What's a good gentle-noise alarm clock?

iPhones have the Bedtime function found on the clock app. You set your bedtime and your wake time and select the wake-up sound you want. Mine is Sunny. It starts out soft and gets louder but not annoying. Once you have the times set (you can set it for whichever days you want) and the function turned on you never have to mess with it again. When you stop the alarm in the morning you don’t have to remember to set it again. It’s always set unless you choose to turn it totally off.

When I go to bed I just turn my ringer off. If an important call should happen to come in, it will vibrate and I will hear it. So the only thing I have to remember is to turn my ringer back on in the morning. If I forget, I’ll hear it vibrate at some point during the day.

I assume this is the unhelped question. Do you not have old phones around? If so, you could install a good alarm app and put it into airplane mode without a SIM, plug it into a USB cable, and leave it as a permanent fixture in your bedroom. If you don’t have a spare old phone, ask around–you might well find someone with one they would be eager to part with. No go with that? Here’s a burner for 25 bucks with no plan purcase required–you could run that SIMless in airplane mode.

Before that, I’ll re-mention what I brought up earlier. They make lights/lamps that, at a time specified by the user, they turn on. They start out dim and get brighter over the course of 20 minutes or so. They’re designed specifically for what the OP is looking for.

Another option would be to get standard alarm clock, but put it in a drawer, under some clothes, or under a pillow or in some other place where it would be muffled. It won’t be loud enough to startle you, but after a few minutes it’ll certainly be something that you can’t ignore.
In fact, I often do that with my cell phone. If I snooze it, I put it under my pillow. Granted, I do that so I don’t have to fumble with it on my night stand while I’m half asleep, but it does create a much gentler alarm, even when it’s 3 inches from my face.

Along the lines of muffling it. If the OP is in a situation where he won’t be bothering anyone, just putting his phone, or alarm clock, outside his room (another bedroom, hallway with bedroom door closed etc) will probably also accomplish the same thing and has the added benefit of forcing the user to get up and out of bed to turn it off.

FWIW, my therapist agrees with me that keeping phones out of the bedroom is a good idea on general principles.

I don’t see how fake-sun alarms will help given that the real-sun doesn’t. Is there something about sunrise alarm clocks that makes them better than actual sunrise? (I used to use a sunrise clock as a kid; I don’t seem to remember the light helping any, but it’s been a long time and maybe I’m not remembering correctly).

I have a Sony clock radio at home, and it seems to have the feature the OP wants. I’m not totally sure, though, because I usually wake up well in advance of the alarm. Anyhow, the listing for the Sony ICFC-1 clock radio at Amazon mentions a “gradual wake alarm” feature, which may be what mine has. And it’s only eighteen bucks.

(As to why I don’t use a smartphone for an alarm clock, I want to be able to roll over in bed at night and be able to just glance at the time.)

Not everyone has the sun rising right in their window, especially if they use blinds.

Where I grew up, I had such a clear view of the sun in the morning that even with mini blinds, it was still really bright in there in the morning. I didn’t wake me up, but once I woke up, I couldn’t fall back asleep.

A phone in airplane mode with Wi-Fi turned off is just a small, very versatile tablet computer. I use an old one as a white noise machine. But by all means, continue to hobble your options.

I too had the Philips dawn light - this older model to be specific. In addition to the light, it starts off with a gentle sound of birds chirping, which got louder and louder.

(I stopped using them because I usually need to wake up before my wife. I use a vibration alarm on my smartwatch.)

Not everyone has the self discipline to have a phone by the bedside and not use it to browse the web after getting into bed, or in the morning before getting out of bed.

Good thing I’m not saying use your primary phone in this thread, then. As I said, an old phone. No SIM. Don’t even give it a Wi-Fi password if you don’t want to tempt yourself.

Is the idea of repurposing old electronics really such a difficult concept?

It is if you can’t control your self well enough. You can put it in airplane mode, not give it a wifi password, pull the sim card, block it at the router etc, but 30 seconds worth of work and you’re back online.
It’s like telling an alcoholic that finally kicked the habit that it’s okay if the keep booze in the house as long as they only use it for cooking.
Yes, a cell phone would clearly be the best for this problem, but for personal reasons the OP specified that he needs a device other than a cell phone.

And the “personal reason” she specified is this:

Which is solved by having two separate devices.

I have one of those sunrise alarms. This time of year, when the sun starts to rise before I do, no the light probably doesn’t do much. But it really does help during the part of the rear when the sun comes up later and I have to be up when it’s still dark out.

And more to the OP’s question, mine has the option of waking up to bird songs, as well as a radio. I use the radio tuned to NPR as my alarm. The voices of NPR reporters are’t all that jarring, and the the radio alarm gradually fades in rather than coming on at normal volume all at once. And if I don’t feel like getting up immediately I can lie there and listen to Morning Edition for a while.

Wait—I thought that was where the sun *doesn’t *shine.

Others have mentioned alarms on smart warches. I thi k the best feature they have is the bibrate alarm. I dont use sound at all anymore, which is great because I dont disturb my wife when I wake up. A vibrating watch is like someone gently shaking you to wake up.

My dad had a ringtone like that for a while. It makes for a real PITA when you can’t find your phone. It rings, you start looking for it and regardless of where you look it sounds like you’re getting closer.

So what. But by all means, continue to hobble your options .Who are you to say that her personal reason isn’t good enough or correct enough and make (IMO insulting) comments like "Is the idea of repurposing old electronics really such a difficult concept? " and “But by all means, continue to hobble your options”.

Thanks for this post, aceplace57. I use Caynax Alarm Pro, but this setup is very nice and I may look into switching for my daily wake-up. (Caynax is too good and too flexible to abandon entirely, though.)

I C&P’d incorrectly, that last post of mine should have read:

I used one like that in a hotel once and loved it. I went to Amazon and looked up “progressive alarm clock”.
They have several options.

That one was aimed at scr4, who clearly had not understood my suggestion of having a second old phone, not the primary one. And yes, refusing to reuse an old piece of electronics that has a deep catalog of software for doing exactly what the OP wants because one other option for it is communications is just an eye-rollingly pointless silly shooting yourself in the foot.