We are often criticised for our excessive use of phones and tablets in daily life and, when it comes to the bedroom, opinions are much the same. Experts tend to advise that we shouldn’t use gadgets too close to bedtime – due to the potentially negative impact their screens may have on our sleep and sleep quality. Some even suggest banning gadgetry entirely from our bedrooms!
However, rather than to spread more gloom and doom about your favourite gadgets, we’re here to suggest a few applications that could help to make them both a welcome addition to the bedroom and a handy tool to ensure you get a better night’s sleep.
Sleep Cycle is a sleep-tracking app which collects information about your nightly sleep and displays graphs of your sleep pattern (and cycles) over a period of time. It also features a ‘smart alarm’ which is said to wake you up during lighter phases of sleep, so that you wake up less groggy and leave your bed more easily.
The app requires you to place your phone close to you on your bed’s mattress when you’re ready to sleep, using systems already installed in your phone to keep track if your movement during the night. Crossmatching this information about your movements with what we generally know about sleep (e.g. that you can’t move during REM sleep), the app charts your sleep cycles during the night, calculating a range of ‘totals’ (e.g. total time awake) which you can digest in easy-to-understand graphs.
Sleep Cycle is available on the App Store for $0.99.
Sleepbot is another tracking app with a few extra features. Similarly to Sleep Cycle, Sleepbot charts your sleep based on your movement during the night and features the same alarm function that wakes you up during ‘lighter’ phases of sleep close to your desired wake-up time. In addition, Sleepbot can detect and record sound throughout the night, so you’ll know if you’ve been chatting away during the night (or snoring!).
Sleepbot can offer some simple suggestions if you’re struggling to fall asleep, or to stay awake, but its information is particularly focussed on sleep debt and its associated problems.
Sleepbot is available both for Apple and Android smartphones for free and the good news is that you can also view your sleep graphs in their full glory on your PC’s screen if you access your data through the website.
Sleepio is a clinically proven web app developed by world sleep expert, Professor Colin Espie. Each week you log on to the website from your tablet (or computer) to visit your virtual sleep expert, ‘The Prof’, who teaches you techniques based in scientific evidence and tailored to your specific problem.
At a fraction of the cost of face-to-face sleep therapy, Sleepio is a great opportunity to try out Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), the only proven solution to long-term sleep problems.
In addition to being taught techniques you can use for the rest of your life, you are supported by an online community of improving sleepers as well as a host of tools to help you track your progress, whilst your virtual sleep expert helps you interpret the results.
You can get access to Sleepio on the website, from $9.99/ week.
Jawbone UP app
The UP app is free for iPhones and Android, but does require a tracking device. The UP band is worn on the wrist and gathers information about your sleep from your movement during the night.
Each night’s sleep is compared against your chosen sleep goal - the number of hours youâd ideally like to clock each night. The app also pops up messages to motivate you, suggesting new goals you could aim for, or quick tips to help you further improve your everyday routine.
Finally, you can add any friends with UP bands as ‘team members’ within the app - you’ll be able to see each others’ progress and keep yourselves accountable on your goals. If you’re the competitive sort, you might just find that keeping an eye on the activity of your social circle may give you an extra boost!
Jet Lag Rooster
Jet Lag Rooster is a web and phone app ideal for the frequent traveller or anyone planning a long-haul holiday. Developed by the team at Swan Medical, the app can help you minimise jet lag any time you travel across time zones.
Based on scientific research about the positive effects of light exposure on sleep cycles and the data you enter into the app, its computer algorithm creates a precise schedule for you to follow after the departure. The times in your schedule are selected to maximise any benefits of exposure to daylight so that you can kick off your holiday feeling fresher!
One great thing about Jet Lag Rooster is that you wonât need Internet access to use it, so you won’t have to choose between a jet lag and breaking the bank if stuck at the airport.