Traditional mechanical alarm clocks have one or two bells that ring by means of a mainspring that powers a gear to propel a hammer back and forth between the two bells or between the interior sides of a single bell. In some models, the back encasement of the clock itself acts as the bell. In an electric bell-style alarm clock, the bell is rung by an electromagnetic circuit and armature that turns the circuit on and off repeatedly.
Some clocks, usually digital ones, include an optical projector that shines a magnified image of the time display onto a screen or onto a surface such as an indoor ceiling or wall. The digits are large enough to be easily read, without using glasses, by persons with moderately imperfect vision, so the clocks are convenient for use in their bedrooms. Usually, the timekeeping circuitry has a battery as a backup source for an uninterrupted power supply to keep the clock on time, while the projection light only works when the unit is connected to an A.C. supply. Completely battery-powered portable versions resembling flashlights are also available.
“I bought this light because my partner and I need to be up early for work, but our bedroom has very poor natural light. Within a week, I’ve already noticed a difference in my energy levels and mood. The sunrise simulation works perfectly; by the time the ‘alarm’ (peaceful bird noises) goes off, I’m already feeling naturally awake — not groggy or jolted out of my sleep. I feel much more rested, and my average resting heart rate reflects that. I also really love the sunset feature. I wasn’t expecting to get much use out of it, but I feel like it does a great job of helping me settle into bed at the end of the day.”