Checking the messages on Facebook or posting the last Tweet has already became a pre-bedtime routine for most of us. However, we have already researched how bad sleeping with or near your smartphone can be for both your sleep and health.
However, lately, there has been an explosion of appearing of numerous smartphone applications that are supposed to interact with your sleep in one way or another. Some of them claim that they measure your sleep cycles, while other promise to wake you up very gently.
We did a bunch of research, and this article reveals the truth about all the smartphone apps, which are supposed to make your sleep better. Note: this article will not recommend you any certain apps, as they (spoiler!) are mostly useless, but share similar basic functions. However, if you want to try some of them, it is easy to find them both in iOS and Google Play stores, as there a bunch of them, for instance:
- Sleep Genius
- Sleep Cycle
- Sleep As Android
- Motionx 24/7
- And many more
Sooo, what are the basic elements of any app for sleeping and, most importantly, what do they actually do?
The apps that are designed to make you sleep better or track your sleeping cycles can be both free and chargeable. Customers tend to believe that the higher the price, the better the quality. However, in case of mobile apps for sleeping the situation looks slightly different. According to this experiment, the most user-friendly and useful app was the one that cost nothing. Don’t fall for the high price and put the most of your attention to the reviews of the app you are about to purchase.
There are several ways in which smartphone apps claim to affect your sleep: making it easier for you to sleep, measuring your sleeping cycles, and gently waking you up. Let’s discuss them in details.
- Help to fall asleep easier. Usually, smartphone apps provide a library of different white noise sounds, which are pleasant to listen to. There are forest, rain, ocean sounds, as well as simple relaxing noises. If you have troubles falling asleep, it might actually be a good idea to consider listening to such noises, as they help to relax your brain and set it in a sleepy wave.
In addition, if you are trying to fall asleep in a noisy place, it is better to listen to the sound of the birds singing than to your favorite rock song because soft relaxing sounds have more power to make you fall asleep than energetic rhythms.
Smartphone apps usually provide you an opportunity to set a certain amount of time when these white noises will be on, so you can set your customized time and listen to the heavy thunder either for half an hour of for 8 hours straight.
- Track down your sleeping cycles. Human body usually passes 5 stages of sleep during the night, and some of the smartphone apps claim to track down the differences in your sleeping cycles and the times when your body shifted from one to the other. However, in reality, sleeping cycles can accurately be measured only in a special medical laboratory, where the observation is based on tracking down the brain activity.
Most of the smartphone applications that claim to track the shifts between the sleeping cycles say that they are able to do it based on the way your body moves during the night. It is true that we tend to move more in certain phases of sleep, however, it is not enough to track down the movements in hopes to notice the shifts between the sleeping cycles.
Moreover, most smartphone apps are based on the work of the movement sensors, which get activated by the movements of your mattress. Thus, their measures highly depend on the firmness of your bed and on the fact, whether you sleep alone or with the partner. His or her movements can highly affect your results!
- Measure your general tendency for sleeping. This function is actually rather useful because it provides the opportunity to observe the overall time you spend sleeping, as well as reflect your usual time for going to bed and waking up. Some apps can even provide the statistics for the whole month or half a year (of course, only in case you have been using them for such a long time). This data is very helpful to find out more about your sleeping habits and help you understand whether you sleep long enough. And, for sure, it is always interesting to see any graphs or charts, which represent your habits or health state.
- Record the sounds you make overnight. Some apps have a sound sensing ability, so they will turn on the recorder every time you say something in your sleep. The recorder will go off when you stop, but you can listen to the tracks when you wake up in the morning. Not only that it is funny to listen to your night mumbles, these recordings can also appear very helpful in different ways.
First, they can help you find out about your inner-problems because talking during sleep can reveal many secrets you don’t even know you know. Second, listening to what you said during the night can push you towards remembering your dreams, which is important if you want to try lucid dreaming.
- Wake you up gently. Probably, the most truly useful feature of the smartphone apps for sleeping is the function of slowly waking you up when you are on the phase of the light sleep. Reminder: waking up is always easier when you are in this phase of sleep because your mind is not entirely sleeping in this moment, so it is easier for it to adjust to the wake-up mode.
The majority of the sleeping apps provide a variety of different gentle ringtones, which can slowly wake you up. In addition, in order to help you wake up in the light sleep phase, these apps usually suggest you put an alarm to a half an hour time range, so it can go off at any moment within these 30 minutes. Even though this function was created to prevent troubles with waking up and generally seems to be reasonable, it can also be a reason that you get late for your work, so be really careful with it.
Even though smartphone apps for sleeping do have some interesting and useful functions, such as collecting data about your sleeping routines, they are not as useful as they claim themselves to be. In addition, the research by Chinese Medical Association showed out that many people actually form real suggestions about their sleeping problems based on the data solely from these apps, which can actually be dangerous. So have fun listening to your overnight mumbles but don’t trust such apps with your health.