Every morning our smartphones double as our best alarm clocks. But let’s be honest, it’s never an easy feat getting out of bed in the morning. If you’re like us and tend to slam the snooze button a few too many times before waking up, then you need a better alarm clock app.
Fortunately, there are a bunch of apps on the market that beat the stock functionality found in iOS and Android. Below, we’ve listed a few of our favorites to help you wake up on time.
Sleep as Android
Why download a sleep tracking app and an alarm clock app when you can have one app that does both? Sleep as Android not only works as a sleep tracker and versatile alarm clock, it also integrates with Spotify and Play Music, so you can awaken to your favorite tracks, plus it works with Google Fit and Samsung Health, and supports Pebble, Wear OS, Garmin Connect IQ, Mi Band, and Tizen-based Samsung wearables — so your alarms and stats will be available to you wherever you are.
Don’t fancy waking up to music? Sleep as Android has a wide range of nature alarms to gently wake you up, as well as a choice of sounds like waves or rain — or even whale sounds, if that’s your thing — to help you fall asleep. You’ll never sleep in thanks to the range of challenges the app offers, from shaking your phone to math problems. It’s free, with in-app purchases available, and there’s a Premium version that removes ads.
Progressive Alarm Clock ($1)
There are plenty of alarm clock apps designed to wake heavy sleepers, but what about us more sensitive types? If you’re the kind of person who’s a light sleeper and wakes at the slightest sound, the last thing you want is to be terrified from sleep by a deafening alarm.
Progressive Alarm Clock eases you gently into the morning, so you wake up feeling calm and happy, not stressed and on edge. It may not be the prettiest app out there, but it’s simple to use and does what it sets out to do — wake you up gently and gradually, using the sounds of a Tibetan singing bowl. While this may sound a little strange, we promise you it’s a fantastic way to start the day if you’re a light sleeper, and a lot less jarring than most alarm ringtones. The sounds gradually get louder, and you can choose between five pre-defined patterns, and six different types of bells, from bright to deep and soothing.
Sadly, it’s only available on iOS right now, so light-sleeping Android users will have to look elsewhere.
What do you get when you take the cutest characters and an alarm clock app and combine the two? AlarmMon! Available for iOS and Android, this adorable app features animated characters like Cheese, the hamster who wants to be a lion; Pico, the chicken who wants to fly; and Bready, bread who looks good in a hat. Now, on to the serious bit: Waking up. The app features mini-games to get you up and at ’em every morning, and you’ll need to complete the game to stop the alarm ringtone. You can choose between a range of ringtones and character sounds or listen to the day’s weather forecast or news to wake you up.
When you first log in to the app, a handy survey lets you choose the best character and alarm for you, based on your sleep type — light, moderate, or heavy — as well as whether you’re more into mental or physical activities. You can download dozens of free and paid games and characters in the AlarmMon store, so it’s pretty hard to get bored as you’ll rarely wake up to the same sound or game twice, unless you want to.
Sometimes the best app is the app you already have. The latest versions of iOS come with a handy little alarm clock and sleep tracker rolled into one — Bedtime. You’ll find the Bedtime tab within the standard iOS clock app, and the first time you boot into it, it will ask you when you want to wake up and how much sleep you generally need. It will then calculate when your ideal bedtime is and alert you when it’s coming up. You can change your wake time with the clock interface, and it will automatically update your bedtime to compensate.
You can choose specific days for your Bedtime alarm, but you can’t choose different alarms for different days — a feature you’ll usually find in more advanced alarm apps. However, it can automatically enable Do Not Disturb, and it will track your sleep time and send it to the Health app automatically, too. If you’re after a simple alarm clock that will help you get to bed on time and track your sleep data, Bedtime is worth a shot. It’s only available on iOS though, so people with Android phones should look elsewhere.
