sleep-cycle-appThe Streamlined Office has written a number of blogs about productivity.  Mostly, these articles have pertained to goal setting, prioritizing, the importance of processes etc.  Until now, I had yet to write anything about the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle so that you can function at a high level throughout your day.  Good nutrition, regular exercise, and sleep are key to feeling your best. When you feel your best, you are likely to get more accomplished!  This month’s productivity tip, courtesy of The Streamlined Office, explains how The Sleep Cycle App can help you be more productive.

Particularly at the holidays and the business year-end, many people are sleep deprived; trying to get more done than might be humanly possible.  The Sleep Cycle App can help, especially if you often wake up feeling groggy and disoriented.

Understanding your sleep cycles is key to understanding why this app can be so useful.  In a nutshell, your brain moves through a series of 5 stages while you sleep.  Stage 1 is a light sleep from which you can be easily awakened.  Stage 5 is a deep sleep.  If you are woken up during stages 3-4 in particular, you will feel groggy and disoriented.   You naturally move in and out of the different stages of sleep throughout the night.  Each stage is marked by a number of things including body movements, eye movements, and changes in breathing patterns.  If you want a full explanation, check out the article Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep.

Having this basic understanding of sleep cycles explains how The Sleep Cycle App can be useful.  The app uses sound analysis to identify which stage of sleep you are in by tracking your movements while you are in bed.  When you set the alarm in the app, you are actually choosing a 30-minute window.  The latest possible wake time is the time that you have chosen.  The app tracks your movements and wakes you up during that 30-minute window at a point when you have entered into a lighter stage of sleep.  This allows you to be easily awakened without feeling groggy and disoriented.

This app can be downloaded to IOS and Android phones.  From there, it’s as easy as choosing what time you want to wake up.  The app has two modes to detect motion.  The first uses the built-in microphone and the other uses an accelerometer (an instrument for measuring acceleration or motion that is built into your phone).  If you use the accelerometer, which is the only option for Android devices at this time, you will need to place your phone directly on your mattress.

Not only does this app help you awaken more easily, but it also keeps track of your sleep cycles.  This is useful to help determine patterns that might be interfering with your sleep.  Of course, no app will help if you are depriving yourself of the minimum recommended amount of sleep.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, this is 7-9 hours for adults under 65 years of age.  If you can’t imagine how you could possibly make that much time in your day for sleep, contact The Streamlined Office.  We can help you develop a time management strategy that will leave you feeling refreshed and productive!