Makes Me Happy Monday : Sleep Cycle

Okay, so it’s kinda obvious that I love to analyze things. “Compare and contrast” is definitely my favorite literary tool, but, to be honest, I use the method for almost every aspect of life. From cooking to people, music to furniture arrangement, movie judging to my shoe choice for the day, I query this and that.

And … I love to sleep.  I think a bed should be a place that is welcome, comfortable and snuggly … more so than any other place in our home. So that our rest can be maximized, I think we should look forward to crawling between our sheets and that they should caress us.

My love of sleep, my sweet bed and passion for analysis has led me to “Sleep Cycle.”

Sleep Cycle is a phone app that allows your smart phone the ability to feel your movement in your bed as you sleep and then let you know what time is the best time for you to wake up.

While we sleep, we go through cycles of deep sleep (or REM sleep) and a lighter phase of sleep (non-REM sleep). REM sleep is the deepest and is not the best time for you to wake up if you want to begin your day rested. In fact, it is very difficult to wake up during REM sleep … BUT, if you have set your alarm for a time that falls during your REM sleep, then you will be pulled out of that part of your sleep cycle and can cause you to start your day groggy and lethargic.

So, this little app is an alarm clock that can be set to a time r.a.n.g.e rather than a specific time. You can choose to wake up within as few as ten minutes or as much as an hour and a half of your preferred time of rising. The more leeway you give yourself, the better chances of waking rested because Sleep Cycle will set off your wake alarm as you begin to move in the bed … which is when you are coming OUT of REM sleep. But, Sleep Cycle recommends 30 minutes as the best option for your wake window.

And the alarm sounds? Oh my! There are a handful of super sounds to wake you that are more gentle than your standard alarm sound or you can  choose a song from your iPod. So, gentle, energetic or alarm mode are all options for your waking sound.

Sleep Cycle charts a graph for each night that it operates. This allows you to see how well you slept. Are you wondering if caffeine or alcohol really do influence your sleep? These charts will show you. They are a visual representation of your movement through the night.Here is a chart of a good night’s rest for me.

I average seven to seven and a half hours of rest a night. I generally go to bed between 8:30 and 9:00 pm. And since using Sleep Cycle, I’ve come to realize that most nights, no matter what time I go to bed, I wake up around midnight (the 00 on the yellow time bar).  I didn’t realize that I did this, though knew that I am more likely to be awakened by big kids who are loud around this time. Now that makes sense; I am more awake at that time.

Notice, right after midnight, I stirred to almost awake? On this particular night, I didn’t wake up a great deal (I must have been very tired), but I still stirred out of deep sleep just after midnight. And notice the big spike at 4:00 am? My alarm woke me,  but I choose to sleep on until 7:00 am. I guess I needed that extra rest?

Here is another graph that more clearly shows my midnight stirring. Isn’t that odd???

And HERE is a chart of a horrendous night’s rest.

I needed a complete “do-over” of this night!!  I got very.little deep sleep. I have noticed that this is often what my graph looks like on those rare nights when I have had alcohol  (even half a beer) or nights around a visit to Stone … because I get so excited about seeing him!!

And this?


It LOOKS like I’m in a coma, but closer examination is that this night had a malfunction in reading. I guess I didn’t place the phone in the right place on the mattress so it didn’t register my movement … and it finally gave up and just turned itself off somewhere in the night.I’ve found that I enjoy charting my sleep, but don’t actually use the alarm feature. I know that seven and a half hours of sleep is enough for me and I go to bed at a consistent time, so I use my iPod/iHome combination (that I wrote about here) as my alarm and just use the “Advanced Setting” on the Sleep Cycle to simply chart my sleep.As geeky as all of this sounds, it absolutely fascinates me. I want to understand how, when and why things work. Sleep Cycle has been an helpful tool to use to understand more about my sleeping habits. For the small cost of a 99¢ app, it has been an engaging instrument and has the potential to be a wonderful device for people who need a good night’s and want to wake up at a time that optimizes their sleep patterns.If you have a smart phone and you’re even remotely analytic or would like better night’s rest, you should look into the Sleep Cycle app.

So, Sleep Cycle Makes Me Happy!
What makes YoU happy this marvelous Monday morn?

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4 thoughts on “Makes Me Happy Monday : Sleep Cycle

  1. i think you are wrong, You need REM sleep, when you almost wake up in order to feel well rested and deep sleep in order to ‘rest’ your brain. the sleep graph should go up and down every 1.5-2hrs ish. read up on it

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  2. I just used this app for the first time last night and wanted to know what other sleep graphs looked like. You’ve got quite the collection of graphs – thx for sharing 😉

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    1. You are welcome, John. Did you get a “good graph”? I think it’s neat to watch each night’s graph and compare it to how I feel (rested or not) and see how tonight’s might compare to other nights.

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