Apple has Bedtime, and Android has Google Clock. Not to be outdone, Google’s Clock app also comes with its own alarm functions, as you might expect, but it also comes with some other features you might be surprised to see in a standard operating system clock app. You can set alarms for a series of days — one alarm time for the weekday and one for the weekend, for instance — making it easy to manage your life. But what you might not have expected is Spotify integration, so you can wake up with your favorite track, album, or playlist of the moment. If you have a Google Pixel 3 phone and a Pixel Stand wireless charger, then you’ll also be able to use the Sunrise Alarm to emulate the gentle waking rays of dawn. You can even pair it with your Wear OS devices, for timers and alarms on-the-go.
There’s no built-in sleep tracking, and it won’t use a smart alarm to make sure you’re getting enough sleep, so it’s not an imitation of Apple’s Bedtime app. It does have a neat integration with Google Assistant Routines — you can have your alarm trigger other smart products in your house that are connected to your Google Home ecosystem. You can set a morning routine to turn on the lights, start the coffee machine, and adjust the thermostat, and this will be triggered as soon as you dismiss an alarm.
If you’re looking for an app that both tracks your sleep and wakes you up in the morning, Sleep Cycle may be the perfect alarm for you. Sleep Cycle uses your phone’s microphone and accelerometer to track your sleep patterns and uses this data in conjunction with your alarm to gently wake you up in the morning. While awareness of your sleep patterns can help you wake up refreshed in the morning, don’t obsess over it if you oversleep or wake up too early, researchers believe that people who use sleep trackers sometimes have less restful sleep because they worry too much about their sleep patterns.
Sleep Cycle can be a little persnickety, and you will need to test placing it in different areas to get the best results. Sleep Cycle does seem to work a little better for solo sleepers because pets and partners can confuse the app. Features like sleep statistics are free for the first seven days, but to keep using them you’ll need to subscribe to Premium, which costs $40 a year and also gives you access to features like Philips HUE Light Bulb support, to simulate a natural sunrise as you wake, and wake-up mood, which tracks how your sleep patterns affect your morning mood. If you like Sleep Cycle, there are many more advanced sleep trackers that you can check out.
Alarmy has the honor of being voted “world’s most annoying alarm” by users and publications around the world. If you’re the type of person who can wake up only to turn off the alarm and immediately fall back asleep, Alarmy may be the perfect alarm clock app for you. Alarmy requires you to complete a certain task to turn off your morning alarm. You can choose from shaking your phone or solving a math problem. If you really need a jolt out of bed, Alarmy also has a mode that requires you to take a picture of a certain room in your house to disable the alarm.
Alarmy is free to use, but you can subscribe to Premium for $5 per month to remove ads and enjoy additional tasks, like Step, which requires you to take a certain number of steps to deactivate the alarm, or Typing, which asks you to type several motivational quotations into your phone for a positive start to the day.
While you’ll find that Alarm Clock Xtreme offers many of the same features as other alarm clock apps, it’s one of the few apps that manages to do them all really well. Alarm Clock Xtreme has options to gently wake you up with an alarm that becomes increasingly louder. The app also has a math problem feature for those who need a little brain teaser to get out of bed.
The snooze features on Alarm Clock Xtreme, however, are its biggest strengths. Alarm Clock Xtreme offers a choice of snooze methods, including an extra large snooze button, pressing the side buttons, or shaking the device. If you do choose to snooze, however, you can set the app up to decrease the duration of time between snooze taps, so you will be awakened up more frequently. You can choose to be awakened by ringtones, music stored on your device, or even online radio, and the app can show you events from your calendar and the weather forecast for the day, too.
It’s a shame that FreakyAlarm is only available for iPhone because it offers so many awesome features. FreakyAlarm has a relentless notification system with a large catalog of annoying, yet effective alarms. There is also an option that requires you to solve a puzzle to turn off your alarm. And for the truly hard to wake up, you can turn on a FreakyAlarm that will require you to scan the barcodes of certain products if you want to disable the alarm.
Tech specialist. Social media guru. Evil problem solver. Total writer. Web enthusiast. Internet nerd. Passionate gamer. Twitter buff.