Sleep Cycle #iPhone app

Why Sleep Cycle?
For years I have complained of being tired, and have had all kinds of tests… but I think the general conclusion is that I just enjoying living life to the full too much, and consequently do too much (and I work best late at night too… why is culture built around morning larks rather than night owls)!! Recently, however, I have been waking up knowing that I have had a lot of disturbing dreams, feeling less refreshed than ever, and falling asleep in the middle of the day. Many years ago I stopped trying to get to sleep if my eyes weren’t closing on their own – either picking up a book, or watching a film I already know (or now, iPlayer, in the knowledge that I can finish watching the next day). Last night I went to bed at 1.15am, watched Casualty, and started watching John Bishop’s Britain… I had already set my phone alarm… and it looks like it woke me just as I’d slipped into the second super-deep sleep of the night…

The App
The app, which was only 59p, was recommended to me by a friend who had tried it for several nights. You need to be able to leave your phone plugged in all night, otherwise I suspect it sucks all that wonderful iPhone battery life… The app uses the iPhone accelerometer (used to sense orientation, acceleration, vibration shock, and falling) to monitor movement during sleep. The more you move, the lighter the sleep phase that you are in. As I already had the phone alarm set, I didn’t really test the claims of the phone that the best use of this phone is to set the alarm, and the app will sense which is the lightest part of your sleep pattern within a half-hour window around the alarm time, and wake you up, allowing you to feel more refreshed/less tired during the day…  maybe one to try tonight…  The phone keeps a record of all your statistics.. maybe one to take to your GP to discuss… Note: Don’t put the phone under your pillow, not good for the phone or the accuracy of the app.

“Scientific” Review

“Actigraphy is the science of recording motion patterns during sleep. It is generally considered a more accurate means of monitoring sleeping patterns than a sleep journal or devices that can only record in short time frames, but not as useful as polysomnography, which encompasses the use of an EEG. For instance, it is very useful in collecting the night-to-night sleep patterns of patients diagnosed with insomnia or disorders with their circadian rhythms.

So in trying this app out, the graph is a little misleading. Since no motion occurs during REM sleep, the part of the graph that says “dreaming” is a misnomer. Perhaps a better term would be “wakefulness”. However, “deep sleep” works okay for the lower portion, but keep in mind that REM is when we are dreaming the most, and true “deep sleep” occurs in the latter two stages of Non-REM. More motion likely means you are not in REM, but for deep sleep you could easily be moving or not. The app builds on ideas that actigraphy utilizes, which is a good test for basic sleep cycle pattern testing, but should be used for novelty purposes only and to get a GENERAL idea of how you tend to sleep. The fact is, you could lay still during Non-REM just as you do in REM, so if you are truly having sleep issues, polysomnograph performed at a sleep clinic is the way to go.” (Review by a physiology instructor)