One of the reasons to own a smart phone is to run applications on it. There are some fantastic ideas out there and given the relative youth of the mobile app explosion I'm sure there is plenty more to come. Today I thought I would offer my thoughts on Smart Alarm Clock.
The concept is fairly simple. When you go to bed you place your phone on your bed. It uses the built in accelerometers to monitor your movements as you move about in the bed. By analysing the magnitude of your movements it attempts to deduce what part of the sleep cycle you are in. Once your within range of when you want to wake up it and it detects you exiting the REM cycle of your sleep it will gently wake you up.
There are some problems with some models of phones that require the phone doesn't go to sleep for the sampling of the accelerometer. However the workaround of leaving the phone on is fairly benign as it's the time the phone is attached to the charging cable. Also there has been an update in the last few days which increases the accuracy of movement detection. You even get a nice graph of your movements over the night.
The app also has a number of other features including a useful muting of all ringtones while you are asleep as well a feature I haven't tried that attempts to stop you snoring by giving you an acoustic nudge.
As I've gotten older I've often found myself waking before the alarm, however when I don't the waking I've gotten from the gentle increasing alarm sound has been a lot less jaring than John Humphrys suddenly berating some politician. I have noticed I'm remembering my dreams more vividly the last few days but I suspect I need a few more data points to see if it is due to the app. Either way the trail version is free and I can heartily recommend giving it a try.