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Photo: iStockphoto
Photo: iStockphoto

Best sleep tracking apps

Technology as your partner in bed, will help catch more than the staple forty winks you might be used to

Getting a good night’s sleep is paramount to our health. According to a study by Nicole Tang of the University of Warwick in March 2017, “Improving your sleep quality leads to levels of mental and physical health comparable to those of somebody who’s won a jackpot of around £200,000."

If you want to track and analyse your sleep and see if you are getting the requisite 7-8 hours, here are some smartphone apps and gadgets to use.

Nokia Sleep

$99.95 (preorder)

Health.nokia.com

Nokia’s new mattress pad has built-in sensors that track your sleep, including how long you sleep, how restfully, and even snoring. You can access the data through the Nokia Health Mate app. If you have smartlights at home, the Sleep mat can be configured to switch the lighting on and off according to your sleep schedule. The Nokia Sleep will be available sometime in the next few months.

Sleep Cycle

Free (optional in-app purchases)

Android and iOS

Sleep Cycle uses sensors in your smartphone to track the different phases of sleep and wakes you up during the lightest phase within a 30-minute window of your wake-up alarm. The app offers detailed sleep analysis, including time in bed, quality of sleep, audio clippings if you snore, and the period of deep sleep. For more accurate data, keep the phone next to you on the bed.

Pillow

Free ($4.99, or around Rs317, for Premium)

iOS, watchOS

Pillow is an advanced sleep-tracking alarm clock app that also works on the Apple Watch. It tracks your sleep by detecting sound as well as movement. It provides a detailed sleep stage chart that includes duration of time spent awake, rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, light sleep and deep sleep. If you wear your Apple Watch to bed, the heart rate data collected from the watch will also be a part of the statistics.

Relax Melodies

Free (optional in-app purchases)

Android, iOS, watchOS

Sometimes, you need some soothing music to fall asleep. Relax Melodies offers over 50 sounds for free (and over 100 sounds for premium users), such as the sound of a river, rain, birds, etc. The app also guides you through meditation sessions designed for stress and anxiety relief, unbroken sleep and even power naps. It links with the Health app on iOS devices.

Sleep Time

$1.99

Android and iOS

Sleep Time incorporates algorithms designed by scientists at Stanford University, which analyse your sleep cycles. When you go to bed, the Sleep Time app can play you soothing music—sound of water, the Amazon rainforest or even music from your own playlist—to help you sleep. Keep the phone next to your pillow and let its accelerometer log your movements. Sleep Time will then present data such as total time slept, light and deep- sleep durations, etc. It can also wake you up around your usual alarm time, when it detects light sleep.

Zeeq Smart Pillow

£199.00

Rem-fit.co.uk

This smart pillow tracks your movements and the intensity of snoring. If it detects snoring, it will gently vibrate to nudge you to move a little to stop snoring, but without actually waking you up. There are built-in speakers too, which can stream music to your ears to help you fall asleep. There is a washable cover, outer shell, and a comfort filling at the core. In the midst of this filling sit the processing unit, gyroscope, vibration motors and precision placed speakers.

Emfit QS

$269

Amazon.com

This is a contact-free health tracker—as in you don’t have to wear it on your wrist—and it will log your sleep using a sensor strip that sits beneath the mattress. Apart from the deep sleep, light sleep and sleep quality data, it will also log heart rate variability, movement as well as breathing rates. The only drawback is that if you are lying in bed watching a movie, with the lack of movement and slowdowns in vitals, the algorithms could mark that as a sleeping period.

Philips SmartSleep

$399.99 (preorder)

Philips.com

While the headband with built-in headphones doesn’t look pretty, it might still get the job done—Philips will start shipping these in the next couple of months. There are a sensors integrated in the band, which will detect brain activity, and relay that information to a smartphone app. Once it identifies the state of deep sleep, it will play white noise in a slow repeating pattern, to reinforce the deep-sleep state for longer. Deep sleep is believed to be essential to resetting the brain, making the person more active and alert during the daytime.

*Prices may vary

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