Sleep tracker app

Sleep Cycle App Review – Wake Up Feeling Good

The Sleep Cycle app says it can improve your day by waking you at the right time, that’s got to be a good thing right? Let’s find out in our Sleep Cycle app review.

Have you ever woken up feeling really sluggish and generally yuk? Yep, we’ve all been there. By contrast, for some unknown reason, even if you’ve had less sleep, there are days when you wake up feeling really well rested. This app has used the science of why this is, and turned it into something that might just change your life.

Ok, so how does it work?

The Sleep Cycle app  is basically a super smart alarm clock, but before we look at the app itself, you first need to understand what sleep cycles are.

sleep cycle illustrationSleep cycles are periods of sleep you go through during the night – light sleep, deep sleep and occasional REM sleep (a period when you are dreaming) each period normally lasts around 90 minutes. During the night you will alternate between all the different cycles quite a few times. As you go through these cycles the amount you move during each cycle is noticeably different.

Light sleep = restless, deep sleep = little or no movement.

The app works by not waking you during a deep sleep cycle, but waking you during your lightest sleep period, thereby avoiding the horrible jarring feeling of being woken from a deep sleep by a regular alarm clock.

For the app to work effectively you have place your phone under your sheet in the corner, glass down, near the side of the bed. The app uses the accelerometer in your phone (the bit that knows when you turn your phone from portrait to landscape) to measure the amount of movement you make during sleep. This doesn’t sound like it would work but it turns out that the accelerometer in your phone is extremely sensitive, and records even the smallest movement you might make.

setting alarm clockWhen you first enter the app, it will ask you to perform a movement test. This is where you lie on the bed with the phone next to you, and then you make a few movements to test if the the app is detecting everything properly. When you move the phone it will make a noise to let you know that it’s functioning. Once that’s done you’re all set.

Unlike a traditional alarm, the app will wake you up during a light sleep period, so to maximize the best effects the app will ask you to set the length of time for the alarm to function. This can be anywhere between 10 and 90 minutes. So for example if you set the alarm to function for an hour, you have a better chance of the app finding the optimum time to wake you up. If you only give it 10 minutes you’re limiting the apps effectiveness.

sleep cycle datasleep cycle dataAfter a nights sleep you can look at the data that the app has collected. The app delivers the data in graph form, and it’s actually really interesting to see your own sleep cycles.

The daily data from the Sleep Cycle app gives you a total of time in bed, and then calculates the quality of that nights sleep. You can also add a note for that particular day, “day off,” “work stress” etc. so you can see how it effects your overall quality of sleep.

Another good feature is the ability to look at your sleep stats over a greater period of time. Weekly and monthly graphs are available, which are also very interesting, as you can clearly note when you were getting better quality sleep. This can also help in pinpointing what in your life is causing problems.

When we first used the Sleep Cycle app, one of the most glaringly apparent downfalls of this app is the fact that surely it could only work with one person in a bed, not two. The app developers stated that the app will work with two people in the bed, as long as there isn’t a significant difference in weight between the two people as the app will probably start to measure both people and return some really confusing data. We were a little skeptical, but to our surprise when we tested this out the app did to work.

One drawback is the fact that it is recommended that you keep your phone on charge through the night. The developers reckon the app will use around 30% of your battery during the night, which is fine if you have more charge than that remaining, but if you forget to check your battery life before you go to sleep and your phone dies before the alarm goes off… that’s a potentially crap day in the making. To be on the safe side we kept ours plugged in.

Summary

To be honest, we weren’t expecting much from a 99 cent app, but we were pleasantly surprised. The app does exactly what it says on the tin and gives some really interesting and useful data to help you understand your sleep patterns better.

After only using the Sleep Cycle app for a couple of weeks, in our opinion it has made a noticeable difference, and definitely worth a try.

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