I’ve been using some variation of a “smart alarm” for a couple of years now – I suffered from insomnia for a while and so looking after my sleep became a priority. I first started with an app called Smart Alarm Clock and then moved to Sleep Cycle. Both of them are great apps, although I found that the latter worked slightly better for me.
If you’ve never tried a smart alarm: the basic idea is that your sleep is monitored (usually using the vibrations caused as you move around in bed) and then you’re woken when your sleep cycle is at its highest, nearest-to-being-awake stage, near to the time you specify. The result of this is that you feel more rested and less sluggish when you get up.
My sleep has improved drastically since I started using smart alarms, and it’s also been interesting to track the various things that affect my sleep: day of the week, alcohol and caffeine intake, etc. I’d highly recommend giving one of the apps above a try – they’re cheap, and the benefits can be fantastic.
For the past few months I’ve been using the Jawbone UP to track my sleep (as well as a lot of other things). The UP is a wristband that you actually wear 24/7, and like a smart alarm app it monitors your sleep. It’s better for two reasons, however: it’s much more accurate because you wear it; and it wakes you by vibrating (meaning that if you share a room the other person isn’t woken by your alarm).
The UP comes with a corresponding iPhone app, which you sync it to by plugging in the band. I’m planning a longer, more comprehensive review of the UP, but for now here’s my last 2 months of sleep data, which I downloaded in csv form from the Jawbone website and plugged into a chart.
Duration of sleep per night in January and February of 2013
Average: 7h 16m
Median: 7h 10m
Most sleep: 9h 45m on Sunday 13th January
Minimum: 5h 10m on Monday 21st January
Published on March 18th, 2013