World Sleep Day went by on Friday and if you still haven’t figured out the best way to nod your way to dreamland, here are some apps and gadgets that can help
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Facebook and Twitter got you addicted to notifications; smartphones have been termed sleep killers; and then there is the addiction to late-night TV. According to a 2012 study published in the journal PLOS ONE, light from the smartphone’s LED screen is responsible for convincing your brain that it’s daytime, turning you into a sleepless zombie. The same gadget, however, can sing you a lullaby, be a sleep doctor, even remind you when you need to nod off. We have compiled a list of apps and gadgets that can help you catch some Zzzs.
Having trouble sleeping? Sleep Genius uses neurosensory algorithms that were first used to zonk out astronauts in space who couldn’t sleep because they were weightless and couldn’t lie down. The app produces vibrations that simulate a rocking motion like a cradle for your brain. The “noise” it creates has a calming effect and slows heart rate and breathing, creating a lull perfect for deep sleep. It also makes sure that your alarm wakes you up with gentle soothing sounds rather than a sudden blast of noise. Plus, if you want to sneak in a nap, it lets you take an average 30-minute one (you can also set your own time).
Sleep Genius, free on iTunes
SleepRate Sleep Improvement Kit, $99.99 (around Rs.6,000; shipping extra). It includes an assessment, an improvement plan tailored to your needs, an alarm clock, a Polar H7 Bluetooth heart-rate monitor and an iPhone app
Tired of waking up with a start to a shrill alarm clock? Get a gentle nudge instead with Sleep as Android. The app tracks your sleep cycle and wakes you up at the optimal moment in the morning, within half an hour of your alarm time, when you are sleeping at your lightest. This in turn ensures that you beat grogginess and wake up feeling refreshed every day. This year, they have also added a feature which tracks your weekly sleep and alerts you if you’re suffering a sleep deficit.
Sleep as Android, free for two-week trial and then $3 on Google play.
■ Jawbone UP
Jawbone UP, $129.99 (shipping charges extra). The app is free on iTunes and Google play
This simple app uses the sensitive accelerometer in the iPhone to detect movements at night. The algorithm which makes the app work determines the different phases of your sleep, sets off the alarm at the right moment and even gives you a gentle breeze soundscape to make you fall asleep. Its Sleep Lab doles out weekly graphs of your sleep cycles and helps you improve your quality of sleep.
Sleep Time, free on iTunes
How about a pillow that sings lullabies every night to put you to sleep? Sleepow is a pack of foam with a fully integrated stereo-sound machine. The high-quality speakers in the pillow play preloaded binaural beats which reduce stress levels and put you to sleep. You can also upload MP3 files to the speakers with a mini-USB or put in headphones in its audio jack.
Sleepow, $99.95 onwards (shipping charges extra)
With about 70 high-quality recorded sounds, the Sleep Pillow app gives you a lot of white noise to choose from to lull you to sleep. It comes with sounds like that of wind in a field, a garden fountain, even a vacuum or clothes dryer, all with one aim—to put you to sleep. You set these with a sleep timer so the sounds fade, lulling you to sleep. Set an alarm which will wake you up gently with a fade-in of the same sounds.
Sleep Pillow, $1.99 on iTunes
Free on iTunes and Google play
A wristband to track your fitness levels, FitBit counts not only every step you take, but also takes note of your sleeping patterns. The nifty bracelet monitors how long, and how well, you sleep, and wakes you up with a silently vibrating alarm without disturbing your partner. It syncs with the online app to give you online charts of your sleep patterns over time to understand how to get a better night’s sleep.
FitBit Flex, $99.95. The app is available free on Google play and iTunes
■ Withings Aura
Withings Aura is expected to be available for $299 soon (shipping charges extra).