Stay aHead: Sleep Apps
14 Jan 2015
The holidays are now long over (sadly) and it’s time to get back into that work routine. If you’re feeling a tad groggy in the morning you can probably blame that on the invention of the alarm clock and the resulting loss of your natural rhythm. Waking up abruptly isn’t good for you as, I’m told, it causes your adrenaline to surge, creating a disorientated feeling. That’s science…
Sleep makes you feel better of course, but there are more benefits to it than just boosting your mood or curing those under-eye circles. It improves memory, can spur creativity, and sharpen attention, all of which you need for the day ahead.
Enter ‘sleep’ apps, mobile technology’s attempt to ease your slumber.
At 1000heads we’re constantly fascinated by people’s engagement with technology and how it’s constantly changing and appearing in new and different areas of our life. And so, ever interested in what new tools and insights are at our disposal, I decided to try two of the free apps available to establish whether I could begin 2015 as fresh as a daisy…
The apps under my scrutiny are ‘Sleep Better’ and ‘Sleep Time’, both available for free.
Runtastic, a mobile fitness company, introduced their ‘Sleep better’ app last year and it is intended to assist us in obtaining a great night’s sleep. Features include dream analysis, sleep monitoring and a personalised smart alarm that wakes you at the best time for you to open your blinkers, properly rested.
Amazingly, I got a 14 day free trial to their ‘gold’ membership on login, though some of the features are bizarre. I’m not sure they’ve got it quite right for example in suggesting I would regularly share my sleep pattern with my friends or need ‘custom cheering’!
The interface is easy to use and I tested it for a number of days waking to questions like ‘how do you feel?’ and ‘what kind of dreams did you have?’. I also had to enter my caffeine consumption, which is an interesting and important addition, especially for those in an office all day with a cuppa consistently in hand.
Like ‘Sleep Better’ it’s very easy to use and similar in both interface and features.
My results were a bit strange though, mainly because my girlfriend is a restless sleeper and I think it picked up her movement. According to the app, when you’re moving, you’re not sleeping. An interesting view because I never remember moving in bed but wake up in a different position.
This could also have chaotic results if you have a pet.
So what’s the conclusion? I believe that a natural sleep pattern is probably much better for us and that it’s important for us to remain as ‘human’ as possible, so it’s nice that technology can help that process rather than hinder it. There are benefits to being woken when you have had enough sleep, so long as it’s done on a regular basis and I love the idea that my phone can do even more than it already does and even help me while I’m asleep.
Unfortunately, from my experience in this saturated market it’s difficult to see any evidence of the apps claims to actually make you ‘sleep better’.
Of course there could be a claim that the psychology of having an app running might actually make you think you have slept better (which if proven, may still be a good thing). One way or another, all we want is a good rest isn’t it?
Our bodies like predictability, which explains those mornings when you wake seconds before your alarm, so perhaps just focusing on a regular schedule is the best avenue to take.
What do you think? Have you tried sleep apps, and what did they do for you?
Thank you and good night.