Sleep. It’s something that we can never get enough of. A bad night’s sleep can leave one feeling groggy and lethargic the next day. It is recommended that adults (ages 26-64) should get around 7-9 hours a night. Stock alarm clocks have limited functionality that only lets you set a static time for when you want to wake up. Trust me, there are much better options available.
Sleep Cycle is a dynamic alarm clock that lets you set a range, rather than a specific minute to wake up. Sleep Cycle tracks your sleep activity and will wake you up when you are in the lightest stage of sleep. The default range is 30 minutes, which can be changed in the settings. My alarm clock is set for me to wake up around 7:00 AM – 7:30 AM. The alarm clock will start ringing anytime during that 30 minute window that is set.
There are three stages of sleep: awake, sleep, and deep sleep. The microphone picks up the sound of movement. The app analyzes movement as being in a lighter phase of sleep. Sleep Cycle claims that it can block other noise so that you can use the alarm clock with other people in the room. I was skeptical at first but I was pleasantly surprised when I used the alarm clock on a trip with my friends. I shared a room with two beds and the app looked like it only picked up my movement. This is a great feature for anyone who has a significant other. There is another option of using your device’s accelerometer to track movement. However, Sleep Cycle recommends using the microphone option.
The sleep tracker is a great feature to view your sleep habits. The statistics tab shows a graph depicting the various sleep stages you are in during a night’s sleep. After five nights of sleep, Sleep Cycle will calculate the quality of sleep compared to your other nights.
The trends tab shows data about your daily sleep quality, time you went to bed, time in bed, and time you woke up. This is a good way to analyze if you are starting to sleep later than you normally do and if it is affecting the quality of your sleep. You can tab over and view the data in weeks, months, and all.
The free option in my opinion gives more than enough options to not upgrade. You can change the sound of your alarm, if you want vibration, the type of snooze, the range of wake up phase, if you want to turn the alarm function off on the weekend, and type of motion detection. The intelligent option is a cool feature because it will let you snooze until the end of your wake up phase, rather than waking you up a set time.
The premium feature lets you have more options on tracking your sleep. I don’t find these features necessary, but a nice addition if you feel like spending the extra money. You can set your app to show you the weather when you wake up. You can add sleep notes to document how your sleep went along with a wake up mood option to quickly track your mood when you wake up. There are smart features like connecting with a Phillips Hue light bulb to turn your lights on when the alarm is going off.
Sleep trackers and smart alarm clocks seem to be very anecdotal on its effectiveness. The normal person isn’t going to have equipment measuring your brain waves to track sleep. In my experience, I really believe that the Sleep Cycle app helped me get a better night’s sleep. I found myself with less brain fog and felt more alert throughout the day. It also seemed easier to wake up, which is something I struggle with immensely. I am notorious for setting 10 alarm clocks in 15-minute increments because I have such a hard time waking up.
The only criticism I have is that Sleep Cycle will not automatically set your alarm clock for you. You have to go into the app every time to set the alarm clock every night. Luckily, my stock alarm clock is still set just in case. It would be a great addition if Sleep Cycle automatically set an alarm for you every night. It would be even better if it were able to automatically sense when you are asleep and immediately begin tracking your sleep. Despite this criticism, Sleep Cycle is a great app that I will continue using until I find something better.