; today, there’s an endless array of clocks, apps, and other options to choose from, meaning you’re guaranteed to find something that fits both your aesthetic and your specific sleep needs. 

In an ideal world, you’d wake up according to your internal clock. But you’d probably have a hard time explaining to your boss that your circadian rhythm is the reason you’re late. Even with an alarm, getting up in the morning can be a challenge. Pallavi Visvanathan, PhD, a licensed clinical psychologist in New York City specializing in anxiety, mood disorders, and insomnia, told Apartment Therapy that many adults in the U.S. get less sleep than they need, which can make it challenging to get up the next day. “Consistently getting between 7 to 9 hours of sleep should lead to waking up more easily,” she added.

According to Dr. Visvanathan, going to bed and waking up around the same time each day (yes, even on Saturdays and Sundays) can help with your circadian rhythm. To help get your routine in order, take a look at some of the best alarm clocks on the market — from devices that mimic a natural sunrise to a clock that literally makes you get out of bed if you press snooze.

If you prefer to be woken up gently:

Light-based alarm clocks are growing in popularity, and can be preferable to sound as they tap into our natural circadian rhythm. “As daylight ebbs in the evening, this triggers the release of melatonin in our bodies that signal the body that it is time to sleep,” Visvanathan explained, noting that artificial light—like the kind from your phone—can interfere with your ability to fall asleep easily. “Similarly, as night turns to day, the increasing sunlight sends signals to the brain to move into alertness.” 

Hatch Restore offers a sunrise alarm that mimics a natural dawn, transitioning from red to orange to white—and if you’re still not awake by the time it completes the light cycle, it switches to your pre-chosen sounds. It also features a customizable bedtime routine with various lights and sounds to help you wind down at the end of the day. (Psst, there’s also a version for babies and kids.)

If you want an alarm clock that will also help you fall asleep:

With a sunset to help you wind down at night and a sunrise to gently rouse you the next day, the Philips SmartSleep is a great choice for anyone who wants to tap into their natural body clock. This alarm clock also features a guided breathing setting, which can help you relax after a long day and prepare you for bed. Meditation and mindful breathing can be beneficial any time, and studies have shown that adding them to your routine can result in better sleep.

If you need to get up early but don’t want to wake your partner:

This portable alarm clock from Shake-n-Wake offers a vibrating sensation designed to rouse heavy sleepers without disturbing others, and also can be effective for folks with hearing loss. You can slip the alarm right under your pillow, or use the accompanying wrist strap to wear it like a watch while sleeping.

If you need to be vigorously shaken in the morning:

If you struggle with getting out of bed in the morning, or experience hearing loss, Sonic Alert’s line of alarm clocks offer a selection of extra-loud sounds to ensure that you’re awake on time. Need an additional boost? The accompanying bed shaker can be placed between your mattress and box spring for a vibration sure to awaken the deepest of sleepers. 

If you want to DIY your own sunrise:

While also functioning as a nightlight, this LED-based alarm offers a gradual sunrise wakeup that can be customized from 15 to 90 minutes long, and the final light intensity is completely up to you. Like other light alarms, the Lumie Bodyclock Shine 300 offers several sound options for those days when you need an extra kick—but Visvanathan pointed out that light has a more notable impact. “Even when using a sound alarm, it can be useful to throw open the windows or go outside as a way to boost alertness,” she says. “Although sound alarms do wake us up, they don’t have the comprehensive effect on our brains and bodies that light does.”

If you dreamed of flying cars and house-cleaning robots as a kid:

The Amazon Echo Dot does a whole lot more than just wake you up. Like other smart home systems, you can command Echo Dot’s Alexa to do pretty much anything: Turn off lights, lock doors, play music, and even adjust the thermostat to ensure that the temperature is just right for bedtime—which Visvanathan notes is another important factor in one’s ability to fall asleep.

If you’re into the “old fashioned” alarm clock vibe:

For a classic alarm, look no further than the Peakeep Twinbell Alarm Clock, which has earned over 5,400 reviews on Amazon. Its loud volume is helpful for heavy sleepers, and the classic black frame makes a perfect addition for any chic, minimalist bedroom. Feeling like switching it up? It’s also available in a variety of colors, including lime green and bubblegum pink.

If you need to be literally forced to get out of bed:

Ever wish your alarm would just make you get out of bed? Meet Clocky, the alarm clock that literally jumps off your nightstand and runs away if you hit the snooze button, meaning you have to get out of bed to catch it. It sounds silly, but Visvanathan said that being forced to get out of bed to turn off your alarm clock is a great way to battle the snooze temptation, adding that “the movement may increase your alertness and help you transition into wakefulness.”

But if the idea of running around your room first thing in the morning isn’t your jam:

It’s a rug, it’s a mat, it’s an… alarm? This is definitely not your traditional clock; instead of chilling on your nightstand, Ruggie stays on the floor—as close or as far from your bed as you’d like. In order to turn it off in the morning, you’ll need to get out of bed and stand on it. You can also sync it with custom music or affirmations, allowing you to start the day alert and feeling good.

If your nightstand needs a good spring cleaning:

This multi-tasking Wakey alarm clock from Anker does a lot more than just wake you up: it serves as a speaker, charger, and sound machine, meaning that you don’t need a ton of devices on your nightstand at once. Bye-bye, clutter! You can set up to 15 different alarms at once, with a choice of 10 different sounds, and you can also create a customized soothing routine to help you fall asleep at night.

Credit: Alarmy
Alarmy app

If you need a motivator to get out of bed:

Alarmy has been dubbed the “world’s most annoying alarm clock”—but it wears the label as a badge of honor. In addition to standard wake-up sounds, you can also select a wake-up memory game, math problem, or photo mission guaranteed to get you feeling alert and energized. Who doesn’t want to do math first thing in the morning?

Get: Alarmy, FREE, for iOS and Android.

Credit: Sleep Cycle
Sleep Cycle App

If you want to wake up on the right side of the bed: 

The Sleep Cycle app tracks your sleep patterns throughout the night (and even creates a handy chart to differentiate between light and deep sleep). Using your desired alarm time as an end point, the app notes when you enter your lightest phase of sleep in order to wake you as gently—and happily—as possible. No more grumpy mornings!

Get: Sleep Cycle, FREE, for iOS and Android.