Last year we rounded up 10 of the best alarm clock apps as well as 5 of the hottest alarm clock docks around. But there’s a new crop of clocks in town, and they’re all about waking you up naturally, gently, and with your best night’s sleep in mind.

1. Sound Rise ($100): First up is the Sound Rise. This alarm clock debuted earlier this year at CES and is pretty darn cool. The upright design means it takes up less room on your nightstand while still filling the room with rich sound. It includes a dock for iPod, iPhone & iPad as well as a USB power port to keep all of your devices recharged in the morning. And, of course, you can stream wirelessly via Bluetooth. The alarm clock lets you wake up to music, radio, or an alarm chime with gradually increasing volume.

2. Rise ($1.99, iPhone): A refreshing and clever way to set time, Rise is a beautiful, simple app for waking up. Drag your finger across the screen to set a wake up time, turn the alarm on or off with a simple swipe or pull gesture, snooze with a shake, and wake up a Rise melody or iTunes song of your choice.

3. Mood O’Clock ($1.99, Android): Powered by Stereomood, Mood O’Clock lets you choose the morning mood you want to be woken up in and delivers an ideal soundtrack to those early moments in your day. Each mood includes tunes, an image, and the ability to share your mood on Facebook… so your coworkers know just what side of the bed you woke up on.

4. Jawbone UP ($130): You know we’re partial to just about anything Jawbone serves up. The latest evolution of the UP band (Jawbone’s activity tracking wristband) includes a smart sleep alarm.

Set the alarm to whatever time you need to wake up by, define a window of time before your alarm time that you’re willing to wake up (10-30 minutes), and the UP band will vibrate at your lightest moment of sleep within that time frame. So smart!

5. Alarm Clock Pillow (concept): Sony is in the midst of proposing a high-tech pillow that aims to help sleepers wake up feeling more refreshed. The pillow is embedded with a small actigraph unit that monitors the sleep patterns of the user and wakes them up when they leave REM sleep. Not sure how we feel about sleeping directly on a device that monitors sleep patterns and brainwaves, but we love the idea of less groggy wake-up.

What’s an article on waking up without the song Wake Up by Arcade Fire? We particularly love the rendition in the Where the Wild Things Are trailer.

How do you wake up in the morning? Any favorite apps or gadgets we should know about? Talk to us in the comments below.