You probably feel naked without your smartphone by your side, but keeping it on your night stand and using it as an alarm clock could interfere with a good night’s sleep if you’re tempted to check your texts and emails. It also emits something called “blue light” that is so bright that it can trick your mind into thinking that it’s daytime and keep you up late at night. A better bet might be making your bedroom a cell-phone-free zone, and instead getting an alarm clock that will ease you into a good morning. Here are some tips for choosing the best alarm clock for you.
1. Don’t Be Wooed By Design
It’s better to choose an alarm clock based on its functionality, rather than on how cool it looks. You will probably be a touch groggy when your alarm rouses you out of sleep, so go for a product that is easy to use (think: no hard-to-find “off” buttons).
2. Don’t Go Too Bright
You don’t want an alarm that gives off bright “blue light” that might stimulate you and make you restless at night. Most electronics—alarm clocks, smart phones, and computer screens—give off sleep-disrupting blue light, so try going for an alarm clock that says it has an amber, orange, or red light. This type of warmer light makes for a more restful sleep.
3. Consider Different Sounds
Alarm clocks generally work by waking you with sound, and these days, you have more sonic options than ever before. Go for the one that best suits your personality. Do you prefer to wake up to NPR on the radio or your favorite playlist? Do you find nature sounds to be a better way to lure you out of sweet sleep? Maybe you’d appreciate an alarm clock with a growing volume that starts out low and gets louder over time, so you can wake up more gently. Then again, if you’re a deep sleeper, a loud, honking beep may be the only way you’ll enter consciousness!
4. Think About Extra Features
Truly deep sleepers may need an alarm clock that also vibrates, because bed-shaking might be a more reliable wake-up call. If your room is very dark and you’d like to gently ease into your morning, consider getting an alarm clock that doubles as a light: Around wake up time, it turns on dim and slowly gets brighter as it gets closer to when you’re supposed to get up so you can’t ignore it. If you and your partner must get up at different times, consider getting one product that offers dual alarms, so you can set it for multiple wake-up times (bonus: It also works as a backup alarm).
Please note that the National Sleep Foundation does not endorse specific products.