Sleep Cycle is a great, and affordable, app that allows you to monitor and track your sleep over time. Sleep Cycle will track your stages of sleep based on your movement throughout the night in order to wake you up at an optimal point in the morning.
For the uninitiated, maintaining a proper sleep cycle is very important to feeling good throughout the day. Alarm clocks wake you up abruptly and in an unnatural way. This can make you feel tired and generally bad throughout the day. Sleep Cycle attempts to avoid this by waking you up at a natural point in your sleep cycle — when you are already partially awake, instead of when you are in a deep sleep.
To explain exactly how the app is able to accomplish this, I turn to their website directly:
Sleep Cycle alarm clock is able to use the accelerometer in your iPhone to monitor your movement and determine which sleep phase you are in. Sleep Cycle then uses a 30 minute alarm window that ends at your set alarm time and wakes you in your lightest sleep phase. Click here for the full explanation
My own experience with the app has been great. I’ve been using it for a couple weeks and so far I have found it effective. It seems to track my sleep well and wakes me up at a decent time. The soft sounds it uses to wake you up is much better than my previous jarring alarm which helps a lot. It also seems to help me feel better when I get up.
My only complaint about the app is that the optimal window to ensure you wake up nicely is 30 mins, which is a pretty big window. It’s not directly the app’s fault but my optimal wake time seems to be almost a full 30 minutes earlier than I need to get up. It is difficult to get out of bed when you know you don’t have to be up for another half-hour. My best mornings have been when my alarm wakes me up naturally 10-15 mins in advance. Then it is easy to get out of bed because going back to sleep is not as alluring.
Overall, the app is fantastic and worth a shot whether you feel particularly tired in the morning or not. For only $0.99, it isn’t much of a gamble.