Sleep Cycle Smartphone Apps Wake You When You’re Rested

I was never a worse insomniac than when I was teaching. I would often spend nights just staring at the ceiling, my mind racing with lesson ideas, concerns about students, or replaying challenging events from the day.

Now, smartphone apps can actually monitor your sleep cycles and wake you up with an alarm at the perfect moment to help you feel most rested. I’ve been trying it for the last few days and each day have risen remarkably more rested than usual.


The Apps & How they Work

Sleep as Android is the Android app I’ve been using, but Sleep Cycle for iOS has a good reputation too. With both, you set the alarm, place your smartphone on your mattress or under your pillow so it can monitor the vibrations in your bed. It interprets your motions to create a graph of your sleep activity and show you your most (and least) restful sleep times.

screenshots of the SleepCycle app with graphs of sleep activity

Instead of setting an alarm for a specific time (like 6:15), you set the alarm for a range around your target wake up time. My range is between 6:00 and 6:30, and it wakes me up anytime within that range that I’ll be most rested.

The Verdict

I’ve only been doing this for a week, and it might be the placebo effect, but I have been genuinely more energetic, present, and aware thanks to getting better sleep. I haven’t needed to hit the snooze button for four days, so I’m waking up and bolting right into my day. Give it a try and see if it works for you!

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Written by

Ted Curran is a Learning Experience Designer/Developer for Autodesk. He is committed to empowering educators and learners to create transformational change through effective pedagogy and technology integration. You can follow Ted on Mastodon, LinkedIn or learn more at my 'About" page. These thoughts are my own.

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