For years I used a jarring alarm clock to get me out of bed. By setting the alarm for 7 am every day, I trained myself to get up a minute before the awful sound would go off. Then as cell phones evolved, I selected a peaceful song to wake me up, which I actually look forward to hearing.
There are other gentle alarm clocks, like the sunrise alarm clock that gradually turns on a light. Sunrise clocks can have tons of other features like an iPod dock, white noise feature, emits aromatherapy, or a star globe.
Or you can feel like you are waking up in a Zen temple, by using a Zen Alarm Clock. This bamboo clock is designed to strike a brass Meditation bowl, gradually speeding up. Since how there is a volume control, I am curious if the timer function could be set to specific intervals so it could be used in a martial arts school, instead of using the traditional beeping time machines.
I also found this really cool digital alarm clock that runs on water. I don't know what the alarm sounds like, but I love the idea of not having to recharge batteries.