5 Genius Things Alarm Clocks Can do in 2024 That'll Convince You to Never Use a Phone for Wake-Ups Again

Some alarm clocks do more than just tell the time and wake you up

a loftie alarm clock
(Image credit: Loftie)

Traditionally, alarm clocks have only had two functions, as advertised dual words in the name: they wake you up and they tell the time.

But it turns out that they have the potential to do so much more than that if you’ll let them. There are alarm clocks aimed at heavy sleepers, those who struggle to sleep and for those who want data-led insights into their night’s rest. You might already know about sunset and sunrise alarms that may help you sleep better, but do you know what else alarm clocks can do these days?

With sleep and wellness experts all suggesting it's not the best idea to go to bed with your phone on your nightstand, is it time to re-invest in an alarm clock? Here are some innovations from the world of alarm clocks that you might convince you it's time for a bedroom upgrade.

1. Lull yourself to sleep with white noise or other calming sounds

Clever alarm clocks

(Image credit: Loftie)

Sometimes, the silence of a quiet bedroom can be deafening, and you just want some background noise to help you drift off. Yes, you can do this with your phone or an Amazon Echo, but some alarm clocks have the feature built-in too. 

Hatch’s Restore 2 and Loftie are two such examples offering white noise (and pink noise, which is actually better for sleep) or nature sounds to help lull you off to a full night’s restful sleep.  

2. A built-in lamp to slowly ease you out of sleep

Clever alarm clocks

(Image credit: Philips)

With traditional alarm clocks, the act of waking up can be extremely jarring. A loud buzzer isn’t anyone’s idea of a nice way to rouse you from your slumber, even if it does get results. 

There’s some evidence to suggest that waking up with the sunrise may improve how you feel upon waking, and as a result, a number of the best wake up lights now seek to emulate the rise and fall of the sun for a more relaxing wake-up call.

The most famous of these is the Philips SmartSleep Wake-up Light, available on Amazon, which will gradually get brighter as your wake-up time approaches. But there are plenty of cheaper alternatives on Amazon if the price is offputting. If you like the idea of sunrise and sleep sounds, then revisit the Hatch Restore 2, as it has both.

3. A clock that will force you out of bed

Clever alarm clocks

(Image credit: Clockie)

On the other end of the spectrum, some people simply don’t trust themselves with an alarm clock that can easily be ignored. That’s where the extremely mischievous CLOCKY, available on Amazon, comes in.

When your wake-up time arrives, CLOCKY will literally run away with the help of its two wheels, forcing you up and out of bed to catch it and switch it off. It may not be pleasant, but it’s pretty much guaranteed to blow away the cobwebs.

If you’re simply a heavy sleeper, you can also get alarms with an attachment that will physically shake the bed, like this one on Amazon, too.

4. Add some sleep-tracking to your nightstand

a google nest with sleep settings on

(Image credit: Google)

If you don’t have a smartwatch or fitness band that tracks your sleep (or you find them too uncomfortable to wear at night), the second-generation Google Nest Hub is a smart screen that can do just that.

It does this with its Soli radar sensor that keeps track of your motion patterns and breathing. It works in conjunction with sound, light and temperatures to establish a holistic analysis of your sleep. And, of course, with a ‘Hey Google’ command, you can set up a wake-up call at the time of your choosing.

Having a screen near your bed may feel counterintuitive for a good night’s sleep — and you may also find the monitoring a touch on the creepy side — but if you want insights without a wearable, this is the way to go.

5. Memory aid for dementia sufferers

Clever alarm clocks

(Image credit: Relish Day)

Dementia is a horrible condition that can make completing even simple tasks without a reminder a daily struggle. 

That’s where the Relish Day Hub dementia clock comes in. It provides personalised alarms throughout the day that the sufferer can physically tick off as they’re achieved, allowing sufferers to maintain a healthy routine. If you need to cover more than one room, it can be paired with a second clock without the tick list, too.

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. He often writes for T3 and Tom's Guide. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.