A couple of months back, I switched from using the most annoying, over the top “beepety beep” alarm clock sound I could find, to using the gradual wake up feature of Alarm Clock Plus. I also created a sunrise mode using Tasker and my Tellstick home automation system, and it turns on the light gradually in the half hour before I wake up. Finally, I created a Tasker system that sets sequential alarms across my two Android devices – to be 100% sure I wake up. You can, after all, never trust a device

All these new features have worked. I still wake up tired sometimes, but I no longer wake up wishing I was dead just so I could lie back down. I’ve woken up from just the sunrise mode light (before the alarm rings) a few times, and I’ve noticed that if I now wake up in the middle of the night – or more than half an hour before the alarm is set to go off – I immediately know it’s not time to get up, just by the lack of full lighting in the room. It  actually took me a few times to realize that I had started making that connection, as waking up to a fully lit room in the morning but waking up to a dark one at night is such a natural thing to do. Being able to control that so nature has no part of it just further tweaks that. Nature, for some reason, doesn’t seem to care when my alarm is set for.

On top of that, my phone now includes a reminder to set the alarm (which varies from day to day, so repeating alarms are useless) when I go to bed the night before week days, it gets temperature data from a sensor right outside the window and includes it in the morning message, and it handles turning off lights and my computer at night – all Tasker creations I’ve talked about in articles before.

Point being, these are all things that improves my sleep experience, which is something that I think a lot of people never think to use their smartphones for. I’ve even seen articles claiming that you should leave the phone in another room, so that you’re not tempted to check email and whatnot when you’re trying to sleep. While there’s something to that, I think the things a smartphone can do for you at night far outweigh that.