back to article Sleep Cycle

Perhaps it’s a sign of the troubled times we live in but I’ve noticed a recent rash of gadgets and apps, such as the Jawbone Up, that are designed to monitor – and hopefully improve – your sleep patterns. I’m a somewhat erratic sleeper myself, so I decided to look at a few of these apps over Christmas. The one that stands out …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wish it worked for me

    Haven't been able to see any help with these devices so I went back to eight shots of Bailey's before bed. That gets me to sleep but I feel like I've been run over by a train when I awake in the morning.

  2. Northern Fop


    Ok, I think there's a lot of FUD out there about electrosensitivity and mobiles causing cancer and all that rot. Nothing out there that's remotely persuasive, and certainly nothing that would stop me using or mobile, or lead me to take away my kids (yeah, like that would go down well).


    Do I really want a transmitter sat 6" from my head for 8 hours a day on top of my normal daily usage? I bet the mattress interferes with the signal (metal springs) and so the phone is more likely to be a higher output than normal too. Hmm, irrational or not, I really don't like the idea of that...

    (icon of man whose brain is melting, natch)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Put it in flight mode to turn off the radios.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Although the only issue I can see is that I'm more than capable of sleeping through a phone alarm, especially when it's muffled by my bedding.

  4. hitmouse
    Thumb Down

    This app has been around at least two years and I can't say I found it very effective during the months I tried it.

  5. Timmay
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    The last thing I want is a fire-prone iPhone* under my head all night, keeping nice and warm (hot) under the insulation of the pillow.

    * or any phone with a Li-ion battery for that matter

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    These (cr)apps don't work...

    They're a placebo...

    1. Tim Greenwood


      The suggestion being that they do work, as they are a placebo.

      Placebo's are concusively proven to work which is why they have to be allowed for in trials.

      1. Annihilator

        Pretty much everything works as placebo if your believe it will

        The suggestion isn't that it therefore "works", it needs to "work better than placebo" in order to be deemed worthwhile. By your standards, homoeopathy works

        The science behind it is non-existent. The app infers that when you're not moving, you're in deep sleep and vice versa. It's been shown that this is largely flawed logic - there is no direct correlation. Sleep labs use these devices to measure rest-activity cycles, but have to rely on electrodes to measure EEG in order to determine "deepness" of sleep.

      2. Pan_Handle
        Thumb Down

        > Placebo's are concusively proven to work which is why they have to be allowed for in trials.

        Placebos are included in randomised controlled trials because they /don't/ work

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          What I was getting at is that this is great, if you'll believe anything you're told. It only takes a little research to see they don't. And as a bonus you save 69p as well.

          Want to wake up feeling refreshed? Allow yourself to get a proper nights sleep and eat some decent food. Don't rely on some tacky app.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Set your alarm for 20 mins before you have to get up then have a quick Sherman in the meantime. Always gets the day off to a good start.

  8. horse of a different colour


    Looks like snake oil to me. Having played around a fair bit with the iPhone, I'd be very surprised if it was sensitive enough to detect movement on the bed (unless you thrash around like Linda Blair).

    I personally use (I have no affiliation with the site), which uses a very simple rule to determine when you should be setting your alarm/when you should be going to bed. And it's FREE.

    1. Annihilator


      It's sensitive enough, there's a demo where it beeps when it's detecting movement (to calibrate it), but yeah, it's still snake-oil. As much as is (free) snake-oil too - there isn't an "average" sleep cycle for people in general. For a specific person, yeah, but not people.

  9. Anonymous Coward
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    Utter bullshine.

    I bought a Zeo Mobile which actually monitors a little more than jiggling about, and it seems to give good data about my sleep patterns.

    If you share a bed with someone any data produced by accelerometers is basically void. This is a waste of 69p.

  10. FlyingPhil
    Thumb Up

    Works for me

    I've been using this App for 18 months or more, usually in blocks of several months at a time. For me, I think it *probably* works. I'm a light sleeper, live in a quiet place, and am pretty certain that - on average - I feel MUCH less "groggy" when I get woken by Sleep Cycle compared with a standard alarm. Of course, its one of those things that is difficult to be truly objective about, and your milage may vary.

    Let me say that I HATE being woken suddenly by a noisy alarm, so I've experimented with various alarm clocks and volume levels over the years (years ago I even wired a variable resistor into my digital alarm clock so I could wind the volume down to the level that was just loud enough to reliably wake me).

    The other App that I used for a year or more before Sleep Cycle was Zen Alarm Clock, that wakes you with a bell that first chimes once then again 9 minutes or so later, then 5 mins later, then 3 then 2 then 1 then 30 seconds...etc...with the theory being that it rouses you slowly (allegedly matching some biorhythm).

    I thought that this Zen App was a gazillion times better than being woken by any standard alarm. In fact, I still use this app sometimes, instead of Sleep Cycle, just for a bit of variation in my life :-)

    I haven't noticed any real difference between the effectiveness of Sleep Cycle compared with Zen - both seem to rouse me equally pleasantly (if being woken up by an alarm can ever really be called pleasant). Its just that Sleep Cycle makes then cool graphs of your sleep pattern over the course of the night.

    1. Craig 12

      Why proper alarms at all?

      We have Sonos in the bedroom, and drift off to pleasing ambient sounds, and wake up to some nice chillout. The sleep timer fades it out slowly, the alarm fades it in. It's not linked to any data, but it's subtle enough not to startle, and it being music, there's no need to turn it off (and risk falling asleep again).

      I also doubt this reviewed app would pick up much movement from a proper memory foam mattress?

  11. Hud Dunlap

    I prefer smart alarm

    Most of the features are similar but smart alarm also tracks sound. This allows you to track things that might wake interfere with your sleep, like your spouses snoring or the neighbor starting his motorcycle to go to work at three am.

    Beer. The best sleep aid.

  12. DJ 2
    Thumb Up

    I've been using this app since just before christmas. For me it seems to be working, I'm awake when the final alarm goes off and not at all zombiefied. Placebo effect or actually working? I don't know but worth giving it a shot.

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