In the new world of “there’s an app for that” smart phone technology, it seems as if there really is an app for almost anything. Now,thanks to recent technical advances and the inclusion of accelerometers in our smart phones, they can tell us when it is the best time to sleep, sing us off to dreamland, record sounds and movement while we are sleeping, and wake us up at just the right time based on our sleep cycle. Having trouble sleeping? Read on and learn about these smart phone apps that do just about everything except brush your teeth and tuck you in.
1. Even Grown-ups have Bedtimes
ShutEye, developed for research purposes by the University of Washington and Intel Labs Seattle for Android-based mobile phones, can take the place of the maternal voice in your head advising you about when you should take a nap, exercise, drink coffee, relax, eat a big meal or go to bed. Loaded up with information about the activities that have the greatest impact on our slee
p, ShutEye aims to help you improve your sleep hygiene while increasing your awareness of how your everyday activities impact how much sleep you get and the quality of that sleep.
2. The Sounds of Silence
For some people, settling down to sleep in a silent bedroom is a sure way to a sleepless night. Relax Melodies for the iPhone to the rescue. This app allows you to mix and match 70 different ambient sounds from crickets to falling rain to singing birds, even layering sounds over each other to create the most relaxing mix for you. Don’t have an iPhone? Don’t worry, White Noise, another ambient sound generator works on all platforms and offers a wide range of sounds to help you slip off to sleep.
3. Punch the Clock
You probably know how much sleep you are supposed to get, but do you really know how much sleep you are getting? To see where you fall on the how much do you need versus how much you get scale, head to the app store and download one of these apps to help you track your sleep. SleepBot for the Android platform and SleepTracker for the iPhone have very similar functionality. Both record and track the number of hours you sleep and offer journaling capabilities to let you record details about how you slept, your mood when you woke up or other pertinent sleep data. The SleepBot gives you punch-in/punch-out tracking which is very easy to use and includes a questionnaire that calculates your sleep debt for you. SleepTracker shows your sleep results in a chart so you can see trends and problem areas over time.
4. Winning Wake-Up
Both Android and iPhone offer apps that track your sleep cycle while you are sleeping, identify where you are in your sleep cycle based on your movements and then set off an alarm to wake you up when you are at the optimal stage in your sleep cycle to awaken. Try SleepCycle on the iPhone or Sleep as an Droid for Android phones to wake-up at the right time, every time.
5. Special Circumstances
Concerned you might have sleep apnea? Wondering if you are too tired to drive? Tossing and turning unable to fall asleep? Your smart phone can help.
To check your breathing patterns while you sleep, download SleepAid for the iPhone. This app records the sounds of you sleeping and then lets you compare your recording to recordings of people with sleep apnea and help you determine if it could be the cause of your sleepiness.
Didn’t sleep well last night and wondering if you will be a drowsy driver? Grab Spot on your smart phone. Spot is based on the Psychomotor Vigilance Test, the gold standard for measuring wakefulness and tests your response time.
Still starring at the ceiling waiting for sleep to come? Try that old tried and true fix for sleeplessness and Count Sheep. This iPhone app features adorable sheep jumping over a fence and plays either lullabies or your own iTunes music. It has a low light output so as not to interfere with falling asleep and is equipped with a sleep timer to automatically shut off after the sheep have escorted you to dreamland.
Don’t underestimate the value of a good night’s sleep. Search the app store for a sleep aid to meet your needs and have a good excuse to have your smart phone with you 24×7.
About Valley Sleep Center:
Since 2002, Valley Sleep Center, accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, has provided Arizona with diagnostic sleep disorder testing in a home-like atmosphere, ensuring a comfortable, relaxing experience for patients. Their Board Certified Sleep Medicine Specialists consist of experienced and knowledgeable physicians who provide expert advice across a multitude of sleep related disorders including insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, hypertension, sleepwalking, and pediatric sleep problems. They accept most insurance plans as well as Medicare. For more information contact Lauri Leadley at 480-830-3900; http://www.valleysleepcenter.com.
- Can’t Sleep? Maybe Your Brain Needs a Cold Shower (valleysleepcenter.com)
- Seven Tips to Help You Fight Fatigue (valleysleepcenter.com)
- Everything You Need to Know about the Stages of Sleep (valleysleepcenter.com)