nurses4wellness blog.

Sleep Better With the Sleep Cycle iPhone App

Waking up early in the morning can be hard to do. One of the things I dislike most is the jolted feeling I get when I hear that first piercing ring of my alarm clock. However, a colleague of mine has been urging me for months to try the iPhone alarm clock application, Sleep Cycle. At first, I was quite skeptical that this app would be more effective than any of the other sleep-focus apps on the market. But after hearing her talk excitedly about the ways it’s helped her to wake up feeling energized and rested, I finally decided to cave in and give the 99 cent application a try. What did I have to lose?

According to the Sleep Cycle website, the app uses a built-in accelerometer in the iPhone/iPod Touch to monitor your movement as you sleep so you are woken up during the lightest sleep stage possible. Why is this important? Well, research suggests that the sleep phase you are in when your alarm goes off has a profound impact on the way you feel when you wake up.

So, say you want wake up no later that 7:30 A.M. Sleep Cycle will start analyzing your physical movements for 30 minutes leading up to your designated wake-up time, and it will go off when you move within that time window. Because your movements will tell your phone that you are already partially awake at that time, you are woken up in a way that feels more natural.

Another unique feature that I like about Sleep Cycle is that it can record your night’s sleep in a graph that shows you the times that you were in each sleep phase. It was quite useful to see when I’m typically at my most restless throughout the night. This information has helped me to not only adjust my overall sleep behavior, but to come up with the best sleep strategies for my unique sleep patterns.

After using the Sleep Cycle app for about a month, I’m waking up every morning feeling relaxed, well rested, and ready to begin my day, just like my colleague said I would. Whether my improved sleep is a coincidence, some kind of placebo effect, or that the Sleep Cycle can actually sense the best time to wake me, I may never know. For one reason or another, that jolting feeling I typically get when my alarm goes off has subsided. In my opinion, that alone is well worth the 99 cents! Sweet dreams!

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