The Breakdown: Do sleep apps like the Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock really work?

CLEVELAND - How well did you sleep last night? Tired of being tired? Maybe your cellphone holds the answer.

Sleepy heads are turning to apps to catch some zzz's. Millions of Americans dream of a good night's sleep, and in groggy desperation, they're turning to technology.

The popular Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock app claims to track your sleeping patterns, measuring not only how much you sleep, but how well.  

How does it work?

1) You set the phone near your pillow on your mattress.
2) Sensors detect your movements throughout the night.
3) The app claims to monitor your sleep phases and, "wakes you up at the perfect moment of your lightest sleep phase" [so you'll] "wake up feeling refreshed."

Online, the app has more than 8,000 reviews and averages five stars. Even sleep specialist Dr. Ruchir Patel, a confessed insomniac, tried it. He said it did give him information, but did not ultimately help him sleep better.


(Mobile users watch here: http://bit.ly/16dJgbH)

Patel explained we constantly move in both light and deep sleep so an app based on movement alone doesn't work. However, he admits it did help him learn he was actually getting less sleep than he previously thought.

So while the app may not make your dreams come true and give you a good night's rest, it may bring you one step closer to ending the sleepless nightmare.
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