The new 24/7 app on my iPhone: MotionX-Sleep

You know I love my iPhone, right?

I take it on runs and rides with me, I use it to help me see things differently and now, I sleep with it.

But not so I can read email or play one last game of Scramble with Friends before nodding off. In fact, I put it on airplane mode and turn off the ringer, and then I turn on the MotionX-Sleep app.

A couple weeks ago, when I shared that now that I was sleeping better, I was actually oversleeping, commenter Janine suggested a sleep app that wakes you gently, during a point in your sleep when you’ll wake feeling refreshed instead of groggy.

Technology to the rescue.

I did a little research on the app Janine suggested and some others and ended up choosing MotionX-Sleep. My decision was initially prompted by the fact that I have a memory foam mattress, and apparently that makes sensing motion while you sleep a little more difficult. But MotionX-Sleep spoke to that concern and has a great calibrating and testing feature that lets you experiment with the placement of the phone. You can also choose to wear your phone on an armband instead of placing it on your bed.

So, you get a great sleep monitor plus a gentle alarm.

Every morning, I hear this very faint, pleasant new-agey type music, and I think “hmmmm, what’s that?” Which is such a pleasant way to be awakened. There are lots of other choices for the alarm, including nature sounds, a coffee pot and cheering, or you can set it to use any song from your iTunes.

No more nap stress.

It has a second kind of alarm, that they call the Powernap.

I love a good nap, but if you’re like me, naps can be troublesome at times. Say I want to take a 20 minute nap, except that I don’t always fall asleep right away, so I don’t want to set a timer or alarm for 20 minutes. And I don’t want to sleep much longer than that, so I don’t want to set the alarm for say, an hour in case I fall asleep right away.

None of that is an issue the way this alarm works. You set the amount of sleep you want, say 20 minutes, and the latest you want the alarm to go off, say 3pm. The alarm is triggered when you stop moving and go to sleep. So if it takes you 10 minutes to fall asleep, the alarm will go off 30 minutes after you lay down. Brilliant!

Sleep isn’t just about nighttime.

Moving during the day helps you sleep better at night. MotionX knows this and has incorporated several tools that help you be more active during the day, including a pedometer and reminders to move at an interval of your choice.

It keeps track of your steps, how you’re doing with your goal, how much time you’re active and how much you’re idle.

This last one was a surprise.

I consider myself pretty active. And yet, on most days, I’m idle about 23 out of every 24 hours! Even on my most active days, such as last Sunday when I ran 20 miles, I was still idle for 20 hours of the day!

That really stunned me. And had me taking those pop-up reminders I set for every 30 minutes a bit more seriously. Especially with all the talk lately of how dangerous sitting is to your health.

No more kidding myself.

This app gives me a much more accurate picture of how much and how well I’m sleeping and moving. If you asked me before I started using this, I would have said that in the last week, I’d gotten at least eight hours a sleep a night, and am moving several hours a day.


I’ve had an average of of seven and a half hours of sleep each night and average only about an hour of activity each day. With the real information at my fingertips, I can do something about it. I can make subtle, simple, small changes that will help me get where I want to go, and I can see if they’re working.

Get the app for free here.



4 comments to The new 24/7 app on my iPhone: MotionX-Sleep

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