Hitting the snooze button is generally understood to be bad for you — the extra sleep you're getting isn't of a very good quality, and on top of that you have to choose between missing breakfast and missing your bus. If you really can't resist the temptation to take another 20 minutes under the covers on your own, here are some ideas and apps to help you break out of the habit.
1. Get moving
It's a lot more difficult to get back to sleep once you're up and about and talking to the cat about how much work to have to get done today. There are quite a few alarm clock apps out there that won't shut up until you've actually clambered out of bed and walked a few steps: SpinMe Alarm Clock ($2.49 on iOS, free on Android) is worth investigating if you need something like this and so is Step Out Of Bed! ($2.49 on iOS). By the time you've staggered all the way to the door you should be able to escape the clutches of sleep successfully.
2. Talk to a stranger
You have to hand it to Wakie for a novel idea — tapping into the app's community of users so you can have a stranger from somewhere else in the world wake you up at a specified time (and vice versa, if you so wish). It's anonymous and free (because everyone's volunteering), and the calls are automatically cut off after one minute, so the awkward small talk is kept to a minimum. Get up on time, and meet someone new as well, all before breakfast. The app is available for Android, iOS and Windows Phone.
3. Wake up naturally
There are a ton of apps and gizmos to pick from if you want to be woken up with a slow increase in light or sound that's more soothing than a shrill, piercing, robotic ringtone. If you need help choosing, we'd suggest Sleep Cycle (Android, iOS) for giving you a nudge at the right point in your circadian rhythm, Rise ($2.49 on iOS) for waking up to a more relaxing set of sounds, and the Philips HF3500/60 Wake-Up Light or something similar for slowly filling your room with light to ease you into the day.
4. Exercise your brain
Your brain might think it wants another ten minutes in bed, but it doesn't — not really. Make sure your pre-sleep common sense wins out by setting yourself a task to complete before your alarm will switch off: I Can't Wake Up! (free on Android, free with in-app purchases on iOS) lets you set one of eight tasks first thing in the morning, from matching pairs of words to doing maths equations. It may seem like the most annoying app in the world the first few times you use it, but you'll soon be grateful for its help in smoothing out your sleep cycle.
5. Use a wearable
Almost any fitness tracker or smartwatch worth its salt has a vibrate alarm feature, from the Jawbone UP24 to the Fitbit Charge — if you're in the market for a new wearable, make sure it has a smart or silent alarm feature if you're going to find it useful. There are new products coming out all the time, such as the Kickstarter-funded Sense — it monitors the atmosphere in your room as well as your sleep patterns to help you get up and moving at the right time.