When it comes to getting a good night's sleep, the standard advice is to turn off your devices. But that may be changing now that sleep-tracking apps are proliferating. Not only are there sleep-tracking apps that wake you up during the optimal time in your REM sleep cycle, there are also apps that monitor exterior stimuli to help you know what to eliminate in order to get the best sleep possible. New technologies for better sleep range from free apps to $100-plus specialized devices. Sound dreamy? Read on.
Check out Sense, the newest Kickstarter hit. It's a device controlled by an app; your sleep is monitored with a "Sleep Pill," which attaches to your pillow and turns getting a good night's sleep into a game. Sense scores your sleep on a 1-100 scale and lets you know what to do to improve. (Sense will do the same for a significant other by allowing you to attach a second Sleep Pill to another pillow.)
With more than 10,000 backers and $1.3 million dollars in funding, Sense appears to have woken up a not-quite-sleeping market. Priced at $99 for Kickstarter early backers and $129 for preorders, it's expected to ship in November.
Too much caffeine?
UpCoffee is an app that can be used with or without the Jawbone UP fitness tracker; it allows you to monitor your caffeine intake throughout the day and figure out when to cut yourself off in order to fall asleep more easily. Enter your height, weight, desired bedtime, and an estimate of your sensitivity to caffeine. The app not only keeps tabs on your caffeine intake, but will help you find it as well, by using your location to direct you to the nearest Starbucks, Dunkin' Donuts, or other purveyor of caffeinated beverages. The app is free in Apple's App Store, but has not yet been released in an Android version.
Choose your own dreams?
There may be an app for that. DreamOn monitors your sleep cycle throughout the night and plays a tailored “soundscape” that will, its creators say, create the dream you are hoping to have. Although there is no real science behind influencing dreams, the concept sounds appealing.
Waking up groggy?
If your issue is less about falling asleep than about waking up feeling groggy and unrested, there are multiple apps designed to wake you up during the lightest phase of sleep. These apps track your sleep patterns and also provide a metric for sleep quality. One popular option is Sleep Cycle, available in the App Store for $0.99.