Review: Sleep Cycle Watches You Sleep, Wakes You Up Gently

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Ever have that feeling that you’ve had a rotten night’s sleep, and the last thing you want to do is get up out of bed?

Yeah, me too.

Sleep Cycle is an iPhone app that says it might be able to help.

It calls itself a “bio-alarm clock”, and the thinking behind it is quite clever. The app makes use of your iPhone’s accelerometer to monitor your movements during the night. It builds up a profile of your sleep patterns and then tries to wake you at the best possible moment, during your “light” sleep phase.

The theory is that this way, you wake up feeling more refreshed and better able to get on with the day.

When I tried it I wasn’t feeling particularly tired or sleep deprived. In fact, it seemed like I was subconsciously aware that my iPhone was perched a few inches from my head, so I found myself trying not to move around too much in case I knock it out of the bed.

The disadvantage of Sleep Cycle is that you have to leave it running all night, perched on the edge of your mattress. And that also means leaving your iPhone plugged into a mains power supply. The app’s notes say it puts your device into a low power mode, but even so: your phone is switched on all night.

If you’re bothered about the phone ringing during the night, you can put switch it to Airplane mode so that it won’t connect to any cell or wifi networks. But you can’t mute the sound, because – duh – you need that for the alarm that wakes you in the morning.

The app is certainly well made and provides very clear instructions for use. It’s also very popular and getting a lot of positive reviews on the App Store.

Personally, I’m not convinced it can help me; but if you’re the kind of person who simply doesn’t do mornings, it might be worth trying out. At 99 cents, you can’t go far wrong.