(The Root) — When it comes to my overall health and well-being, exercise and eating right are important, but getting enough sleep is at the top of the list. It's not just about how much sleep you get every night. The specific point that you wake up within your sleep cycle is just as vital to feeling refreshed and well-rested. And as with most every other problem these days, technology has a solution with the Sleep Cycle app.
Developed by Maciek Drejak, Sleep Cycle uses the accelerometer in your smartphone to monitor your movement while you sleep and determine the best time to wake you up. While you're asleep, you go through cycles from light to deep with occasional dream-state REM sleep. Ideally, waking in a light sleep phase ensures the most refreshed and rested feeling. Sleep Cycle tracks these phases through the night and wakes you when you're in that zone.
Once you've set the alarm, you place your smartphone on your mattress under the fitted sheet so it doesn't move around. Over the course of a couple of nights, Sleep Cycle will record your sleeping patterns. You then have a 30-minute window until the time on the alarm to be awakened in your lightest sleep phase, and you can also use your own music for the alarm.
There are a couple of things to consider, though. The app does use about 30 percent of your phone's battery overnight. If you don't want to keep it plugged in, you'll want to make sure it's fully charged before you turn in. Other factors could influence the accuracy of the data, including whether someone else sleeps in the bed and what type of mattress you use. Currently, Sleep Cycle is $0.99 and is available only for the iPhone.
For under a buck, I think I may give it a try tonight. The idea of not getting snatched out of a dream when the alarm goes off makes this app worthwhile, and you just can't put a price on the value of a good night's sleep.
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