Sleep Cycle: Improving Sleep Quality, Not Just Hours in Bed


By Daniel Theriault

Have you ever wondered why it’s so difficult to wake up in the morning and why you feel so fatigued throughout the rest of your day? Many may think they got an excellent night’s sleep based solely on time spent in bed — without knowing that the actual quality of their sleep was rather poor.

Sleep Cycle wants to make sure you’re aware of your sleeping patterns in order for you to enact changes in your daily routine to not only improve how long you sleep, but how well you sleep.

The app Sleep Cycle uses your movements to analyze the quality of your sleep with the use of your microphone. This means that it is imperative that you not only enable the app to access your mic but also that you place your phone nearby on a preferably flat surface. The noise of your movements as well as your breathing patterns are picked up by your microphone then relayed back to Sleep Cycle. This helps to classify your quality of sleep into three distinct categories: being fully awake, being asleep and being in deep sleep. The next morning, a graph will appear showing you how much of your time in bed qualified as sleep or deep sleep, ultimately helping you determine how well you slept the previous night.

Beyond just letting you know if you slept well, the app also allows you to set an alarm. I strongly recommend setting the in-app alarm to wake you up 30 minutes prior to when you actually want to get your day started. Sleep Cycle’s alarm will wake you up in a more gradual manner, helping you to feel more refreshened in the morning. The ringer will start rather quietly and slowly increase in volume until it is audible enough to wake you up. Not quite ready yet? Taking your phone and giving it a very light shake will snooze the alarm. The snoozes get shorter and shorter in duration in order to ease you into waking up.

Why bother tracking your sleep in the first place? By taking into consideration your daily activities and what you do before heading off to bed,  you can begin to understand what helps you get a consistently better night of sleep. You may end up noticing that turning off your tv and keeping your eyes off your phone an hour before bed goes a long way in improving your night’s sleep. The accurate reporting that the app offers can immediately help you determine whether the changes you’ve enacted in your daily routine are positively affecting the quality of your sleep.

If you find you’re happy with the free version, the upgrade should also be seriously considered. At the price of $29.99 a year, an entire new set of data can be readily available to you. In the paid version, under the tab “Trends,” the app will take into account the amount of physical activity you did, how stressful your day was, the amount of coffee or tea you may have had and also at what time you had dinner on that day. Sleep Cycle then decides to what extent these factors affected your sleep.

For anyone dealing with too many sleepless nights, this may be first step on the road to a better night’s sleep.


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