Developer: LexWare Labs AB
Price: $0.99
Version Reviewed: 1.1

Graphics / Sound Rating: ★★★★★
iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★★
User Interface Rating: ★★★★★
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: ★★★★★

Overall Rating: ★★★★★

There are few things in life I value more then my sleep. It’s my best friend, my only love, the jelly to my peanut butter. I love to sleep. I do it a lot, and our interactions will surely suffer if I did not receive a decent amount of sleep the night before.
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This was me a only a few days ago. I’m a new man now. Better, faster, stronger, and better looking if you can believe it. A problem that I had was that I usually am up pretty late reading, writing, playing video games and what not and usually need to wake up pretty early. This is an issue. It got to the point where I fought anybody who looked at me wrong. I was wearing pants around my head and shoes on my feet. I forgot English for a bit. My Madden skills took a steep dive. Then one afternoon, after a small temper tantrum, I was browsing the app store for alarm clocks and I came across this little gem. It’s a mere $0.99 but I fib not when I say I would pay $50 for it. In order to truly understand the greatness of this app, we have to take a little journey. A journey into science… Science land.

Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock works using the iPhone’s accelerometer to analyze your movement through the night. It detects your sleep cycles (hence the name SLEEP CYCLE Alarm Clock) throughout the night and after a couple nights fully determines what your sleep cycles are. You may be asking yourself “What is a sleep cycle Mr. Rithjin?” Well lets take a deeper trip into Science Land… Shall we? The average healthy human goes through a few sleep cycles through the night categorized into four different stages. Helpguide.org categorizes these four stages as such:
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Stage 1 (Drowsiness) – Stage 1 lasts just five or ten minutes. Eyes move slowly under the eyelids, muscle activity slows down, and you are easily awakened.
Stage 2 (Light Sleep) – Eye movements stop, heart rate slows, and body temperature decreases.
Stages 3 & 4 (Deep Sleep) – You’re difficult to awaken, and if you are awakened, you do not adjust immediately and often feel groggy and disoriented for several minutes. Deep sleep allows the brain to go on a little vacation needed to restore the energy we expend during our waking hours. Blood flow decreases to the brain in this stage, and redirects itself towards the muscles, restoring physical energy. Research also shows that immune functions increase during deep sleep.
REM sleep (Dream Sleep) – At about 70 to 90 minutes into your sleep cycle, you enter REM sleep. You usually have three to five REM episodes per night. This stage is associated with processing emotions, retaining memories and relieving stress. Breathing is rapid, irregular and shallow, the heart rate increases, blood pressure rises.

So now that you understand these stages, you must also understand that there is a period when it is natural for the body to awake, and there are periods when if awoken, vital parts of your sleep cycle will be missed and you will turn into a flesh eating zombie. It’s science. What the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock does differently for you is actually determine the most opportune time to wake you based on your body movements. You set your wake up time on the alarm clock and sleep cycle will pay careful attention to your body movements in the 30 minutes up to that specific time, and determine when is best to wake you up with a tune that gently caresses your ear drums and whispers “time to wake up Pooh Bear” in the voice of an angel. Then it feeds you breakfast.
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No that’s my mom… But in all seriousness, this app works. I don’t know, I keep running through it in my head and thinking “well what if it in that 30 minute span there is no good time to wake me up?” or “what if this is voodoo science?” Friends, put these questions out of your mind, because it doesn’t matter. The app works. I NEVER wake up the first time my alarm goes off. For the first week I used this alarm clock, I rose the very second the alarm went off feeling like I had just slept for an entire day. It’s unbelievable. Maybe it’s just something in my mind, but if it is, then I’m just fine with that because it works.

Oh and one last thing… This app is not a substitution for a good night’s rest. It is helpful on nights that you don’t get quite as much sleep as you wanted, but it’s definitely not going to trick your body into thinking you got a solid eight when you only got four hours of sleep. I have tested it, and it will not make up for a lack of sleep. But it’s not advertised to do so, so I’m fine with that.

I could go on and talk about the menus in this app (which are actually very nice) but that stuff doesn’t matter. Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock is $0.99 and you would be insane to not go and buy this app right now. It just works. Period. It does exactly what it advertises which is absolutely amazing. Again, in all seriousness, my days are much more enjoyable when I’m not worrying when I get to go home and pass out.

Posted in: Health & Fitness, iPhone Apps and Games, Reviews

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