*Note, you should skip the rest of this article and go down to the last paragraph. It’s really all that matters.
It’s currently 5:00 in the morning. I was woken up 10 minutes ago after 4 hours and 49 minutes in bed to the refreshing and beautiful sound of Shakira’s song, “Gitana.” As I gently came in to consciousness, I found myself feeling invigorated, alert, and ready to face the day. There was almost no hesitation as I considered, and immediately dismissed, hitting the snooze button. To the right is pictured the only thing that could possibly have made waking up any more pleasant.
We’ve all had these mornings. We’ve also had, probably far too often, the mornings that you just can’t seem to pull yourself out of bed. While there are several factors that contribute to this, one that greatly effects you immediately upon waking, and for the subsequent hour that you spend trying to fight off the grogginess that comes with sleep inertia (to be covered in a multi-part series on sleep coming soon) is which phase of your sleep cycle you’re on when you wake up.
This is going to be short post, so I’m going to get down to the meet and potatoes. Sleep Cycle ensures that you wake up during the right phase of sleep. It is supposed to do this by monitoring the amount of movement you make while you sleep, which varies during the phases.
I’m about to fellate Sleep Cycle like nobody’s business, so for the sake of a balanced article, I’ve decided to include the most negative review I could find. I just looked at the iTunes App Store and saw this review from a guy who one night set his iPhone on a table so that it couldn’t measure his movement:
But one night, I decided to test if my new love was truly using my data, and I simply placed the phone on my bedside table instead of my bed.
The scene to which I woke up was horrifying.
I picked up the phone expecting a flat line across reflecting the movement it never felt, but this was not the case.
It said my sleep was full of fake dips and dives as though it were in bed with me. It was full of fake quality ratings as if it actually knew me. That’s when I realized that the past month had been a sham… It was nothing short of heartbreaking.
If you don’t believe me, try it for yourself, and you will see.
I loved you, Sleep Cycle, but you lied to me, so we must go our separate ways. It’s not me; it’s you.
I bet that he was feeling exceptionally fucking refreshed before feeling horrified. Here’s the thing, he doesn’t at any point say that it didn’t help him wake up feeling more refreshed. Additionally, this is pretty much the most negative review out there. The best part is: wait for it… He’s wrong! Courtesy of Mac Rumors, which considers this problem to be “[Resolved]”
“I can confirm it’s NOT fake. When place on the table I get a straight line. When placed in bed I get a sleep analysis.”
“Sleep Cycle needs one, sometimes two, nights to calibrate to your accelerometer. Usually the calibration is not needed but on some (very few) devices the accelerometer is too sensitive and can detect movement when there was none during the first one or two nights. If you place your iPhone/iPod in bed, according to the instructions, then this is not a problem.
When calibrated, Sleep Cycle is extremely sensitive to movement. It can detect the slightest vibrations. For example, you walking past the iPhone/iPad or a car/truck passing by on the street outside.
When you place your iPhone/iPad on a flat surface then Sleep Cycle detects very little movement. It then assumes that the users movements are very difficult to detect and goes into a mode where every movement is treated very seriously (and creates a big spike in the graph).
If you still feel Sleep Cycle creates inaccurate graphs, you can contact the developer. They analyze your data and check if you have discovered an issue with the Sleep Cycle movement-detecting code. “
Boom. There are also a few “Doesn’t work” reviews, but they are rare, and honestly, I’d likely blame the issues on user error, as there’s a preponderance of positive reviews, and humans all pretty much exhibit the same patterns of sleep with few exceptions. Other negative reviews are there to whine about various features that people want or don’t want, which are ultimately tangential to the application’s primary function- making it so that you wake up feeling spiffy. If you’re looking for fancy graphs to conduct extensive scientific research on your sleep patterns, there are better options at prices well over a hundred times what you pay for Sleep Cycle.
Suffice it say that I love this App. Others love this App. It’s only $0.99. You will wake up feeling better. Buy it. (On a general note, I’ve yet to figure out how to monetize links, so this review is about as benevolent as it can get. I’m serious when I say “Buy it!”).
If yall have any experiences with this app, or others similar to it, I’d love to hear about it in the comments!