The benefits of getting a good night’s sleep goes further than just having enough energy to get through the next day. Quality deep sleep every night improves your quality of life as a whole. You will have improved memory, live longer, handle stress better, increase your creativity do better in school or at work, and it will help you maintain a healthier weight.
Unfortunately, many adults suffer from sleep problems. Some are completely unaware of a sleep disorder and are often left mystified as to why they get 8 hours of shut-eye a night but wake feeling sluggish and mentally dull. With the advancement of technology, you can easily track your sleeping habits right in the comfort of your own bedroom.
Sleep tracking has actually become quite a popular activity for those concerned about their health. There are various sleep apps available on iOS and Android, not to mention majority of activity tracker wearables now have built-in sleep tracking as well.
Whether you’re trying to find out why you’re so tired in the mornings or simply are curious how well you sleep every night, here are 6 different apps that will give you insight you need.
Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock
Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock is available free on iOS and for $0.99 on Android. While the name might lead you to believe this is simply an alarm clock app, don’t be fooled. Sleep Cycle doesn’t just ensure you wake up on time in the morning, but rather that you wake up at the most opportune time in the morning.
The alarm you enter into this app is automatically set to the latest time so you can only wake up earlier, if your body is ready. For example, if you set your alarm for 6:30 Sleep Cycle may wake you anytime between 6:00 and 6:30, but no later. In the event your body may not be ready to wake but you obviously still have to wake up, it will function as a normal alarm.
Sleep Cycle uses your phone’s microphone to sense when you are ready to be woken up. The app is smart enough to only focus on you, so even if you have a fan running or are sleeping with a partner on the other side of the bed, it won’t be affected by those noises. This app will not only wake you up but also give you graphs showing your sleep history.
The SleepBot app is free on both iOS and Android devices. It’s similar to the SleepCycle in that it performs more than just one function. The SleepBot is a smart alarm, motion tracker and sound recorder all in one. It is incredibly simple to set up, which means you’re more likely to use it every night since it just requires a tap of a fingertip.
First off, the detail you get in the SleepBot charts is excellent. At a glance you’ll be able to see length of sleep, time you fell asleep, time you woke and graphs of both noise and movement. The movement graph will tell you how much you tossed and turned during the night. The more movement, the lower quality of sleep.
The noise graph will pick up on ambient noise, which could include you or your partner’s snoring and other sounds in and out of the home. This may seem like a strange thing to measurement but it’s actually very important. There is also a note section so you can type any important information about that night’s sleep, such as a sound that woke you up, a dream you had or how rested you felt when you woke up. You can see a detailed chart for every night as well as look at a condensed version of the week’s sleep data.
The smart alarm on the SleepBot functions as you’d expect, by waking you up when you’re naturally ready within a certain timeframe. The SleepBot even gives tips and advice for a better night’s sleep based on your data.
If the SleepCycle and SleepBot apps just aren’t giving you the detail you are wanting, Sleep Genius might be the answer. As the “World’s #1 Sleeping App”, Sleep Genius is quite a popular option. It has hundreds of positive reviews for both iOS ($4.99) and Android (free). This app is actually featured in NASA’s Spinoff, an annual publication that features impressive technologies suitable for the home. That alone goes to show just how well the Sleep Genius performs.
There are 5 major features of the Sleep Genius: Sleep, Revive Cycle Alarm, Relaxation Program, Power Nap and Personalized Sleep Reporting. While most sleep apps focus solely on an alarm to wake you, the Sleep Genius also knows the importance of falling asleep on time. You can find out when your ideal bedtime is and be alerted as to when you should get ready for bed in order to meet this target.
The alarm for the Sleep Genius is a little different. Rather than waiting to find the opportune time to wake you by tracking movement and sound, it instead wakes you with a gradual 5-minute gentle alarm. This sound brings you slowly to a state of alertness, which is natural compared to a sudden harsh alarm. The 5-minute gradual alarm is actually preferable to a “smart alarm”, as if you’re in deep sleep with a smart alarm you’ll still be woken harshly.
The Relaxation Program feature uses modified music to induce a sense of calmness. It is designed to be used in a quiet area, away from others. Simply sit or lay down in a comfortable position, close your eyes and listen. This music is designed to release tension from your brain and relax the body, while allowing your breath and heartbeat to slow. You can use this program anytime you feel stressed but is designed to be used before bed.
The Importance of Naps
Naps aren’t just for kids. Taking naps during the day is just as important for busy adults, but only when naps are taken at the right time and for a short period. The Power Nap feature will aid you in calming down for a 30 minute power nap and wake up naturally. Music similar to the one in the Relaxation Program will play, help you to fall asleep and enter the light sleep phase. The same Revive 5 minute gradual alarm will wake you up after half an hour. This ensure your brain gets enough sleep to recharge but you don’t experience the body fatigue that occurs when a nap turns into deep sleep.
Finally, all data from using the Sleep Genius is stored on the phone as Personalized Sleep Reporting. Every night’s sleep quantity, quality, efficiency, as well as your sleep schedule will be laid out. Naps taken are also included. You can easily monitor your progress here and go back to past specific day’s data.
Some Final Thoughts
The foundation of physical health and mental wellness is sleep. As these 6 apps prove, tracking sleep is incredibly easy. There are surprisingly accurate sleep trackers accessible right on your phone, or you can kick it up a notch by purchasing an activity wearable with built-in sleep tracking. Whichever route you go, the benefits of keeping tabs on your nights is worth the small amount of effort it takes.