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.