Designed for all of the stages of sleep, Sleep Cycle starts off by using soothing sounds and stories to help you drift off. You can also use some of the guided relaxations to wind down. The app will then switch to monitoring your sleep, using the nocturnal sounds you make to determine how much and how well you are sleeping.
To wake you up, you can set a traditional alarm for a set time, or opt to have Sleep Cycle gently wake you at the most appropriate time when you are in light sleep within a customizable wake-up window. Upgrade from the free version of the app, and you gain access to sleep trend data, a journaling option to track mood and other sleep influences, and more.
Price and availability
Sleep Cycle is available for iOS and Android. There is a very limited free version that offer a simple alarm and sleep analysis, but there’s much, much more available in the Premium version, which costs $29.99 (about £20 / AU$40) per year. You can try the Premium features free of charge for seven days.
The primary function of Sleep Cycle is to monitor and analyze your sleep patterns. The app features various options relating to not only relaxing and falling asleep, but also waking up. There’s a decent selection of stories, sounds and guided relaxations to send you off to sleep, and then the app will record you if you snore, move, or speak in your sleep (which can all be problems even with the best mattress).
There’s a customizable alarm system that can be used to wake up at a specific time, or gently ease you into the day by stirring you in a ‘wake window’. Add to this journaling to help you monitor things that affect your sleep, and it all adds up to a very useful tool.
Sleep Cycle makes much of the fact that it’s an autonomous tool. While there is a little configuration to be done initially, for the most part the app is a case of ‘set it and forget it’.
Leave your phone charging by your bed overnight and it can record your sleep in a variety of ways ready to present you with detailed graphs when you wake up – and detailed long-term statistics if you pay for the premium version.
The app can help with all stages of sleep. There are soothing sounds, music and meditations to help you drift off to sleep, and then the analysis of you sleep can help you to determine the factor that improve or worsen your sleep.
Sleep Cycle is also on hand to wake up you, whether that’s with a standard alarm at a set time, or a gentle wake-up call in a customizable wake window that rouses you from your lightest sleep so you don’t have a jarring start to the day.
There are some nice touches such as the way you can snooze an alarm. The fact that this can be done by with double tapping or shaking your phone means that there’s no need to wake up too much in order to grab yourself a few extra minutes under the covers.
The journaling, mood tracking and sleep statistics are useful and fascinating in equal measure, and add up to make Sleep Cycle and incredibly useful tool for improving your sleep over time.
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This article is part of TechRadar’s Sleep Week 2021 (running from Sunday 31 October to Sunday 7 November), our in-depth look at sleep and how to snooze better. We’ve teamed up with experts in their field to bring you proven sleep techniques and tips to help you drift off easier, and have rounded-up the best sleep kit to transform your bedroom into a den of zen.