alarm

There are plenty of alarm apps in the Windows Phone Store and AlarmMe is one of the better looking, easy to use options in the Store. The colorful design gives AlarmMe some eye-appeal and the simple user interface is virtually frustration free.

If the native alarm feature on your Windows Phone is not cutting it, AlarmMe is not a bad alternative to consider.

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Spy Hunter is a security app for Windows Phone 8 that will help you catch those who like to spy on your phone while you are not around.

Once the trap is set, Spy Hunter snap a series of photos of the culprit, sounds an alarm and will record audio when your Windows Phone is unlocked.  You also have the options to automatically save your photos to SkyDrive and receive notifications when Spy Hunter is triggered.

Spy Hunter has a friendly user interface and not a bad option to consider if you need to find out who keeps messing with your Windows Phone.  However, it is not exactly fool proof.

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We've been made aware of a super deal currently going on with Interval for Windows Phone. The app is an alarm, stopwatch and timer all under one roof. Featuring live tile support, a clock view and a nice selection (all be it small) of alarm tones, Interval is well worth checking out should you require a way to perform all of the above tasks with minimal fuss. It has dropped its price tag and is available for free.

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ZBand (www.zband.biz) is a silent alarm wristband that's compatible with Windows Phone, Windows 8 and Android. The device is an interesting accessory as it connects and synchronises with a Windows Phone 8 smartphone running the ZBand app - there's no need for a PC or web service. So what does the wristband do? It essentially acts as a silent alarm clock, replacing that pesky mobile phone ringtone.

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Windows Phone has a built in alarm that does the job well, should you be in the mood to get up in the morning that is. If you're looking for a slightly different experience and a more feature-rich alarm, then Ding may well be the solution. The free app offers more functionality than the system alarm app, with a more aesthetically pleasing interface and some Live Tile action.

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Although we don’t use our phone-as-an-alarm all to often, clearly many of you do, so it’s always nice to have options out there to entertain. Especially free options. Such is the case with ‘627 AM’ which is available now on the Windows Phone Marketplace.

The app is simple, clever but most importantly…simply gorgeous. It features the current temperature, weekly forecast, independent daily alarms and a to-do list all on a single, well designed screen.

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When not spending my time writing on this site, my real job is that of a medical sleep technologist (yes, an odd but fun career), so lets just say I have an unhealthy interest in the science of slumber.

Napping, while essential for healthy cognitive performance, can be done rightly or wrongly. In short, we have about 90-minute sleep cycles (varying with age), consisting of numerous stages of sleep N1, N2, N3 and REM. Waking up between the sleep cycles leaves you feeling alert and awake, while waking someone up in REM or N3 can be jarring--hence why it's avoided during sleep studies. In real life though, it's hard to know what stage of sleep you're in since no one is monitoring your EEGs (brain waves). A quick rule of thumb though is nap for 90-minute increments, plus add on X-minutes to fall asleep. While not perfect, it'll put you in the ballpark of a healthy, refreshing nap.

sleepPhaseAlarm is a Mango/7.5 app that basically calculates this for you and sets an alarm. With a simple interface, you tell it you want to go to sleep now (and then pick what time-frame works for you) or you set the time you need to get up (and it tells you what time to go to bed). The app is well designed and since it's Mangofied, the alarm is set and runs in the background (a true "set it and forget it" app). We gave it a quick spin and have to recommend it for those frequently needing catnaps during the day or a healthy night of full sleep.

There are two version: a free, fully functional trial (no settings) and $0.99, which allows you to set amount of time it takes you to fall asleep and choose from five-different alarms. You can pick it up here in the Marketplace (Zune) or the Web Marketplace here.

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