Sleep Cycle is an amazing app that helps you to get the best out of your morning by waking you up at the right time during your sleep cycle. Using a standard alarm clock is like a lottery every morning, if it wakes you up in a light sleep you win, if it wakes you up in a deep sleep you, and everyone around you, lose!
I recently found out about this app when I realized that I wasn’t getting a lot of hours of sleep, but I wanted to ensure that I was getting the best quality sleep possible. I quickly realized that one of the most important aspects of a good night’s sleep, is a good morning wake up. No, guys, not that kind of wake up.
The state at which you wake up determines your wakefulness and energy level for the morning, as well as your perception of the success of your sleeping time. If you wake up gradually in the right part of your sleep cycle, while you’re in a light sleep, you will feed so much more refreshed and energized. The challenge then is to avoid the snooze button!
I’ve found a few things to be helpful for me when using this app, so here are my tips for your best nights sleep and morning wake up.
1. Put your phone in airplane mode.
There’s nothing worse than having a phone right next to your body buzzing every time you get an email or message, or Angry birds wants you to come back and play because you haven’t played in a week. You need to just be ok with not having your phone accessible, and enjoy your sleep buzz free.
I haven’t looked into this much, and I’m sure there’s no definitive research yet, but I also like the idea of not having wifi and wireless signals travelling so closely to my body for 8 hours a night.
2. Use the sleep aid function.
There’s a built in sleep aid function that uses soothing sounds to clear your mind and minimize distraction while trying to fall asleep. It actually works, and it gradually turns itself off when the phone realizes that you’ve fallen asleep. If you’re sleeping next to someone, just keep it at a low volume so only you can hear it, my wife just made fun of me because it sounded like I was at a spa. In my defines, I thought she would like that, but it turns out she just wants to go to the actual spa!
3. Change the wake up phase to 15 minutes.
The wake up phase is the length of time that the app starts its decision to possibly wake you up. For example, if you want to wake up before 7:30am, it defaults to a wake up phase of 7:00-7:30am, which means if at 7:02 you are in a light sleep, it will wake you up. I’ve found that it wakes me up too early for my liking, even though it’s at the best time of my sleep cycle, and I wanted to wake up a little closer to my goal time. Since changing to a 15 minute sleep cycle I have found no difference and no mornings where it’s woken me up from a deep sleep, so that extra 15 minutes is appreciated!
Like I mentioned earlier, avoid the snooze button. Determine in your mind that you're going to get out of bed the first time the alarm goes off and you will not regret it! I've regretted hitting the snooze button way more times than I've regretted waking up the first time with Sleep Cycle.
4. If you have kids…good luck.
Pretty consistently, almost every morning, my son would walk into my room and like a ninja he’ll grab my phone and start playing games back in his room. Since I started using this app, we’ve had to nip that habit in the bud! Your phone needs to be plugged in, so get a power bar next to your bed and tell your kids not to touch it or else you’re going to wake up like the incredible hulk!