Waking up is a chore. You’d give anything to stay wrapped up in your warm blankets, but alas — work or family beckons, and you’ll have to leave the warmth and comfort of your bed. To cope with that, we’ve assembled a few apps to help make those mornings better.
As daylight breaks, make sure you’re waking up feeling relaxed and refreshed with Sleep Cycle. This app finds the best time to wake you up during the lightest sleep phase in a 30 minute window from when you set your alarm to go off. It doesn’t require any additional equipment except for your phone, which you can place near the bed or on the floor.
While Sleep Cycle can set your alarm and wake you up, you could still have a hard time getting out of bed. Microsoft’s recently launched Mimicker Alarm app helps by throwing a task at you to complete to dismiss your alarm. Complete tongue twisters, snap a picture of yourself making a specific expression, or capture a certain color, these tasks are meant to get your brain started, so you won’t feel drowsy again. If you want an iOS alternative, try Mathe Alarm, which cruelly makes you solve equations to dismiss the alarm. For those days that you desperately need to get somewhere on time — this could be a lifesaver.
You’ll check your phone as soon as you wake up, and among other notifications, it’s likely you’ll search for weather and traffic updates. With Poncho, you won’t have to search — it’ll come straight to you. If you have an iOS device, you can use the Poncho app to receive weather- and traffic-related notifications in a fun and playful manner. If you’re on Android, Windows Phone, or anything else — you can sign up to receive these notifications via text or email, just add the time you typically wake up. It’s tailored to transportation systems throughout the United States, so if you’re in New York, along with your weather update you can get notified if there are any slowdowns on the A train, or whatever it is you take to get to work.
If you have a little time before heading out to work, try the high-intensity 7-minute workout — which can go a long way to improving your health. This visually-pleasing Android-only app supports Google Fit, and even offers ab-workout. Apart from that it’s fairly straightforward — do exercises like squatting and jumping jacks in 7 minutes and you’re good to go — just don’t forget to hit the shower after.
Another good iOS (and Android) alternative is Johnson & Johnson’s variant of the 7 minute workout challenge. The app is more than enough to start your day healthy, albeit sweaty. This app has a lot more features that extend the 7 minute workout, like a 9 minute workout, as well as varying levels of difficulty. It has Apple Watch support, so you won’t have to keep glancing at your phone for updates.
See what’s on the agenda for the day with Timepage. This gorgeous app by Moleskine presents your events in an endless timeline view for you to scroll through. It’s not just a calendar app though, Timepage also offers weather updates, as well as travel estimates to your events. It doesn’t offer a calendar view though, so if you need that, this app isn’t for you.
Google Calendar is a good alternative to Timepage for Android users (and it’s also available for iOS). Following a good use of Material Design guidelines, the app is sleek and beautiful, while offering standard features you’ll find in most calendar apps. A recent update brought the ability to set reminders in the calendar app, so you won’t need another app for that.
You’re probably not going to read the back of the cereal box while you’re having breakfast, and the morning paper has long-been replaced by our smartphones and tablets. Adapting to our short attention spans and busy lives, Refinery29 recently released This AM, which offers eight top stories for people who simply want to be in-the-know, or as the magazine publisher says, it’s “the morning news app for the minimal girl who wants to know the viral, shareable stories that everyone is talking about.”
Looking for a This AM alternative? SmartNews is a news aggregate service that offers offline reading and blazing fast load times with its “SmartView” and minimal interface. The app is split into categories such as Business, World, and Tech, and uses a proprietary algorithm to find trending stories throughout the day. What’s better is that you won’t need an Internet connection to browse through the content, so you can keep reading on your commute (if you’re not driving that is.)
But why read the news when you can listen to it — or go a step further and add all your favorite podcasts to your playlist while you cook up some breakfast or start the commute to work. Pocket Casts is arguably one of the best podcast apps out there — for Android. Windows Phone, and iOS. The app has more than 200,000 podcasts in its directory, so you’ll likely find your favorites to download or stream. You can auto-download your podcasts while you sleep, and also queue episodes for continuous playback.
You probably have your route memorized, but Google Maps helps with not just finding your way to work, but finding almost anything in your vicinity — whether it’s a good breakfast spot or the nearest gas station. You can also download an area offline, check traffic updates, and see route arrival estimates, among a plethora of other features.