Sleep Cycle is an app that I heard about years ago but had never tried out until recently.
You put your phone underneath your pillow while you sleep and it tracks (using your phone’s internal movement tracker) your movements as you sleep. Apparently there is a direct correlation between movements and sleep cycles.
The app itself is incredibly easy to use; you just press the sleep button and it then instructs you as to where you put your phone and then off you go! It takes a few sleeps for it to measure your sleep quality, as it needs to gauge your normal sleep pattern so it can distinguish between this and a rough night’s sleep.
To be honest, I was dubious about this when I first started using it, until one night when I got out of bed in the middle of the night to go to the loo. In the morning, the sleep quality graph told me that I had been awake for 10 minutes in the middle of the night! Accurate!
I tend to sleep well most nights, so my sleep quality index (which runs from 1-100%) has always been pretty good. However, when I do have a bad night’s sleep, the app is bang on and my sleep quality index reduces. This is one impressive app.
I have been using it now for over 9 months and one thing I have found is that I generally sleep much worse when I am stressed, which I suppose makes perfect sense. It may not be news, but it’s good to have some data at your fingertips.
There are some other pretty cool quirks to this app too. You can set an alarm which wakes you up at a certain point in your sleep cycle so that you don’t wake up feeling groggy. It works. Give it a try! The only negative about this function is that you have to give it a 30min window in which to wake you up, sometimes it’s at the beginning of this window and sometimes it’s at the end, so if you are someone who likes to get up promptly at x o clock, maybe that part of the app isn’t for you. One other part of the app that I have used is the playing of soothing sounds to help you get off to sleep. It plays a sound of your choosing (I have used the crashing of the waves sound, but there are loads to choose from) and then turns them off once you’re asleep. It’s very good if you like the sounds that they supply (I actually wanted the sound of whales but they didn’t have it available) and if your partner doesn’t mind/or you’re single.
As far as I’m aware the app is free, which as awesome! You can pay for something called Sleep Secure. I’m not sure what this does as I haven’t used it, but whatever it is it’s only £1.49 for the year.
The app also connects to Apple’s health app, which is another cool thing if you like data. There is also an option to send your data off to a company to be part of a massive research project. Whether you do this or not is up to you. I said yes. Having been part of a research team myself on occasions, I’m confident that any information they get about me will be anonymised, plus, research of this sort will only make a positive impact to the way in which we understand sleep, which has the potential to help lots of people.
All in all this is a great app which has the potential, if used currently, to really make a difference to the way you sleep.