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Sleep Cycle: smart alarm clock

Sleep tracker to better health

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It’s common knowledge that the most unpopular household appliance is the alarm clock (followed closely, of course, by the nose-hair trimmer). It’s the one we’re least happy to hear from but can't live without.

For a healthier relationship to the daily ritual of waking up, switch to Sleep Cycle, an innovative and friendly alarm clock designed to rouse you when your body is naturally ready.

Here’s the science: A full cycle of sleep states lasts about 90 minutes, and you go through several throughout the night. First up is light sleep, from which you can be easily roused. Second is a deeper non-REM sleep, when you're stone-cold out. The final stage is REM sleep, which is when you have your weird dreams about roller coasters and clowns. In each state, you move and make noises differently. Sleep Cycle uses your device’s microphone and accelerometers to track those movements and noises to try to figure out when you’re at the lightest part of the cycle.

You’ve seen your workout stats – now behold your sleep stats.

So instead of setting an alarm at precisely 6:30 a.m., for instance, tell Sleep Cycle you want to “Wake up between 6:15 a.m. – 6:45 a.m.” From there, Sleep Cycle waits for you to drift off, evaluates your sleep patterns, and determines the best time to rouse you within that window.

Rather than shock you with a hideous, truck-backing-up beeping noise, Sleep Cycle uses tones with names like Warm Breeze, Nightingale, Dreaming Near the Sea and Caribbean Cove. (The Apple Watch version bypasses sounds entirely, nudging you with a gentle vibration instead.) Over time, the app uses all this data to learn your habits, patterns and snoring volume to better zero in on your lightest sleep phase.

When it comes to sleep, you need quality and quantity.

For this reason, it’s important to place your iPhone in the right spot. If Sleep Cycle is listening for sounds, it goes on your nightstand; if it’s tracking your movement, it should be tucked between your sheet and mattress. (The app’s website has more specific instructions.)

The Watch version also features a “snore stopper” that can detect when you’re sawing logs and give you a silent, subtle vibration – just enough to encourage you to change positions without waking you up.

And in case you’re wondering: Yes, Sleep Cycle has a snooze button.

    Sleep Cycle: smart alarm clock

    Sleep tracker to better health

    VIEW