The Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock is an App by Maciek Drejak Labs that uses the accelerometer in your iphone to record the movements in your sleep. You go through periods of light and deep sleep throughout the night, and if you wake up during light sleep, it feels like you’re waking up without an alarm clock. Ever slept a full 8 hours before, but it was hard to get out of bed in the morning? That’s probably because your alarm woke you up during deep sleep.
Your brain goes through cycles of light to deep sleep throughout the night. Each cycle takes approximately 3 hours to complete, and therefore you have 3 windows of time where you are in light sleep, and you can be woken up feeling refreshed. The Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock App tracks your sleep cycles and wakes you up within a half hour window that you set the night before. During that half hour, the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock will wake you up when you are in the lightest sleep.
In the morning, you can see a graph of your sleep cycle, and quickly observe your sleep quality. It shows periods of time during the night that you were awake and periods of time in deep sleep. The Sleep Cycle Alarm clock also displays a rating of your sleep quality in percentage.
Despite the obvious benefit of feeling refreshed and awake when your alarm clock wakes you up, there are a couple minor drawbacks to the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock App. The half hour window means that you may have to wake up half an hour earlier than you normally would. This could make your morning routine less scheduled, since the amount of time you have to get ready in the morning is varied. Some people need to wake up at a consistent time everyday, and the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock could set off their routine.
You also have to set your iPhone facedown on your bed and plugged in while sleeping for the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock to work. This gives you some constraints. You must have an outlet or extension cord that reaches close enough for your iPhone to plug in while being on your bed. Additionally the sound of the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock is either going to be in your face or muffled under your pillow when you wake up. There is an option to set the volume of the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock, but if you move a lot during your sleep, this could be either amplified or muffled.
From my experience, the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock does work well to its intention. I find that setting it up every night makes it easy to fall out of the habit of using it. But when I do use it, I always feel really happy in the morning that I used it, even if the time I get up is half an hour off from the desired time. I would strongly recommend trying the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock App on a weekend before using it on a morning you have school or work. And if you like it, continue using it through the workweek.