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When I Wake Up

I’d bet it’s safe to say that a lot of people use their smartphones as their morning alarm these days. I know I do.

I even use my phone to play music from Pandora to fall asleep. “Calm Meditation” is my station. It’s what my boyfriend refers to as my “acid” music. (Whatever. Acid music is relaxing, OK?)


A too-tiny snooze button on an already-small iPhone screen.

Anyhow, back to waking up. I use my iPhone’s basic clock every weekday and on the (cruel and unusual) occasion when I have to wake up early on the weekends. The basic iPhone clock is very easy to use and it’s easy to change the little ditty that plays to wake you up. I prefer a gentle sound rather than a loud bleep. Just about every morning I hit the snooze for that extra 10 minutes of precious sleep, but since I may as well be blind without my glasses or contacts on, sometimes it can be difficult to see the little snooze button on the screen. Good thing it is red! That helps.

Can this experience be made better? Here is a cool idea that I came across that combines the power of your smartphone with a physical, tangible product. Combining the physical world with the digital proves to be powerful and dynamic. Introducing the Tangible Alarm¬†by¬†Victor Johansson. It’s a wooden platform with lots of smarts inside. Leveraging Near Field Communication (NFC) technology makes it very easy to use and way less annoying to set to my precious snooze function.


The Tangible Alarm platform consists of 3 “sections.” The middle section is the neutral position.


The right slot is for snooze.

Sliding your phone to the right section sets your phone to snooze mode. While sliding to the left turns off the alarm completely.


The left slot turns off the alarm.

Now, of course, the one issue with this design is that it will take up a lot of real estate on your nightstand, and while it is slim and minimal, it might not go with your decor if that’s important to you in the least.

Day Maker (credit: Always Good Co.)

Day Maker Alarm Clock set to go off at the appointed time. (Credit: Always Good Co.)

Here is one more phone dock concept that creates a very neat, unique and dare I say fun way to wake up. The Day Maker Alarm Clock by Michael Kritzer. You place your iPhone in the slot and when your alarm goes off it “pops” up just like a piece of toast. To set the snooze you simply press it back down.

Bonus: It also charges your phone throughout the night.


The Day Maker pops up your phone when the alarm goes off. (Credit: Always Good Co.)

The problem that is apparent with this design is that it doesn’t make it easy to manipulate the main interface of my iPhone from outside the dock if, say, you got up in the middle of the night and wanted to turn on some music to fall asleep to. I even wonder if, once I set my phone in the dock, I’d be able to play music, etc. That’s one advantage of the Tangible Alarm.

What’s great about this Day Maker Alarm, though, is the analog clock in the front, an advantage for when you wake up in the middle of the night and are curious as to what time it is or how much more time you have left before the alarm sounds. The good thing about not having to turn on your phone to see the time is that you avoid that sudden glare in the dark room from your phone’s backlit screen.

Now this dock holds two phones, which seems to be handy if you and your partner wake up at different times or if you wanted to, at the very least, charge both phones. The only thing that seems rather clunky with it is that normally each person sleeps on different sides of the bed! This product also seems to only be for iPhones, which leaves out a lot of people in the smartphone market. I do like the idea though!

If you aren’t interested in a product that leverages your smartphone, you can just use your phone the old fashioned way and try some of the following smartphone apps as your morning sidekick to help you wake up. There are apps that can only be turned off by answering a math equation or answering a question. Using brain power gets you going! Then, there are some that are a bit more physical. Need something “stronger” to jolt you into the new day? There are a couple of apps that require you to shake your phone to stop the alarm. There is even one called, SpinMe Alarm Clock, that requires you to stand, place your two thumbs on the screen, and then spin around (I’m dizzy already)! Yeah…I think I’ll pass on that one.

Everyone is different, so the way you choose to wake up is a personal thing. What’s your preferred method to get going in the morning?

(Featured image credit: Agnieszka Pastuszak – Maksim,


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