What is the alarm app that gradually increases in volume?

What is a Gradually Increasing Alarm App?

A gradually increasing alarm app is a type of alarm clock app designed to wake you up gently and naturally. Unlike a traditional alarm that starts blaring at full volume, a gradually increasing alarm starts very softly and slowly raises the volume over time.

When the alarm goes off, it begins playing at a very low volume, often just barely audible. Over the course of several minutes, the alarm slowly increases in volume until it eventually reaches full volume. This gradual increase in sound allows you to wake up slowly and avoids the jarring feeling of being shocked awake by a blaring alarm.

Gradually increasing alarm apps aim to align the alarm sound with your body’s natural transition out of deep sleep. By starting soft and becoming louder progressively, the alarm is less disruptive to your sleep cycle. The gradual increase helps bring you gently into a light sleep phase and then into wakefulness.

These apps can work with your own music library or nature sounds to provide a pleasant wake up experience. The alarm continues to increase in volume until you turn it off, so it will eventually become loud enough to wake you if needed.

Benefits of Using a Gradually Increasing Alarm

Gradually increasing alarms provide several benefits over traditional sudden alarms that immediately blast at full volume:

They wake you up gently during lighter sleep phases. Traditional alarms often disrupt deep sleep, which can leave you feeling groggy and tired. Gradually increasing alarms start softly and slowly increase in volume to ease you into wakefulness.

They avoid the jarring, stress-inducing effect of a blaring alarm. The gradual increase in volume is less shocking to your system. You wake up in a more calm, relaxed state.

They allow you to wake up more refreshed. Since the alarm syncs with your natural sleep rhythms, it doesn’t cut your sleep short as abruptly. You get your full sleep cycle, leading to higher energy levels.

As noted in this Samsung community discussion, many people find the gradually increasing alarm volume gently wakens them from sleep in a more pleasant way.

Popular Gradually Increasing Alarm Apps

There are several popular apps that offer gradually increasing alarm features for iOS and Android devices:

Sleep Cycle

Sleep Cycle is one of the most popular options. It tracks your sleep cycles and wakes you up during a light sleep stage for a more refreshing wake up. You can set the alarm to start very quietly and gradually increase in volume over 30 minutes. Key features:

  • Analyzes your sleep patterns
  • Wakes you in light sleep phase
  • Customizable gradual alarm increase
  • Snooze by shaking your phone


Alarmy has a unique “mission” feature that makes you get up and scan a barcode or solve math problems to turn off the alarm. It also has gradual volume increase and an alarm rooster sound that starts very quietly. Key features:

  • “Missions” to turn off alarm
  • Gradual volume ramp up
  • Alarm rooster sound
  • Snoozing disables some features

I Can’t Wake Up!

This app makes you complete challenges like shaking your phone a certain number of times before the alarm will turn off. It has customizable gradual volume increase. Key features:

  • Challenges to turn off alarm
  • Shake phone to snooze
  • Gradual or instant volume increase
  • Multiple alarms and schedules

Overall the top options offer similar features for a gradual wake up, but with different methods to prevent going back to sleep. Testing different apps can help find the right balance for your needs.

How to Use a Gradually Increasing Alarm

Using a gradually increasing alarm app is straightforward. The first step is to download the app and set up an account if required. Some popular options include Ascend Alarm, Rise – Alarm Clock, and Sleep Cycle.

Once the app is installed, you can adjust settings like the alarm volume, duration for the volume increase, sounds, and more. For example in Ascend Alarm you can set the duration to rise from silent to full volume over 5, 10, 20, or 30 minutes. Choose the duration that will wake you up gently.

You’ll also want to place your phone appropriately for sleep tracking if that feature is enabled. Some apps utilize motion sensing during the night to track sleep phases. Place the phone on your mattress or pillow to allow access to motion data.

Setting up the alarm only takes a few minutes. Customize the alarm sound, volume increase duration, and other settings as desired. Then place your phone on your bed and go to sleep. The gradual alarm will wake you at the set time with a peaceful rising sound.

Tips for Using Gradually Increasing Alarms Effectively

Gradually increasing alarm apps can be highly effective in providing a gentle wake up experience, but there are some tips to follow to get the most out of them:

Set realistic wake up time: Don’t set your gradually increasing alarm to start too early before you need to get up, or you may end up waking up during an earlier sleep cycle and feeling groggy. Set your alarm for 30-45 minutes before you need to be up.

Adjust volume and duration settings: Experiment to find the perfect volume levels and duration time for the gradual increase in volume to suit your needs. Most apps let you customize this.

Use with sleep cycle tracking for best results: Combining a gradually increasing alarm with a sleep tracker app can help wake you at the optimal time in your sleep cycle so you feel refreshed.

Customizing Your Gradually Increasing Alarm

One of the best features of gradually increasing alarm apps is the ability to customize the alarm to your preferences. Here are some of the key customization options:

Choosing Sounds/Music

Most gradually increasing alarm apps allow you to choose any song or sound from your music library to use as your alarm. This lets you pick a gentle, soothing song or nature sounds that will make waking up more pleasant. Some apps may have built-in alarm tones and sound effects as well. Choose audio that isn’t too jarring.

