Innovative App Reinvents the Alarm Clock

With Spring Break less than a month ago, the thing I miss the most is the probably the near eternal slumber I was able to experience every day. That being said, the thing I dread most now that Spring Break is over is waking up each morning to a horrible alarm, forcing me awake in the deepest moment of my dream—just as I am about to save the princess. This is where the iOS application “Sleep Cycle” comes in. For 99 cents, this application claims to wake you up in the lightest sleep state: “the natural way to wake up where you feel rested and relaxed.”

By using the iPhone’s sensitive accelerometer, “Sleep Cycle” monitors the various stages of sleep through slight movements your body emits. The idea is when you place the iPhone near you in bed, the application is able to correlate the two factors to determine the optimal moment within a 30-minute period to wake you up. When you are in deep sleep, or REM sleep, your body tends to be still, while in lighter sleep stages, your body tends to be more restless.

This application proves to be quite useful. For a week, I used this application instead of my regular alarm to wake me up. Every single one of these mornings, I definitely felt the difference between being woken up in a light sleep state versus the deep sleep stage from which I am usually forced to awaken. Unlike the drowsiness I feel when waking up from a deep stage of sleep, “Sleep Cycles’” alarm feels like gentle tap on the shoulder. Along with the alarm clock feature, “Sleep Cycle” also provides a cool little graph every time I use it that depicts the various stages of sleep I experience throughout the night.

However, “Sleep Cycle” is not without its faults. The actual monitoring of sleep is affected by a variety of factors including the thickness of your sheets and the softness of your mattress, both of which might affect the iPhone’s ability to detect movements. The application also requires your iPhone to run throughout the night, which is huge drain on the iPhone’s limited battery. This problem developed for me when I noticed that I did not have a wall socket beside my bed; as a result, every morning my phone would be 30 percent less charged.

At the end of the day, “Sleep Cycle” is a great alternative alarm that will effectively wake you up in the lightest sleep state possible.