Sleep Cycle (not a bike post)

Among the stuff I’ve downloaded for my precious (and I mean that in a Gollum way) iphone 4 is the cod-scientific “Sleep Cycle” app. It purports to track your levels of sleep during the night with the intention of waking you up in the morning in a window of light sleep, so you’ll feel refreshed instead of groggy.

Problem is, I’m a bit anal about timekeeping and if I need to wake up at a specific time, I like to manage it to the minute so I know how much I can snooze or laze before getting out of bed. So the alarm’s not much good to me (though it is a lovely, calm, relaxing alarm – I’m not 100% sure it’d actually wake me up, mind).

What I do like are the graphs (I like graphs almost as much as I like maps) that it produces to demonstrate how you’ve been sleeping. You put the iphone next to your pillow as you go to sleep, and it records how much you toss and turn with its built-in accelerometer. And produces results like these:

On the left is last night – a good night’s sleep, on my own, with one loo break. On the right is a night with B and with the puppy. And while it’s obviously so unscientific to be almost worthless, I did think the latter graph was quite an amusing illustration of how much less restful it is with a small creature padding around, pooing where it shouldn’t and leaping onto the bed at regular intervals!

I wonder if this app is really any use – I’d need to be willing to operate according to fuzzy alarm timing, and the graphs are really just pretty pictures. But in terms of inventive and original ways to use the iphone’s capabilities, I’m impressed despite myself.

  1. That is fairly cool. I’m sure there was a similar app that reckoned it could track your physical activity using the accelerometer (mentioned on BR I think).

    As you have pointed out simply using the motion of your pillow to judge sleep could lead to a few anomalous results. I regularly wake up in the morning to find a different little person snuggled into/on my arm, but have no recolleciton of them joining me during the night so don’t properly wake up unless they tread on me….

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