You can also set a playlist to have different songs play on different days. This adds variety so you don’t get tired of the same alarm every morning (source: https://ios.gadgethacks.com/how-to/use-any-song-your-iphone-as-gradually-increasing-alarm-for-gentle-wakeup-0384247/).

Setting Increasing Volume Curve

Gradually increasing alarm apps allow you to customize how quickly or slowly the volume rises. Some let you set a linear curve with steady, gradual increments. Others may have presets like “gentle”, “medium”, or “intense” to control the rate of increase.

Test different settings to find the volume curve that wakes you up pleasantly without an abrupt spike in volume (source: https://www.alphr.com/change-android-alarm-volume/).

Setting Optimal Duration

You can configure how long the alarm lasts, from 30 seconds up to several minutes. Set a duration long enough for the alarm to gradually rouse you from sleep. However, avoid extremely long alarms that continue well after you’re already awake.

Start with 3-5 minutes and tweak from there to find your optimal gentle wakeup duration. The sound should stop right as you’re feeling awake (source: https://www.reddit.com/r/oneplus/comments/agitai/why_oneplus_what_is_the_point_of_this_feature/).

Troubleshooting Problems

Gradually increasing alarm apps can be extremely useful for waking up gently, but you may encounter issues like the alarm not being loud enough to wake you up. Here are some troubleshooting tips:

If the alarm isn’t loud enough even at max volume, check your phone’s audio settings. Make sure the media volume is turned up high. You can also try connecting your phone to an external speaker to make the alarm louder.

If the gradual increase isn’t working properly, try uninstalling and reinstalling the app. Check that you don’t have any other apps or settings that may be interfering with the alarm volume.

If the alarm still fails to wake you up, try setting multiple back-up alarms 5-10 minutes apart as a failsafe. Put your phone far from your bed so you have to physically get up to turn it off.

Regarding sleep tracking inaccuracies, make sure you place your phone correctly while sleeping per the app’s instructions. Turn off any battery saving settings that may interfere with the app. Compare sleep data across a few nights to get a more accurate average.

You can also reach out to the app developer via email or social media for troubleshooting help and to provide feedback on any issues.

Gradually Increasing Alarms vs Other Alarm Types

Gradually increasing alarm apps provide a gentler wake up experience compared to traditional jarring alarm sounds. Rather than blasting loud noise first thing in the morning, gradually increasing alarms start softly and slowly raise in volume over a set time period, such as 30 minutes.

This allows your body to gradually transition from deep sleep to light sleep before waking up. According to sleep experts, this is a more natural and less jarring way to wake up compared to sudden, loud alarm sounds which can leave you feeling groggy and disoriented.

Other types of gentle wake up devices include wake up lights that simulate sunrise by slowly brightening your room. These can be used in conjunction with gradually increasing alarms for an even more natural waking experience.

However, traditional, loud alarms may be a better choice if you’re a very heavy sleeper and need an abrupt noise to rouse you. Gradually increasing alarms may not be loud enough to wake heavier sleepers.

So in summary:

  • Gradually increasing alarms: Best for light sleepers who want a gentle wake up transition
  • Wake up lights: Also provide a gentle wake up through light; use with gradual alarms
  • Loud, jarring alarms: Better for very heavy sleepers who need a sudden noise to wake up

It comes down to your personal sleep habits and preferences. Try out different options to find the best wake up method for your body and sleep needs.

The Science Behind Gradually Increasing Alarms

Research shows that gradually increasing alarm volumes align better with our natural sleep cycles and waking processes. During deep sleep, our brains tune out external stimuli more. So a sudden loud alarm can jolt you awake in a more shocking, disruptive way.

Studies have found that alarms which start softly and gradually crescendo are more effective at waking people up. One study showed people woke up easier and felt less tired with graduated alarm apps like Sleepbot versus jarring alarms. The gradual increase mimics the natural rise in cortisol and decrease in melatonin that accompanies waking.

Research also indicates that we transition between sleep stages multiple times as an alarm sounds. The gradual increase allows our brains to emerge bit by bit instead of all at once. This results in a gentler, less stressful waking experience compared to loud traditional alarms that don’t align with sleep science.


Gradually increasing alarm apps can be a great option for waking up feeling refreshed and avoiding the jarring sound of a traditional alarm clock. As we’ve discussed, these apps slowly raise the volume of your morning alarm over a set period of time, helping ease you out of sleep more naturally. Key benefits of trying one of these apps include avoiding that sudden shock of waking up, making it easier to get going in the morning, and promoting better sleep habits overall. By starting soft and getting louder over time, the gradual alarm provides a more pleasant wake-up experience.

In summary, gradually increasing alarm apps gently transition you from sleep to wakefulness. By customizing the duration, volume, sounds, and other settings, you can find the perfect alarm to suit your needs. If you struggle with waking up to loud, disruptive alarms, exploring one of the highly-rated gradually increasing alarm apps could be a game changer for your mornings. Give it a try – you may be surprised by how much more refreshed you feel!

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