Tuesday, February 16, 2010

How Much Is a Good Night’s Sleep Worth?

If there’s one wow app that I show people on my iPhone, it is definitely Sleep Cycle by Lexware Labs.  Sleep Cycle is a gentle alarm that wakes you during the optimum time of your sleep cycle so you feel rested. We mostly use it to analyze how we slept.  You set the time that you want to wake up and place your iPhone in the corner of your bed (in airplane mode to avoid radiation).  It will wake you sometime during the half hour before your alarm time.

The first night I used it was on my birthday, what a geeky present to give myself!  At $.99 you can’t go wrong. This was my first graph.

It looked like the classic textbook pattern of alternating deep sleep and REM sleep.  Very cool, but did it pick up Doug’s movements as well?  I can feel our queen bed move when he does, so we had to do some more research.  First we tested the kids.  I snuck into Adam’s room and got his cycle.

According to the Sleep Cycle examples, a long period of deep sleep like that usually indicates that the iPhone is having trouble detecting movement.  But I happen to know for a fact that Adam sleeps like a log.  And here was proof.

The next night Dova slept with me in my bed (long history of musical beds in our family).  She is a bit lighter, so I was afraid that the iPhone wouldn’t pick up her movements.  But right at 7am, she started kicking me for a good hour.  It certainly picked that up fine.  So we have two kids that slept like logs.

Now Doug always claims that he is a light sleeper so he is always needing extra sleep.  I never really understood this until I saw his graph.

Holy smokes, he hardly gets any deep sleep at all! Almost all his graphs look this way.  So he must be disturbing my sleep and my sleep cycle graph thrashing about like that.  But the very next night, I put it back on my side.  I was really exhausted and was expecting to sleep well.

Aha!  Even with the thrasher next to me, I can sleep like a log and the iPhone ignores him!  And since we had been using the app for a few weeks, there was no issue with phone placement.

I ran across this BBC article that suggests that sleeping together in the same bed may cause mental impairment the next day, especially for men.
When men spend the night with a bed mate their sleep is disturbed, whether they make love or not, and this impairs their mental ability the next day.
Dr. Neil Stanley also said that “Historically, we have never been meant to sleep in the same bed as each other. It is a bizarre thing to do.”  I totally disagree.  Back in the Little House on the Prairie Days, you HAD to sleep together to stay warm.  Animals sleep together and so do humans.  I hate to sleep without Doug or one of the kids (with both kids, I get kicked and whacked in the head too much).

We haven’t gone so far as to check Doug’s sleep without me (I always have my phone with my when I’m away for business trips), but at least I have proof that I can sleep like a log even next to the thrasher. 

You can get Sleep Cycle for a mere $.99 on iTunes here Sleep Cycle alarm clock.  I know you’re dying to try it!


Bird's Eye View Photography said...

That is so interesting! Now I have to go buy and iphone and then get the app ;)

I love that you said 'little house on the prairie days'

Tired Mom Tesa said...

Wow. Very cool! My husband has an iPhone and I think this will be an app he'd love to try. He's always exhausted.