About Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock
Who doesn’t like waking up feeling rested and refreshed? Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock claims to help you accomplish this by tracking your sleep patterns throughout the night and waking you up during your lightest phase. This way, you feel naturally rested instead of tired and groggy.
Basically, the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock app works over three steps:
- Sleep Cycle can track your sleep movements using your phone’s microphone, simply by placing it next to you on your nightstand. Or, you can utilize your phone’s built-in accelerometer by placing it on the corner of your bed, under your sheet.
- Then, the Sleep Cycle app will use sound or movement to analyze your sleep throughout the night.
- As you near your pre-set time, Sleep Cycle will wake you up during your lightest sleeping phase. From there, you can use the Intelligent (gently brings you from asleep to completely awake) or Regular (lets you choose a specific time between 1-20 minutes) snooze feature.
In other words, the company claims that Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock can help you wake up better using “science instead of chance.”
Whether you’re using a device running iOS8 (or later) or an Android operating system, Sleep Cycle will generate a sleep graph once you’ve woken up. This way, you’ll be able to see when you were sleeping the lightest and when you were in your deepest phases.
Sleep Cycle also offers other features, including sleep notes (you can leave notes about how well you slept), wake-up notes (your mood upon waking), and heart rate monitoring. The app can even track your activity throughout the day!
You’ve got a lot of questions about Sleep Cycle, and we’ve got answers. So let’s start with the basics: just what is a sleep phase, anyway?
What Are Sleep Cycles?
When humans sleep, we undergo different cycles (also known as sleep phases, or stages) throughout the night, each of which affect our body in different ways. Some phases are very light, where you can easily wake up, while others are very deep.
The most important of these sleep phases is called REM (rapid eye movement), which occurs after about 90 minutes and makes up about 25% of your sleeping cycle.
During REM, your brain is very active (in fact, it’s thought that REM is “involved in the process of storing memories, learning, and balancing your mood”), so it’s where dreaming occurs. Because of this brain activity, your eyes will rapidly dart back and forth while you sleep, giving this phase its unique name.
If you were awakened during your REM sleep phase, you’d probably feel groggy, disoriented, and have difficulty getting your bearings (have you ever woken up and forgotten where you were?). This feeling could last for minutes, or all day.
Clearly, it’s better to awaken during lighter sleep phases. But is this what Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock’s customers are experiencing?
What’s Everyone Saying about Sleep Cycle?
From a customer perspective, Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock seemed to have a mostly positive online customer reputation.
Even though there weren’t any reviews available on iTunes at the time of our research, more than 16,800 customers reviewed the app on Google Play and provided their insights.
There, Sleep Cycle had an average rating of 4.5 stars, with common compliments referencing ease of use, its ability to help you wake up more refreshed (one reviewer even called it “life changing”), and insightful graphs.
On the other hand, common complaints cited high temperature (it seems phones have a tendency to get too hot when running the app all night, which might be uncomfortable if you’re using the accelerometer to track your sleep), failure to work (whether it didn’t track sleep or kept freezing), and failure to experience any improvement in waking up.
From a professional perspective, Psychology Today featured an in-depth review of the Sleep Cycle Alarm app, and concluded that it could provide a lot of usefulness. However, they noted that there are 3 big things you need to remember when looking at your sleep graphs:
- Sleep Cycle won’t be able to differentiate between you actually waking up, and other types of movement that could be present during sleep (such as restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea). According to the company though, the app can differentiate between you and your partner.
- Not all sleep cycles are exactly 90 minutes. Some are 60 minutes, others might be 120. And how long these cycles last can depend on your sleep the night before.
- How long it takes you to fall asleep can change each night as well. And just because it took you longer to fall asleep, doesn’t necessarily mean that you didn’t sleep well.
This means that the information you glean from Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock might not be completely accurate (we’ll come back around to this in the final section).
Finally, MyMorningRoutine also provide an in-depth analysis of the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock app, mostly related to the data it collects. Overall, they found it useful (and yes, a little nerdy).
From a company perspective, Sleep Cycle is brought to you by Northcube, a Swedish game and app development studio founded in 2008. As such, the company wasn’t listed with the Better Business Bureau at the time of our research.
Are customers equally as positive about Sleep Cycle’s price?
How Much Does the Sleep Cycle App Cost?
The Freemium version of Sleep Cycle is no charge (obviously), and includes the following features:
- Intelligent wake-up
- Sleep analysis
- Nightly sleep graph
- Alarm melodies
- Apple Health integration
- Database export
For $1.99 on iTunes or $0.99 on Google Play, the Premium version of Sleep Cycle includes everything found in the Freemium version, in addition to:
- Online back-up
- Sleep aid
- Sleep notes
- Wake-up mood
- Wake-up weather report
- Heart rate tracking
- Philips Hue integration
- Runkeeper integration
How does Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock’s price (and features) compare with other sleep tracking devices?
Are There Similar Options To Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock?
When it comes to electronics that track your sleep and wake you up during the lightest cycle, believe it or not, you’ve actually got tons of options.
Don’t believe us? Try typing “sleep phase alarm” or “sleep tracking alarm” into any search engine, and you’ll quickly see that you have hundreds of products to choose from.
Based on the number of choices you have (and their prices, which can range from just a couple dollars, to several hundred), it’s easy to understand that the exact features they include will vary. On top of this, some will be a physical product you have to order (such as Sense Smart Alarm and ResMed S+), while others will be software-based, like Sleep Cycle.
Bottom line? Some of these options will work better than others for your needs, so it’s important to do your research before making a decision (you’re already off to a great start!).
So, is it worth giving the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock a try?
Should You Slumber with Sleep Cycle?
Given Sleep Cycle’s ultra-low price (assuming you already own a smartphone, of course) and the basic sleep tracking features it offers, it’s difficult not to recommend at least giving it a try. And if you ultimately find out it’s not for you, then you’ll only be out a couple bucks.
With this said, it’s often the case that you get what you pay for. So if you’re expecting all the same features found in high-priced, standalone sleep trackers, you’ll probably be disappointed.
But if you’re looking for something simple and straightforward, Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock might be right up your alley.
As we’ve discussed in some of our previous reviews though, sleep trackers—even the expensive ones—don’t necessarily have reputations for pinpoint accuracy, so any information you glean shouldn’t be viewed as rigorous science. And even if the information were completely accurate, what would you do with it? It certainly won’t help you sleep any better (for this, be sure to read 9 Simple Ways To Improve Your Sleep).
But by waking up in your lightest sleep phase, Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock just might help you wake up a whole lot more refreshed.
Did you give Sleep Cycle a try? Tell us what you experienced by writing a review below!