How Did You Sleep Last Night? This Alarm App Can Tell You!

“How did you sleep?”

It’s the question I ask my kid every morning. At two, he really doesn’t have a substantive answer, but for whatever reason the question is just reflexive—most likely because getting good sleep is so important to our well-being.

Getting good sleep is more than just getting enough sleep. If you toss and turn for nine hours, chances are you’ll wake up feeling worse than if you slept soundly for seven. It can be tough to pinpoint what contributes to getting good sleep, and there’s an app I’ve been using that’s really helped me nail this down a bit.

It’s called Sleep Cycle, and there are a lot of apps out there like it. I’ve tried a few and like this one best, but if you don’t want to pony up the $2, definitely try some of the free sleep cycle alarms out. You might find one that works well for you!

There are two main ways that Sleep Cycle has helped me get better sleep. First, it monitors you while you sleep and wakes you up when you’re in light sleep, rather than a deep sleep. This alone has done wonders for the quality of my sleep. When you set your alarm for 7am, Sleep Cycle considers 7am the latest time that you can be up within a 30 minute window. If you’re in light sleep at 6:45 or 6:57, it will wake you then, so you can float into wakefulness rather than being dragged awake from a deep sleep.

The other cool thing that I’ve been playing with in the app is the “Sleep Notes” function. There are preset notes, or you can write you own. Mine include things like “stressful day,” “coffee after 4pm,” and “refined sugar.” When you set your alarm for the morning, you can tick off any of the behaviors you’ve set up, and you can see reports on how they impact your sleep.

Coffee after 4pm and refined sugar both tend to lead to worse sleep for me. When I’ve had a stressful day, though, I was surprised to learn that I tend to sleep better.

Learning about what interferes with good sleep lets you be more strategic throughout your day. For example, I’ve been trying to stop with the coffee at 3pm at the latest, and I’ve been getting much better sleep as a result.

How did you sleep last night? This alarm app can tell you!

In the morning, you get to see a nifty graph of how you slept. The peaks and valleys on the graph represent your own sleep cycles from the night before. According to the makers of the app, a sleep cycle lasts around 90 minutes, where you go from light sleep to deep sleep and back again.

How did you sleep last night? This alarm app can tell you!

The wakeup that really sold me on the app happened on the Monday after Easter, when my husband and I decided to get up at 4am with a six hour drive ahead of us. Normally an alarm at 4am would be like a punch in the face, and maybe it was a little bit psychosomatic, but I woke up at 4 in the morning feeling like a person. This alarm doesn’t work miracles—I was still sleepy—but I was able to think and function. Sold!

The app also has a “Smart Snooze,” which is kind of annoying. The snooze time durations become shorter closer to your desired wake up time, which means a 30 or 45 second snooze at times.

I’ve been using sleep cycle for a couple of months now, and I feel like my sleep quality has really improved. Have any of you tried Sleep Cycle or similar apps to track your sleep and behavior?

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Hareesh R
Hareesh Rabout a year ago

After using it for a year, everyday, I can confidently say Sleep Cycle is really an incredible app. I'm not usually much into reviewing anything but I feel it as a need to review because like me many of other people suffer from lack of sleep. Now not only do I be able to sleep and wake up fresh at 6 AM but boy it's really one of the most satisfying thing to see your sleep pattern after waking up. I highly recommend it.

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Richard A
Richard A2 years ago

Thank you for this article.

Mary F
Mary Frances B2 years ago

WoW! Thanks!!

M S2 years ago


Siyus Copetallus
Siyus C3 years ago

Thank you for sharing

Jenny G.
Jenny G3 years ago

Sounds like a great idea to try the app or at least something similar. Some nights I sleep well and others not much at all.

Jeff Floss
Jeff Floss3 years ago

I didn't know a lot of this, thanks for sharing!

Caroline B.
Caroline B3 years ago

Time to research.

Igor Panteleyev
Past Member 3 years ago

Alone as always... why?

Iskrica K.

thank you