In many ways smartphones and apps have made our lives better. Our calendars remind us about meetings, Twitter keeps us connected, and Bejeweled helps us pass the time in the waiting room. And then there are sleep apps. As an RSA you may have heard about sleep applications, but have you ever tried one? We’ve got you covered.
This week I am testing Sleep Cycle.
Sleep Cycle is an application that tracks your slumber through the night and wakes you during certain stages of sleep. Scientists have known for years that waking up during your lightest stage of sleep will leave you feeling more rested. Alarm clocks that detect sleep cycles by your movement have been around for years, but due to high cost they were unavailable to most people. But now that smartphones are much more affordable (and common) the technology is available for only $0.99.
I need at least eight hours of sleep a night to feel rested. So when I heard there was an application that promised to help me feel more rested, I was eager to give it a try. Not only that, but I have always been interested in the cycles of sleep and how sleep affects overall health, wellness, and energy levels.
To test the application, I used it for two weeks and then took a week off. I only used the application on weekdays, because - let’s face it - weekends are made for catching up on sleep! I also should note that I only reported on my experience for nights I got six to eight hours of sleep, because I felt it was not fair to include the nights I stayed up too late and got up too early. That was my own fault.
During the first week of using the application, I was a bit skeptical. I didn’t feel a drastic change and was still tired some mornings. I will say I really enjoyed the quiet and soothing tone the application used to wake me up. It was nice not hearing a screeching clock. The application offers a variety of sound options for the alarm, and uses an escalating volume system to rouse you out of bed.
During the second week, I thought I’d put the app to the test by trying to wake up early and go to the gym before work. In the past when I planned on a morning workout, I often hit the snooze button and skipped the gym. However, when the alarm went off using the Sleep Cycle application, I felt rested enough to get up and head out. In addition, I felt well-rested the remainder of the day - which was a first for me. Usually when I squeeze in some gym time before work, I end up feeling tired by mid-day. By the end of week two, I was feeling refreshed each morning, even when I woke up early to hit the gym.
The final test came in week three when I went back to my old ways. I set three separate alarms for the gym and work: the first was set to wake me up in time for the gym, and the last two were to wake me up for work. On the first day, I felt tired and dazed. I never really felt like I was awake and alert the rest of the day. That feeling continued throughout the week, with the degree of sleepiness varying each day. I noticed a dramatic difference in my alertness and energy levels when I did not use the Sleep Cycle app.
Overall, Sleep Cycle worked for me. I definitely recommend this application - especially for people who have a hard time waking up in the morning. I have been using Sleep Cycle every weekday since my test and love it! I now regularly go to the gym in the morning and have no issues feeling refreshed throughout the day. I’m completely satisfied with the interface and features offered from Sleep Cycle, and I look forward to many days ahead of feeling well-rested.
The Sleep Cycle app is only available for iPhone at this point. If you give it a try, let me know how it worked for you.