Turn Your iPhone Into a Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock
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Jay takes a nap with the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock app for iPhone, which uses the phone's accelerometer to measure how well you're sleeping...and wake you up at the best point in your sleep cycle.

Transcript


Hover Male Speaker: This episode is brought to you by Hover, the easiest way to buy domain names and do more with them. Get 10% off today by visiting hover.com/MRMOBILE. Jay Goldman: Hi! I'm Jay Goldman, and you are watching Mr. Mobile on butterscotch.com. Today's episode is dedicated to all my fellow insomniacs who wake up in the morning feeling like you just been hit by a truck, despite the fact that you've got six or 7 hours of sleep. If this sounds like you, and you find yourself wandering through your day like a zombie unable to pay attention. You definitely want to check out a new app in the iPhone App store called Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock. Basic promise behind this app is that everybody takes a certain cycle as they're sleeping through the night, so you go from awake down through sort of a dreamy state and you get to the bottom where you are in REM sleep or Rapid Eye Movement sleep which is where your real rest happened, and then you kind a cycle back and forth, so if you plotted out in a graph it's sort of look like this. If you had an alarm clock that was aware of your sleep cycle and could wake you up at the point where you were a ready more awake, you wake up feeling a whole lot more rested, and that's exactly what sleep cycle alarm clock does. So basically before I go to bed at night I set my alarm in sleep cycle for the time that I want to be woken up back at or the latest time that I can wake up at, you have to readjust your thinking of alarm clocks a little bit here. So if I set it for example 9 o'clock, I'm setting that I need to be up by 9 o'clock, this will pay attention to my sleeping for the night and then it will wake me up in a half hour window leading up to 9 o'clock, so anytime between 8.30 and 9.00, when I'm already the most awake. So you're probably wondering how the hell does it know how I'm sleeping at night. Well, it makes use of the accelerometer in the iPhone in a very novel way that we haven't seen in a whole lot of. In order to sense my movement during the night, which shows what point on that, so the more awake I'm, the more I move around in the bed, the more sleep I am and all the way down into REM sleep or I'm not moving at all, it can record all that using the accelerometer. So as illustrated on the instructions, tab which is the first tab when you open the app, you basically just place your iPhone on your bed underneath the fit-it sheet up near your head you leave it plugged into the changing port, it will deplete the battery overnight otherwise, so you definitely want to make sure that is plugged in and because its plugged in and it's charging it can get a little bit warm, so your want to make sure that its only covered by the fit-it sheet and not by anything else like a pillow or do they cover anything like that. I usually place it so; it's roughly next to my head up underneath the fit-it sheet with the bed. And then you go to sleep like you normally would, it will sense your movement during the night, and it will awake you up in the morning. Now the first time you do, so if you want to make sure that you got your position correct, there is a test mode that's the next tab here and when you place it to test mode, you just press start, any time you move the phone it will make that noise the more you move the phone the louder the noise will be, so what you want to do is place it into test mode position it roughly where it will be and then lie on the bed and just roll over gently and see if they can detect it. As long as it can your position is great, you will also know in the morning when you look at the graph that gets produced whether it was recording okay or not because if it wasn't recording it look like you where in REM sleep for the most of the movement. So every morning when you wake up, it will actually produce a great looking graph like that, that shows you your sleep cycles for the night, and you can see where you were at different points, and you can also see where you woke up, so I actually woke up when I was fairly awake already that's the end of the graph on this side. But there are definitely some mornings where at that end point in the graph I was actually very, very much asleep and when this went off if may be very grumpy. So you will find actually that the application calibrates itself it takes about two nights for it to do that, so you want to stick with it. Once it's learned your sleep cycle it's actually better it knowing when to wake you up. So I found over the first two nights it didn't wake me up at an ideal point but starting on the third night it actually did definitely get better with that. You'll also notice when you're looking at graph here that you can share this graph directly by e-mail or on Facebook, if you've done Facebook connect. And it's actually kind of fun to share with your friends or if you share your bed with somebody, share with the person who you share your bed with and that actually a sort of fun to be able to kind of exchange them and see how you slept the night before. Now that thus rise actually a question that's answered in the frequently asked questions on their website, what happens if I do share my bed with somebody else and they move during the night. Its actually not a problem up, according to the makers of sleep cycle alarm clock, your body in the bed actually kind of isolates your movement and so when you are bedmates moving their movements will kind to stop at your body and not make the way through to the phone. So it shouldn't pick those up. It probably also won't work if you got one of those crazy isolation mattresses with the individually pocketed coils the one where they drop a bowling ball on the bed and it just kind of bounces in place because obviously your motion won't set off the phone, so you can learn all of these things by putting into the test mode and you know lie down on the bed with your bed partner and have them move and see if it detects it and also make sure that it can record yours also. There are some settings in here basically two settings one to reset the calibration, so that's what it learns over the first two nights, the other one is to pick the sound that it's going to play to wake you up in the morning and its comes preloaded with the bunch of sounds, they're all sort of soft gentle wakeup noises that ones called warm breeze, this one is called sunrise very peaceful ways to wake up in the morning rather than a beeping alarm clock going off and the phone also vibrates when its doing that so the combination of that sort of soft noise playing next to your head and the vibration is generally enough to wake you up. You might find if you're really, really heavy sleeper that you want to set a backup alarm just using the iPhone's regular alarm for just after the cutoff time, so if you had said I have to be up by 9 you might want to set an alarm clock in the iPhone alarm for say 9:01. The one thing about the application I don't actually love is that to turn off the alarm in the morning you hit the home key on your iPhone, so you have just woken up you kind to have to reach under the sheet to grab the phone that's not usually that much of a problem because its up your head also there is a chord hanging out, so you can easily kind of find it and get to it. But because you have to turn it off by hitting the home key it closes the application and the one thing that you probably want to do right then is look at your graph from the night before. So the alarm goes off, you hit the home and it closes the application and then you open it up again to get back to the graph I would prefer that they had put in some sort of button or something that allowed you to turn off the alarm. They probably don't want to do that just in case you turn it off, during the night some how using the touch screen so the using the hard button here that actually has so get press but I would say its probably not going to trigger if its underneath your sheet, so it would be nice to see that change in the next version. So again sleep cycle alarm clock, $0.99 check the show notes on butterscotch.com for a link directly to the application and I wish you have an endless supply of peaceful sleeps. I'm Jay Goldman this is been Mr. Mobile on butterscotch.com. Thanks for watching and we'll catch you next. Butterscotch, tasty tech, delicious downloads. Male Speaker: This episode is brought to you by hover, the easiest way to buy domain names and do more with them. Get 10% off today by visiting hover.com/MRMOBILE.