SleepCycle: The Lifesaver

Maybe it’s just me, but just because I’ve set an alarm (or 7) for the morning, doesn’t guarantee I’ll be waking up and making it to class. I’m one of those people who has become so accustomed to turning off my alarm while I’m half asleep and not even noticing. It’s gotten to the point where it’s so bad, my roommate has to wake me up for most of my classes to ensure I’ll actually get up and go to them. She probably got so tired of this responsibility that she decided to introduce me to this app, but nevertheless, it has become a lifesaver.


I love talking about times where technology is useful, and this is definitely one of them. The app is called “Sleep Cycle” and this is how it works: say you want to wake up at 9am. You would set your sleep cycle app to wake you up any time within that thirty minute window, so your alarm will go off at some point between 8:30 and 9. The reason for this is because your phone will sense when you are in your lightest sleep within those 30 minutes, and sound the alarm when this is detected. The app has a built in accelerometer, which tracks your movements while you are sleeping, and is therefore able to determine which phase of sleep you are in – awake, sleep, and deep sleep. It is important that the phone be positioned facedown either on a bedside table, or on a spot of your mattress where it will stay still and untouched. Another cool feature about the app is that you are able to see your sleep cycle/phases mapped out on a graph the next morning, so you are able to tell what time you fell asleep, how many times you were awake during the night, and exactly how long you were deep sleeping for.


I always feel refreshed and ready to wake up when I hear my alarm and never feel the need to go back to bed. I wanted to learn a little more about how sleep cycles work, and why it was so important to wake up while you were in a light sleep. This article stresses the importance of having a full, and uninterrupted night of sleep, so that all stages of sleep can be reached and completed. When we are restless and waking up, we have less of a chance of getting to a deep sleep. Deep sleep, or stage four sleep, is when our energy is restored, tissue is grown and repaired, growth hormones are released, etc. Disrupting this cycle of sleep can leave us feeling drowsy, startled, sick, and in my case, late for class!

6 thoughts on “SleepCycle: The Lifesaver

  1. dhc5097

    In 10th grade my health teacher instructed all of her students to download the app SleepCycle for a week for us to see if it had a beneficial impact on our sleep. Ever since that day I have used the app and I can personally say it is a life saver. The app tracks how much sleep you get per night as well as the quality of your sleep, which allows you to study your sleep patterns and adjust if needed. The app also has a built in alarm clock which is very useful. I believe apps like this are beneficial to the individual because you can study your sleep pattern. I came across an article explaining how to have a healthy sleep routine.

  2. Anthony Michael Calligaro

    I have never heard of this app before, but I think it may have just saved my GPA. Every night before bed, I will set my alarm clock to go off 8 times (yes, I said 8), once every 2 minutes. Unfortunately, when I finally sit up in bed at around the fifth alarm, I will turn off the last three alarms, lie back down for a second, and fall asleep for another two hours. This process has repeated itself more times than I can count, causing me to miss classes that I should really be going to. I’ve gotten much better over the past few weeks, due to a few tricks. Check out this article (link below) for a few effective ways to become a “morning person” and wake up on time. Once I started putting my alarm clock on the other side of the room, waking up has become much easier. Nevertheless, I am still very excited to try out this SleepCycle app.

  3. Thomas Garvin

    I found this app through a friend and used it for about a week, contrary to your positive tone towards its effectiveness, I hated it. Not only did the app wake me up nearly an hour before I wanted to rise, but I still felt soggy when I woke up in the morning. However, I believe in the content of your article regarding sleep cycles. I took psychology last year and understand the importance especially of REM sleep. Maybe I have a sleep deficiency such as sleep apnea that is throwing off this app? Are there any cases that causes this app to fault? Heres an article discussing how irregular sleeping habits can have some nasty effects on your health:

  4. Lauren Eve Ribeiro

    I find this blog post really interesting and relatable. On monday morning I actually slept an hour past my alarm and ended up having to run to class. I ended up downloading the app after reading your blog post and I am very excited to see how it works. I think it would have been cool if in your blog you added studies about how much people click snooze before downloading the app and how much people click snooze after downloading the app and see how much of a difference it actually makes.

  5. Joe Garrett

    I use SleepCycle as well and I agree that it is a lifesaver! It is a fantastic app that has made me more aware of exactly how much sleep I am getting per night and the quality of my sleep each night. I also enjoy the way the app lets you look at your sleep data over an extended period of time and you can see if your sleep habits have improved, stayed the same, or gotten worse. It would be interesting to set up some sort of experiment to see if SleepCycle is more effective at waking us up than a standard alarm clock. Perhaps this could be done using our class as a sample group, if people are willing to volunteer. Here is an article talking about some of the things an app like SleepCycle can’t tell you about your sleeping habits –

  6. Candace Burke

    I just wrote a post similar to this and came across research as to why you don’t even remembering turning off your alarm in the the mornings. A few minutes before and after we wake up, we go through this state of amnesia and don’t remember a lot. This is also why most of the time we don’t remember the few minutes before we fall asleep.

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