Log in to the App Store and search for an alternative to Apple’s built-in Clock application and you’ll be inundated by a variety of clock, alarm clock, sleep-aid, and white noise apps. Arawella Corporation’s Smart Alarm Clock won’t necessarily be the highest recommended app among its competitors, the convenient mix of alarm clock, sleep monitor, and sleep aid can meet some specific needs of many iPhone and iPad users.

The Smart Alarm Clock application has four main pages: Alarm, Music, Settings, and Statistics. The Alarm page allows you to select which ‘mode’ you’d like to run the application in. ‘Full mode’ monitors your sleep, creates an audio recording of any disturbances in the night, and wakes you up at “the right time to avoid under- or oversleeping.” ‘Sleep cycles set alarm mode’ monitors and records your sleep and wakes you up at the exact time you set your alarm to. ‘Sleep cycles alarm mode’ monitors your sleep cycles and wakes you up at the right time so that you don’t wake in the middle of a cycle but at the end of one.

The Music page allows you to set the tunes that will help you fall asleep and wake up. On this page you can set tracks to ‘Chill-out’ and ‘Wake-up’ to. Tracks like ‘Cicadas’ and ‘Ocean Waves’ lull you to sleep, while tracks like ‘New Day’ and ‘Spring Melody’ get you going in the morning. Volume and duration for both night and morning tracks can be adjusted to fit your needs.


In Settings, you can set the sensitivity of the sleep monitor, clear old sleep statistics, and even set the application to automatically post your sleep information to Facebook. Not exactly sure why you would want to do that, but there it is if you want it.

In Statistics, you can read up on your sleep cycles for each night and compare them. This seems especially useful for users who suffer from insomnia and are trying to regulate their sleep. Still, this application probably can’t replace a sleep professional if you have more serious issues with getting your shut-eye.

Probably the best thing about Smart Alarm Clock app is the wide variety of music to fall asleep and wake up to. The built-in audio is varied and pleasant. ‘Rain in the Backyard’ takes me right to Lullaby Mountain most nights. On top of the 20 built-in tracks, you can download even more music, like the most recent ‘Christmas songs’ pack that will either get you in the holiday spirit or slowly drive you insane, depending on your affinity for the holidays. The ability to add your own tracks is a welcome addition if you get bored of the ones the developers have included.

My one concern with the application is the way it monitors sleep. The device must be placed face down on the bed to feel your movements as you sleep. After calibrating its sensitivity, simply sleep with your device and it will record any disturbances and monitor your cycles. For those of us to whom the cost of an Apple device counts as a serious investment, this seems risky, particularly for users who may thrash in their sleep. If the device worked from the nightstand, that would be one thing, but sleeping with a several-hundred-dollar device made of glass and aluminium may give some users pause.

Smart Alarm Clock: Christmas Songs requires iOS 4.3 or later. This app costs £0.69.

Steve August writes iPhone app reviews and features for AlphaDigits.