2018-03-25 / Insight

Want better sleep? Try an app

810-452-2609 • adietderich@mihomepaper.com

The Calm app The Calm app LAPEER COUNTY — From fighting off common colds to staving off food cravings, reducing the risk of obesity and diabetes, and more, myriad studies and reports document the connection between quality sleep and health.

The answer to getting a good night’s sleep could very well be in your own hands — literally.

That’s because a number of smartphone apps are designed for sleep, from helping people knock off to monitoring and analyzing sleep habits to waking a person at an optimal time.

The County Press has compiled a list of some popular choices:

• The app simply called Calm is focused on mindfulness and meditation — two things that can help a person sleep better. Calm offers guided meditation sessions that are available in varying lengths. They cover topics ranging from calming anxiety to deep sleep. Other features of the Calm app include breathing exercises to help you relax and another called “Sleep

The Sleep Tracker app The Sleep Tracker app Stories.” The popular app (currently ranked no. 4 in the App

Store’s Health and Fitness category) is free and available for iOS and Android.

• Sleep Tracker by

Sleepmatic currently ranks in Apple’s

App Store on the list of “top paid” apps

(no. 13 in the Health &

Fitness category).

Used in combination with an Apple

Watch, it’s as simple as wearing it to bed — no elaborate set up required.

Sleep Tracker keeps track of your heart rate, number of hours slept, average heart rate, and more. A report is generated on your iPhone when you wake, and you can view past reports to identify trends that could be used to help improve sleep. The app is $1.99 in the App Store (not available for Android or Windows).

• Sleep Watch by Bodymatter ranks just a couple spots down from Sleep Tracker in the App Store. It generally works the same. Simply wear your Apple Watch to bed and get regular reports on stuff like total sleep time, total so-called “restful sleep time”, and sleep activity levels.

One especially cool feature of Sleep Watch is the “Sleeping Heart Rate Dip Tracking.” According to the developer, “studies among particular populations suggest that the more heart rate slows — or dips — during sleep compared to waking may be better for both overall and cardiovascular health in years to come.”

• Don’t worry if you don’t have an Apple Watch — you still can use your phone to track sleeping habits. Check out the app called Sleepbot

— available for both iOSand Android-based devices.

Start the app and set it next to you before going to sleep. The microphone and accelerometer in your phone do the rest. (Technically speaking, the accelerometer is the feature of your phone that detects movement.)

Sleepbot automatically shuts off when your alarm goes off, instantly generating a report on how you just slept. Best of all, it’s free for iOS and


• Last, you may also want to consider the Sleep Cycle alarm clock. Like Sleepbot, the Sleep Cycle app uses your smartphone’s microphone and accelerometer to track your sleeping activity or inactivity.

The intent of Sleep Cycle (also a free app) is not to generate a report, however. Instead the intent is to wake users when they are likely in the lightest phase of sleep. Doing so is supposed to help the user wake feeling more rested that if waking from a deep sleep.

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