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I replaced my phone alarm with this smart sunrise clock. The results were night and day

The Hatch Restore 2 builds on the successes of the original sunrise alarm clock with improved speakers, audio tracks, and 'Morning Moments.'
Written by Allison Murray, Staff Writer
Reviewed by Kerry Wan
Person in bed pushing a button on a lit-up Hatch Restore 2 device on a nightstand
Allison Murray/ZDNET

I have a hard time falling asleep at night and waking up in the mornings. My nightly routine consists of either scrolling through my phone in bed or falling asleep to Netflix. And my morning routine isn't much better: I go from snoozing the alarm to checking my emails within seconds.

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If you have similar routines, you're not alone. According to a 2022 study from Casper and Gallup, one in three adults doesn't get the recommended amount of uninterrupted, quality sleep.

To help, sleep tech is becoming more prevalent, including that from Hatch, who's best known for its sunrise alarm clock. In fact, the company just released an updated version, Hatch Restore 2, which I've been testing out for the past week. After spending several nights and mornings with the smart alarm instead of my usual smartphone notification, I can safely say that my faith in the good, old-fashioned alarm clock approach has been restored.

View at Hatch

The main differences between the original Hatch Restore and the Restore 2 are the addition of 31 new sunrise and sleep sounds, three speakers instead of one, and what the company calls "Morning Moments." More on that later. Also different is the new look; the Restore 2 now has two large buttons (one for "Rise" and one for "Rest") and is now made of natural linen fiber in different colors to match your bedroom.

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As far as the setup goes, it's simple: You download the Hatch app, connect it to your Restore 2, connect the smart clock to your home's Wi-Fi, and then you start customizing and setting up your Rest and Rise routines with your preferred choice of light, soundscapes, and more.

How it works at night

You can also tweak the Restore 2's settings so I ended up switching my routine every night to see what worked best for me. There are also meditations to help turn off your mind before you sleep, like soothing soundscapes (one, in particular, that reminded me of the PlayStation 4 home screen music in a serene forest), and even bedtime stories.

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Admittedly, I found it a little hard to break my late-night TV habit and tried my best to lean into Hatch's options. I just wish there were more, longer bedtime meditations since I felt the most well-rested during those sessions.

A Hatch Restore 2 clock lit-up blue on a wooden nightstand

You can always adjust the color of the Restore 2 to fit the ambiance. 

Allison Murray/ZDNET

In terms of the night features, there are a couple of things that Hatch can improve on. First, the bedtime stories, not to be mistaken with the meditations, are anywhere from 30 to 40 minutes, which I personally found to be too long. In addition, I wish the lighting within the clock was softer and less bright. Both the sleep colors and the clock can be too bright at times, even on the lowest setting.

How it works in the morning

While I appreciated the break in my nighttime routine, the morning routine really sold me on the Hatch Restore 2. Starting a half hour before my set alarm, the device gradually increases its sunrise lamp, making me feel like I'm waking up with the warm sun on my face (rather than waking up on a rainy day in Chicago).

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Then, the alarm itself is a soothing choice of sound bowls, birds chirping, or ocean waves -- all of which are less jarring than a siren alarm going off.

A Hatch Restore 2 clock on a nightstand and lit-up bright yellow

The Restore 2 gradually gets brighter as it nears your set alarm time.

Allison Murray/ZDNET

The Restore 2's "Morning Moments" take place after your alarm goes off, and this was perhaps my favorite feature. Morning Moments range from motivational talks to easy meditations, although the selection was, again, scarce.

While I'm still determining how much I'll utilize the sleeping part of the Hatch Restore 2, the morning portion will stick with me. I love the light wakeups and the short "Morning Moments" that fill my mind with positivity and inspiration in place of the usual, endless Instagram feed. I only hope that Hatch continues to add more varieties and options to its Morning Moments so I can switch things up every once in a while.

Also: The 7 best headphones for sleeping

Lastly, the Restore 2 alone will cost you $199, and that's not including the $5 per month (or $50 per year) membership fee for the app experience. While costly, I'd argue that the combo is worth it if you're serious about changing your sleep schedule for the better, and it's absolutely a superior option to the standard alarm clock. I had a very positive time testing a sunrise alarm clock like the Hatch Restore 2, and it'll likely set the tone for the rest of your day, too. 

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