How do I wake up each day at five with Sleep Cycle App

The waking up is so gentle and lovely it feels like being woken up by a mermaid stoking your hair or a unicorn nuzzling your toes.

You too should consider waking up each day at 5 AM fresh but without disturbing anybody else in your bedroom.

Working hard in Government requires discipline and hard work each day. To achieve this, waking up in the morning is essential. If the morning is spent struggling with snoozing alarms, it sucks up the energy, and you lose your willpower. Read how to use SLEEP CYCLE App to bring discipline and happiness.

There is a limited Will-Power according to the research work done in the fantastic book Willpower: Rediscovering Our Greatest Strength by Roy F. Baumeister who also explains that willpower is like a muscle that can be strengthened with practice and improved over time. See the book here

Traditional Method of Waking up.
Traditional Method of Waking up.


Once you have exhausted your willpower by fighting with your alarm clock, you have less of it, remaining in the office. You are irritated and sleepy in important review meetings. To counter that I started using an application way back in 2013 called Sleep Cycle. Sleep Cycle uses a wake-up phase (30 minutes by default) that ends at your desired alarm time. During this phase, Sleep Cycle will monitor signals from your body to wake you softly when you are in the lightest possible sleep state. I was a little sceptical at first, but I’ve been surprised by the results. But before we go into the app, let us understand as to ‘How we sleep’.

Irritated due to loss of willpower
Irritated due to loss of willpower

How we sleep

During the night, our sleep state alternates between rapid eye movement (REM) and other states (collectively referred to as non-REM).

Non-REM sleep is divided into three stages. The first two stages account for light sleep, and the third is a deep sleep.

For the typical person, it takes about 45 minutes to slip through the first two stages into the last. In these stages, most physiological processes are greatly reduced. It’s very difficult to wake a person in deep sleep. Incidentally, nightmares can occur during this time.

After about 90 minutes, we enter into REM sleep in which brain activity changes dramatically. Our muscles become inhibited but our eyes start flickering, hence Rapid Eye Movement.

In fact, brain activity is said to be more intense in REM than when we are awake. Most dreaming also occurs in REM. The muscle paralysis keeps us from acting out our dreams, even though our eyes move according to what we see in our dreams.

Most dreaming also occurs in REM
Most dreaming occurs in REM

Sleep Cycles
A typical adult will enter REM sleep roughly every 90 minutes. Each time REM lasts a little longer. Upon completion of REM, the body starts the sleep cycle again. This normally repeats 4-5 times per night. Non-REM is believed to help the brain’s physiological processes reboot, while REM is believed to help us work through psychological needs. Recent research indicates that REM sleep is necessary for processing new information, i.e. learning. Early in life, we spend about 50% of our sleep in REM. But from about the age of 10, we stabilize at about 25%.

When we are sleep deprived we spend more time in non-REM, verifying our body’s need to “reboot”. This also means less time spent in REM sleep, leading to irritability and emotional problems.

How does Sleep Cycle App work

Setting Up Alarm Clock
Setting Up Alarm Clock

Waking up easy, is all about timing. Sleep Cycle alarm clock tracks our sleep patterns and wakes us up during light sleep. Waking up during light sleep feels like waking up naturally rested without an alarm clock. Your movements vary with each sleep phase. Sleep Cycle uses sound analysis to identify sleep phases by tracking movements in bed. Sleep Cycle then wakes you up during your lightest sleep phase, using a predefined 30-minute alarm window.

How to setup Alarm

If you want to wake up at 5 AM, configure the alarm at around 5.10 AM at Sleep Cycle, the alarm will bell in 30-minute duration when you are the least sleep. Sleep Cycle has two motion detection modes. You can change modes under: Settings > Motion detection (if Alarm is turned On in Settings). Microphone: The built-in microphone is used to analyze your movements as you sleep. It’s important that you place your phone correctly


Setting up alarm clock in Sleep Cycle
Setting up alarm clock in Sleep Cycle
Sleep Cycle running
Sleep Cycle running

So I work up at 5 Am and here are the results of the sleep cycle. This graph shows peaks about 90 minutes apart. The peaks represent sleep cycles, including all sleep phases, described earlier. This is a great example of a sleep graph showing regular sleep patterns.

Sleep Cycle in Action
Sleep pattern formed for one day

One interesting thing I like about Sleep Cycle is that it also calculates my Sleep Quality, and gives an option for entering my Basal heart rate. See the graphy below. It not only tells my average sleep quality, but it calculates against people from my Country and across the Country.

Sleep pattern using Sleep Cycle
Sleep pattern using Sleep Cycle


How is Sleep Quality calculated?

According to Sleep Cycle, sleep quality is based on four measurements:
1. Amount of time spent in bed.
2. Amount of time spent in deep sleep.
3. The consistency of the sleep.
4. Amount of times where the app registered you as fully awake.

The application calculates the sleep quality based on the above and present to you a beautiful graph. Below is yet another amazing feature of sleep analytics. based on my input before/ after the sleep, it has shown me the effect of that activity on sleep quality.

Sleep affected by nature
Sleep affected by weather

For a long time, this application was only for iOS, Apple devices. But now they have the version for android too.

A word of caution though. When I told this to my colleagues, all that I saw was bewildered faces. Many of them outrightly rejected it by labelling it as to be ‘too tech‘ and few laughed it out. But over time, many of them have indeed used Sleep Cycle. Personally, I found this highly useful and liberating.

There has not been a single day when I had ever snoozed the alarm. My wife has never heard the alarm, as the sound starts so softly that I am always the first person to hear it.

Further, as I am mostly in the light sleep during that time, I never felt that my alarm to be against me. The app can wake you from the lightest phase of sleep, which is the natural waking point. You can download this all for iOS here and for Android here.

What do you think? Have you used the Sleep tracking app to bring motivation? Do you find it ‘too tech’? Post in the comments below.

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Also published on Medium.

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