Fixing your sleep and curing insomnia has never been easier with the latest range of high tech sleep monitoring aides.
In this article we take a look at some of the best sleep apps and gadgets which can help improve how much sleep you get, ensure you get enough high quality sleep, and wake you up at just the right time in the sleep cycle. From alarm clocks to iOS apps this guide has something for everyone.
As the name implies this app is for android devices and started life as an alarm clock to wake you during the best time in your sleep cycle. Now several versions on this app does a great job at tracking your sleep patterns and providing easy to read graphs.
My favourite feature is the CAPTCHA wake up verification, ensuring you never oversleep. In order to disable the alarm you can set a number of different challenges to verify your alertness – including scanning a QR code in the bathroom!
The sleep tracking itself is done through the in-device accellerometer, and provides relatively accurate tracking information although not as accurate as wrist worn devices. With full sleep defecit, movement, snoring and activity monitoring this app makes a great introduction to the world of sleep monitoring.
Sleep Cycle has been around a long time, and the app has been slowly improving over time. It was the first app I used to monitor sleep and still prefer the visual graphs to most of the others. As a stand alone app that only requires a phone its my number one choice.
The alarm wakes you in the lightest phase of sleep, closest to your desired wake up time so you can always be sure you are getting the gentlist wake up possible. Another useful feature is the placement test which helps ensure you get the device set up perfectly for accurate tracking.
Whilst apps provide a convenient way for the masses to monitor their sleep they are not necessarily the most accurate way of tracking. To get the most detailed information a dedicated device should be worn. These devices have multiple benefits, but the key ones are:
- Dedicated devices are not as sensitive to partners movements in bed.
- No requirement to have your phone in bed with you which can cause overheating.
- Seperate batteries remove the dependency on your phone.
- Devices usually track other key health statistics.
Lets take a look at some of the current offerings on the market.
Beddit Sleep Monitor
A scientifically backed and researched sleep monitor this device is the only one in our lineup that isnt wrist worn, but instead features a band which the user lies on at night. Tracking is very thorough and monitors key aspects of your nights sleep such as respiration rate, heart rate, movement and noise.
At €149 its not cheap, but is compatible with iOS & Android devices and the interfaces are sleek and well designed.
http://mybasis.com – £169.99
Perhaps my favourite newcomer to the scene is the Basis Peak Fitness & Sleep Tracker. Its the only device that doesnt require me to interact with my phone before sleep, instead using its intelligent Body IQ system to automatically detect activities including sleep. This helps solve the problem of blue light before bed.
It also has one of the most comprehensive ranges of sensors which makes for highly accurate tracking data of both sleep and also core fitness (something which when improved leads to better sleep anyway.)
The Peak monitors perspiration, heart rate and movement and provides tracking for the following activities:
- REM & Deep Sleep
- Skin Temperature
- Heart Rate
- Calories Burned
- Different Sports (Walking, Running, Cycling)
Getting stock is an issue, with the new Peak version having just been launched. But its worth waiting for, with bluetooth integration as well this watch becomes super smart and lets your read notifications from your phone. Oh, its a watch too.
http://www.misfit.com – £70
One of the least intrusive, and economically priced devices in our line up the Misfit Shine is a small disc with optional sports band which monitors all activity including sleep. The onboard battery lasts up to 4 months (in part due to the lack of display) and syncs with your smart phone via bluetooth.
It can also be clipped onto your clothing when doing other physical activities to monitor all aspects of your lifestyle. The only down side is a lack of additional sensors instead relying a bit too heavily on the accelerometers.
Are you already monitoring your sleep? Using a device not listed here and want us (and our readers) to take a look – leave a comment below.