Relationship status: devoted entirely to the Sleep Cycle app. Besides the Messages app, I struggle to think of an app that I've used longer or more religiously. I've used it on FOUR generations of iPhone! SIX years! I have over 1400 nights under my belt, and over 15 MONTHS of sleep recorded. Now that's dedication to something great.
So what is the Sleep Cycle app? Long story short, it's an app you activate when you go to bed that acts as a sleep tracker and alarm clock. Long story long, IT IS SO MUCH MORE. Keep scrolling for why I love it so much!
1. Falling asleep FAST
A tiny bit of background on how the app works - you have to open the app every night to set your alarm (or lack of alarm) for the next morning. After you pick a time window and tell the app what you've been up to that day (more on both of these things later), the alarm is set and the app stays running in the foreground all night! What this translates to is, once you set your alarm and set your phone aside, you COMMIT to falling asleep. Gone are the nights of scrolling through feeds waiting to doze off. This app has trained me to fall asleep in 5 minutes or less, every night, without fail. That's so valuable to the quality of rest I get!
2. Gentle Wake-ups
As I mentioned in the previous point, you set a window of time during which you want to be woken up. Mine is 20 minutes long, so if I set my alarm to 7:00am, the app will wake me up between 6:40 and 7:00. As I sleep, the app tracks my "wakefulness," which determines what moment during that window I am already most awake so that the alarm will be the least disruptive. Additionally, the alarm sounds the app offers are relatively calm and are selected randomly each morning! I vividly remember the days in high school when my alarm would jolt me awake with "WAMP WAMP WAMP WAMP" and just RUIN my morning right as it started. That sound STILL gives me anxiety. Now I wake up gently and naturally, and am no longer the cranky morning monster I once was. #blessed
3. Identifying Positive Daily Habits
You can view the data that Sleep Cycle collects about your sleep in many, many ways. My favorite piece of data is one you personalize yourself; sleep notes. Your sleep notes are behaviors you want to track in relation to your sleep (you indicate these when you set your alarm each night). Some of mine are whether or not I drank alcohol that day, or worked out. Over time, Sleep Cycle can tell you the effect these behaviors have on your sleep quality. What shocked me the most was how significantly yoga improved my sleep! It's no surprise that the act of meditation and clearing the mind can improve sleep, but for me it makes a MASSIVE difference, which is easy motivation for me to develop my yoga practice further!
4. Big Picture Data
There are benefits to being obsessed with something for so long - I can tell when in the last four years I was getting the best (and worst) sleep, and more often than not that sleep quality was directly correlated to my overall quality of life. The times where I was sleeping on a shitty dorm mattress, studying my ass off and generally living like a strung-out, stressed mess. Or the times where I was traveling, never really enjoying a stable schedule. Or contrastingly, the times where I was living at home over the summer just working out, exploring the city, and sure as heck getting some quality sleep.
5. ALWAYS Get 8 Hours
Dear anyone who's struggling to get a full 8 hours every night: I feel super bad for ya, I really do. You should give this app a try though! We spend a third of our lives sleeping, and not getting enough rest can take a huge toll on our physical and mental health, especially over time. This app has been a valuable part of my shift towards being more self-aware and reflective. Looking inward at my stresses and looking outward at my habits have helped me become a far healthier individual. I have fewer stress headaches, fewer breakouts, I've even lost weight, become physically stronger, and become more confident as a result of these shifts in mentality and action. Reevaluating my priorities has been key. I honestly can't remember the last time I've had a night's rest shorter than 8 hours, and that's because I go to bed and commit to falling asleep when I need to. Change in my priorities has led to a change in my actions which has conclusively led to a change in my overall well-being, and the Sleep Cycle app helped me achieve that!
So what do you think? Is this something you'd try? I'm also curious about your favorite apps - I'd love to try out your recommendations! Let me know in the comments!
You can check out more info on the Sleep Cycle app here, or download it for yourself from the App Store or Google Play Store. This post was in no way sponsored by, or in partnership with, the Sleep Cycle app, and all opinions presented are genuinely mine.