Gentle Alarm

So, I've got to be up pretty early every week day of the week. Some of you might find yourselves in the same predicament. Maybe you've got to commute to school. Maybe you need to get everyone's lunches made before you head off to work. Whatever the reason, feeling refreshed when I wake up is a huge deal to me, because I don't stumble around for the next half hour as I wait to finally, truly wake up.

Gentle Alarm tries to remedy that issue by starting to play an alarm 30 minutes before your normal alarm goes off. The idea is that if you're not in a deep REM cycle, the softer sounding "pre-alarm" will wake you up before your normally scheduled alarm and you'll feel much better because you're not being yanked and startled from the snuggly confines of REM sleep.

Gentle Alarm has a couple of presets, like nap, workday, or silent. Depending on which one you choose, the lead-in time for the softer alarm will be different. You can also enable "safe alarm" on any alarm, which plays a loud alarm at the actual time your alarm is supposed to go off, so you don't accidentally sleep through everything.

On the presets page you can change initial lead-in volumes as well as tweak other sound settings. You can change alarm sounds based off of music you have on your SD card or the app can download a small sound package for you that'll open up your options even more. You're also able to adjust things like screen brightness when the alarm starts going off.

Having used Gentle Alarm for a few nights, I can say it works. Maybe I'm a light sleeper normally or maybe it's really gently nudging me to a full state of being awake when I'm not REM sleeping. Maybe I just always have to use the bathroom around the time my alarm goes off. I can't ever be certain, but I can say that I'm awake as the soft alarm is going off.

If you're part of the early riser crowd like myself, it might behoove you to give Gentle Alarm a try. It goes for $2.83 in the Android Market, but there is also a free trial version available, too.

We've got more pictures and download links after the break.


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Reader comments

Android App Review: Gentle Alarm


This is the only alarm that works for me. I'm a very heavy sleeper and used to have several alarms set to go off. There is also a function where you have to solve a puzzle in order for the alarm to shut off. Definitely recommended.

I absolutely LOVE this app!!! (of course, my wife hates it because it wakes her up early).

I would not use another alarm app!

I personally use Alarm Clock Extreme. It does a lead in to a certain volume and you can set it to ask you math questions before you can dismiss the alarm so you will definitely wake up. I've been using it for the past few months and I love it!

I've read about this app before at Phandroid, when I pick up my Bionic I'm planning on trying this out, see if it'll help me sleep any better.

If you need help getting to sleep, check out Pzizz. But Gentle alarm is great for waking up. I use it every day.

I'm a super heavy sleeper, and have been using this alarm since it landed on Amazon's "free app of the day" list. I figured, what the heck, the soft alarm won't wake me up any better than the super loud desk clock that barely gets noticed. Well, next morning, I find myself waking up nice and refreshed to a gentle buzzing on my nightstand. I reach over and see it's in pre-alarm mode. Fluke?? Next morning, same thing, just about the same exact time. So I set the regular alarm to that time. It woke me up without a problem. Turns out, that for the past 4 years, I've had my regular alarm set to a time that I'm in REM sleep mode. Now I get up 15 minutes earlier, and feel GREAT about it. If I knew it would work this well, I would have been willing to pay well over the $3 it normally is!

If your in rem sleep when your alarm goes off you need to go to sleep earlier. I already have fail proof alarm. She just turned 1!

I've been using it for a while now. I don't mess with the pre-alarm or math questions, but the gentle fade in and safe alarm feature are great. Never failed me once.

I've tried several different alarms and thought I'd give this a go when it was on Amazon. It's definitely my favorite alarm app. I went so far as to buy it on the Market to get the newest version (Amazon seems to get updates later than the Market on a number of apps and I didn't want to wait for something as important as my alarm).

I always seems to wake up on the pre-alarm too. I don't know if I'm just a light sleeper or that's the right time for me, but I'm not groggy after, so maybe it's working.

Works good for me too. I find that about half the time I wake to the pre-alarm, and feel good, and the other half I sleep right through to the main alarm. I also like how you can program different times and settings based on what day it is.

I use gentle alarm as well, but not because of it's alarm features. The stock dock/clock app for the Droid Charge has very few options for brightness and color settings. I prefer as dark a room as possible and Gentle Alarm allows me to adjust the clock text color, saturation, and brightness that it adds very little light to the room.

Steve in CT

Yeap, I came to post the exact same thing lol...
This app has the best options for screen brightness....
I set my screen to low brightness, with a maroon color text on black background and it's juuuuust perfect.

I think you got your sleep cycles mixed up Josh. REM is the lightest sleep and takes the place of Stage 1 sleep at the completion of the first sleep cycle. The deepest sleep happens in Stage 4. This is the stage where sleep walking, night terrors, and sleep apnea occur. Stage 4 is the stage you don't want to be waking up from. During REM you are closest to consciousness, thus making it the ideal time to wake up. The sleep cycle starts at Stage 1 and goes down to 4 then back up but replacing Stage 1 with REM. REM doesn't occur during Stages 2-4. I know this is all really irrelevant but whatever. The best solution is to try to sleep in intervals that are multiple of 90 min (i.e. 6 hours, 7.5 hrs, etc.) so that you wake up during a REM cycle.

I have been using this app for over a year and absolutely love it! You can really customize the app exactly to your liking, and the pre-alarm feature is my favorite! To everyone out there... this app is worth every penny!