Smart Alarm Clocks and Sleep Trackers
The default alarm clock on your smartphone is no longer hip. The time when alarm clocks only had to ring on time and offer custom ring tones – whoah! – has gone.
Modern sleep applications are mostly paid, but they are smart. For example, they track your sleep stages and ring when it is easier for you to wake up. Or they find correlations between your sleep and other factors, such as alcohol, stress and even moon phases.
At the moment, application stores are full of sleep apps and smart alarms. They differ in sleep analysis quality, that is, in technological solutions.
Users with serious sleep disorders, however, should be cautious about commercial apps: the real quality of your sleep and sleep stages can be learnt only through brainwave, alpha and sigma-rythm analysis. We estimate, that the data you can obtain with the help of an accelerometer will have a 20% margin of error.
— Hawley Montgomery-Downs, professor and researcher at West Virginia University
Sleep analysis technology
1. Sound tracking
Perhaps, the best app in this segment is SleepCycle. Its sound-based movement and sleep analysis technology has been patented.
What’s interesting is that two people who sleep in one bed can also use the app in a special group mode. The app’s synchronization technology allows it to distinguish between sounds coming from different people.
2. Accelerometer-based analysis
The technology employs your smartphone’s built-in accelerometer which enables it to track your movements thus identifying sleep stages.
This method is the most popular on the smart alarm clocks market, however, only Sleep As Android has managed to achieve real high quality leaving all its rivals behind.
3. Special devices
There are various devices for sleep improvement, such as smart watches (for example, Sleep As Android works great with Pebble), special desktop sound recording devices and under-mattress smart pads (they are the most popular because you don’t feel them).
One of the most interesting devices on the market is Sence. A small sensor attaches to your pillow and a smart lamp tracks lighting, temperature and sounds while you are asleep. Before you go to bed, it will let you know if you need to ventilate the room.
Whithings Aura sleeping kit includes an under-mattress sleep tracking pad and a super-lamp that controls the lighting, it has different sounds, collects data and helps you improve your sleep.
It’s particularly interesting that it works with Spotify and that the platform is completely open data-wise.
What do we recommend?
If you want to analyse your sleep, start with applications. They are much cheaper than gadgets and a lot of them have a free version.
If you have an iPhone, you have several choices: Sleep Better, Sleep Time, MotionX and Sleep Cycle. They aren’t terribly different, but all of them except SleepCycle, use accelerometer and are not very convenient for that reason (you need to take them to bed with you), you can put your phone on charge on your bedside table with SleepCycle running.
If you have Android, there isn’t much choice: Sleep As Android is truly the best app on the market. Despite using accelerometer it is better than similar iPhone apps. When asked why they haven’t made the iPhone version, the developers say that it’s not so easy to achieve the same level of quality. Apparently, either Android sensors work better or – which more likely – they are available to developers on a deeper level.
We spend a third of our life, roughly 25 years, sleeping. It is the quality of our sleep that defines our day. During deep sleep our brain gets energy, brain cells recover, hormones are produces and solutions for difficult problems are found.
On average, an adult person should sleep about 8 hours a day. We are drastically different from giraffes in that sense, who somehow manage to be fine with just two hours of sleep a day.
Sleep is more important than food. You can survive without food for two weeks, not without sleep though. That is why sleep deserves more attention than workouts or diet.
We are looking for groups of people who want to improve their lifestyle using modern technology. Insomnia is one of the most widespread problems, which is why we are focusing on it. If you need professional help to analyse your sleep, join Welltory’s study. We will explain to you how to adjust your sleeping app’s settings and collect data about your health and work-life balance. We will then analyse these data and try to find factors that affect your sleep.