But can you really trust something like a sunrise alarm clock to make you rise and shine? If you’re not an intensely heavy sleeper, experts say it’s a better alternative. “An alarm clock can be disruptive if you’ve had an unrestful night,” says Frida Rångtel, PhD, sleep educator and science advisor at Sleep Cycle. “However, when you are getting good, sufficient sleep with rather regular sleep times, your body learns when you should start waking up and will eventually require little nudging to wake you up.”
The research around no-sound alarm clocks is extremely scant, but it’s also largely positive. A small study conducted in 2014, published in Behavioral Brain Research, showed that exposure to artificial sunlight helped with alertness and cognitive performance throughout the day. And a recent study investigating the sleep and stress levels of 57 medical students showed that switching to a sunrise alarm clock and detaching from technological devices before bed improved sleep quality, reduced burnout scores and lowered stress levels.
The best no-sound alarm clocks for gentle awakenings
1. FitBit Versa 2, $149
Let’s start here: if you already own a FitBit such as the FitBit Versa 2 (available in many colors but I selected pink ’cause it’s pretty), you have a built-in silent alarm. You’ll have to set up your alarm directly on the watch if it’s a newer model like Versa or Ionic, but if it’s older you might have to do an app. Once the alarm is set, all you have to do is keep your FitBit on as you sleep; it should buzz you awake. Be warned that this might not be the best method for deep sleepers, or for someone who gets a fitness tracker as part of a New Years resolution to “work-out more” and has it collect dust for 11 months. The Apple Watch Series 6 ($349) has similar functionality with a pulsating alarm that feels like gentle tap on the wrist.
Shop now: FitBit Versa 2, $149
This alarm clock does it all! It has a built in sound machine in case you want to get your white noise on while you’re snoozing, and it includes meditations if you need to zen out beforehand. But the defining feature of the Hatch alarm is, if the title didn’t give it away, it’s light. The light will help you rise and shine every morning, and you can customize the color you create the desired ambiance for your room during waking hours.
This looks like a Pokeball, so, just want to address that if being a Pokemon master was ever a part of your childhood dreams. Beyond that, the Lumie Bodyclock is incredible because it actually mimics that natural sunrise and wakes you up with that gorgeous, gradual glow.
If you’re not willing to spend a fortune on a FitBit but love the vibration concept, a Shake-N-Wake alarm might be your best bet. Stick this near your pillow or wear it on your wrist and it’ll rouse you each morning.
Shop now: Silent Vibrating Personal Alarm Clock Shake-N-Wake, $17
5. Scent Diffusing Alarm Clock, $100
Remember that episode of The Office where Michael Scott burns his foot on a George Foreman grill because he wanted to wake up to the smell of fresh bacon in the morning? Yeah, don’t do that. Instead, invest in this aroma-based clock that’ll gradually diffuse a scent for two minutes. Scent cartridges include paradise, banana, peach mint, cappuccino, and—ooh!—bacon. Still a delicious way to wake up (and far less lethal).
Shop now: Scent Diffusing Alarm Clock, $100
Is $3,400 worth of sleep technology worth it? Find out:
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