The sound of cars passing by on Rte 12, with the front porch and a couple yards of lawn between the road and my bedroom window, is more gentle than an alarm clock, even adding on the doot-doot-doot backing-up sounds the construction trucks make just on the other side of the house.
I hear these sounds and even before I open my eyes I can guess what time it is. If I'm still half asleep I can guess what day of the week it is, too, by the absense or presense of the construction truck doot doot doot. If the cars are passing three or four or more in a row on either side of the two-lane roadway, then I know it's probably 7:30 or 8am, and the morning commute is commencing in earnest.
Meanwhile, I'm deciding whether the dream I just had is worth remembering and writing down. Sometimes I have to write it down quickly before the whole thing fades. Other times they are so vivid I can remember them through the day and can still recall them before I go to sleep that night. Either way I have to decide, and once I do then I have to either write the thing down or get up and go about my day. No in-between there.
Occasionally I'll get a nice surprise, dreamwise. Recently I had a dream that someone I knew, only a little in college and not at all now, kissed me. I don't know why he kissed me. I don't know what was going on before that kiss, or afterwards. But those moments of intimacy, and it's palpable tenderness, linger on.
So the gentle surf-like sound of cars passing on the road is a better backdrop for remembering such moments than the sudden sound of just about anything a foot away from my ear, as you may be able to imagine. No alarm clocks here.