Sleep Cycle

Here is the snooze


iOS App of the Week 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 the most is Sleep Cycle from Maciek Drejak Labs.

Sleep Cycle iOS app screenshot Sleep Cycle iOS app screenshot

Place your phone on your mattress and your head on the pillow...

Rather than relying on expensive specialist hardware – as the Jawbone Up does – Sleep Cycle uses the accelerometer built into the iPhone to monitor your movement as you kip. This allows it to determine when you’re moving from deep sleep to lighter sleep, so that it can wake you during a light snooze phase – rather than shocking you awake during deep sleep and leaving you feeling like a zombie.

You need to place the iPhone on your mattress when you go to bed – the app includes a test mode to help you figure out the best position – and then set the alarm on the app for your normal wake-up time. The app monitors your movements during the night to get an idea of your personal sleep pattern, and then initiates its ‘wake-up phase’ as the time for your alarm approaches.

Sleep Cycle iOS app screenshot Sleep Cycle iOS app screenshot

Pick your preferences and set your alarm

The default wake-up phase starts 30 minutes before your alarm is due to go off, although you can change that if you want to. The app then monitors your sleep state during the wake-up phase and wakes you as you start to move into a lighter sleep.

There are a couple of minor problems with the app, the main one being that it doesn’t work with Tempur foam mattresses, as the foam absorbs the vibration from your movements. And if you sleep for a full seven or eight hours you may need to keep the handset plugged in.

Sleep Cycle iOS app screenshot Sleep Cycle iOS app screenshot

Select when you'd like the app to start nudging you awake - and what sound to play when it does

There have also been some quite heated debates on the net about how effective apps like these are, and it certainly hasn't yet helped with my intermittent bouts of insomnia. But when I manage to sleep through the night I do find that Sleep Cycle helps to reduce the living-dead syndrome when I wake up in the morning and gives me a better start to the day. ®

We make our selection of the best iPhone, iPod and iPad downloads every Thursday. It you think there's an app we should be considering, please let us know.

More iOS App of the Week Winners

Dermandar
Panorama
KitchenPad 08 Wizard Hailo Coach's Eye
75%
Sleep Cycle iOS app icon

Sleep Cycle

The true effectiveness of the app may be open to question, but it certainly makes ingenious use of the iPhone’s built-in accelerometer.
Price: £0.69 RRP

Narrower topics


Other stories you might like

  • AI tool finds hundreds of genes related to human motor neuron disease

    Breakthrough could lead to development of drugs to target illness

    A machine-learning algorithm has helped scientists find 690 human genes associated with a higher risk of developing motor neuron disease, according to research published in Cell this week.

    Neuronal cells in the central nervous system and brain break down and die in people with motor neuron disease, like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) more commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease, named after the baseball player who developed it. They lose control over their bodies, and as the disease progresses patients become completely paralyzed. There is no currently no verified cure for ALS.

    Motor neuron disease typically affects people in old age and its causes are unknown. Johnathan Cooper-Knock, a clinical lecturer at the University of Sheffield in England and leader of Project MinE, an ambitious effort to perform whole genome sequencing of ALS, believes that understanding how genes affect cellular function could help scientists develop new drugs to treat the disease.

    Continue reading
  • Need to prioritize security bug patches? Don't forget to scan Twitter as well as use CVSS scores

    Exploit, vulnerability discussion online can offer useful signals

    Organizations looking to minimize exposure to exploitable software should scan Twitter for mentions of security bugs as well as use the Common Vulnerability Scoring System or CVSS, Kenna Security argues.

    Better still is prioritizing the repair of vulnerabilities for which exploit code is available, if that information is known.

    CVSS is a framework for rating the severity of software vulnerabilities (identified using CVE, or Common Vulnerability Enumeration, numbers), on a scale from 1 (least severe) to 10 (most severe). It's overseen by First.org, a US-based, non-profit computer security organization.

    Continue reading
  • Sniff those Ukrainian emails a little more carefully, advises Uncle Sam in wake of Belarusian digital vandalism

    NotPetya started over there, don't forget

    US companies should be on the lookout for security nasties from Ukrainian partners following the digital graffiti and malware attack launched against Ukraine by Belarus, the CISA has warned.

    In a statement issued on Tuesday, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency said it "strongly urges leaders and network defenders to be on alert for malicious cyber activity," having issued a checklist [PDF] of recommended actions to take.

    "If working with Ukrainian organizations, take extra care to monitor, inspect, and isolate traffic from those organizations; closely review access controls for that traffic," added CISA, which also advised reviewing backups and disaster recovery drills.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022