Mobile

5 clever alarm apps to help you start the day right

If your standard phone alarm app isn't working, it might be time to bring in the big guns.

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Waking up with an alarm is the worst -- but you gotta do what you gotta do. If you're becoming immune to your phone's standard alarm clock app, it might be time to try something new to help you get out of bed in the morning. Like an app that analyzes your sleep patterns and wakes you up gently ... or an app that forces you to get out of bed under threat of public Facebook humiliation.

Here are five alarm clock apps to check out -- because everyone occasionally has a tough time getting out of bed.

Sleep Cycle alarm clock

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

Sleep Cycle alarm clock (Android and iOS) should be your go-to non-traditional alarm clock. This app is two things in one -- a sleep-tracker and an intelligent alarm that analyzes your sleep patterns and attempts to wake you up during your lightest sleep phase. For best results, you'll need to place your phone on or near your mattress, as Sleep Cycle alarm clock uses your phone's accelerometer and/or microphone to track your sleep phases. The app also works best if you give it a window of time (up to 90 minutes) for wake-up, though you can also use it to schedule regular (specific time) alarms.

Barcode Alarm

If you're the kind of person who sets a series of alarms in the morning -- one real alarm and 16 backup alarms -- and then sleeps through all of them, Barcode Alarm (Android and iOS) is the app for you. This alarm app lets you set a series of alarms that can be turned off by scanning different barcodes, like the barcode on your Keurig cups (while you make coffee), your cereal box (while you eat breakfast) and your toothpaste (while you brush your teeth). The only issue with this app is that it does allow for a Plan B: You can type in a preset code to turn off the alarms, so you'll still need some willpower to get through your morning.

SpeakToSnooze

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

There's nothing more frustrating than fumbling for your phone in the morning to turn off your alarm. SpeakToSnooze (iOS, but you can also try Voice Snooze Alarm for Android) is a voice-controlled alarm clock. This app lets you snooze or turn off your alarm with a simple voice command ("Snooze alarm" or "Alarm off"), but it also has some extra handy features. You can set alarms using your voice, ask the app what time it is and even say "I have to get up by [time]" to make the app set a no-snooze alarm that you won't be able to turn off quite so easily.

UHP

Do you care if your social networks know you're sleeping in? If so, UHP might be your alarm app. UHP (iOS) is a $2 (£1.50, AU$3), app that forces you to get out of bed with its path-tracking feature. The app asks you to track where you first go when you get out of bed in the morning, and your alarm won't turn off until you make that trek in the morning. UHP also has a "social media alarm," which posts statuses to Facebook or Twitter if you don'tget up. I suppose this kind of "social pressure" is most effective if you happen to be Facebook friends with your boss or coworkers...

Alarm Clock for Heavy Sleepers

Sarah Jacobsson Purewal/CNET

If you're basically dead to the world in the morning, Alarm Clock for Heavy Sleepers (Android) is a free app that uses every tool in its arsenal to wake you up. The app features a variety of tricks to get you up, including math puzzles you'll need to solve, CAPTCHAs you'll need to type in and barcodes you'll need to scan. The app also lets you set quieter "pre-alarms" that will go off before your real alarm in an effort to wake you up more effectively. The alarms themselves are also customizable -- you can set recurring alarms, alarms that will only go off when you're in certain locations and countdown alarms that will let you sleep for a certain amount of time.