In my neverending quest to become a morning person, I've tried just about everything imaginable. I've read articles and drank special teas. In college, I became the proud owner of a white noise machine. I've feng shui'd my bedroom within an inch of its life. Somehow though, the act of waking up before the sun rises continues to make me feel physically nauseous. Forget breakfast, it's a miracle if I make it out the door 10 minutes before I'm due to be at work.
But you know what? In the past week, I've woken up on time every single day. Even weirder: I haven't been cranky about it at all. My brother told me about Sleep Cycle, an app that tracks your sleep patterns to wake you up when you're body's actually ready to be awake, and I was all over it. You know how some days you seem to magically wake up at the perfect time and feel like a chipper young woodland creature ready to make your day in the world? And you know how other days you feel like someone ran you over with a truck in the middle of the night, despite the fact that you got a solid 8 hours of sleep? Sleep Cycle uses the accelerometer in your phone (or iPad or iPod touch) to measure your movements and wake you up when you're in the lightest part of your sleep so that you can avoid those terrible mornings. You set a half hour window for when you want to get up, and the alarm will go off when you're closest to being awake.
It took the app a couple nights to calibrate and it took me a few extra mornings to get used to actually accept that getting out of bed when my alarm goes off is something at normal functioning human beings do, but now it's going swimmingly. Incidentally, I've been remembering a lot more of my dreams lately, which I'm guessing has something to do with waking up during light periods of sleep.
If seeing the part of the world that's not only awake, but up and running before 11 a.m., head to the app store, hand over $1 and get ready to start your dream journal.