The Daily App: Sleep Better With Sleep Machine
"Sleep Machine" creates soothing soundscapes to send you off into sleep, but if your insomnia is more persistent, a more powerful set of apps can turn your bedroom into an ad-hoc sleep disorders lab.
Gadgets and their effects on sleep have been well-documented: those glowing screens can overstimulate you, keeping you up into the wee hours of the night. But a slew of apps designed to help you sleep better have stepped into the breach. Some are quite sophisticated, using smartphone sensors with docks and other accessories to track your sleep patterns. But sometimes you don't really care about your ratio of REM vs. non-REM sleep -- you just want to catch some zzz's quickly and easily.
If this sounds like you, Sleep Machine is a great aid to soothe and lull you to sleep -- calming your restless and anxious mind with a store of relaxing sounds.
What's the App?
Sleep Machine, by SleepSoft for iOS, is a simple white noise and ambient sound machine app that promises "the ultimate sound sleep." It offers a variety of stereo sounds, ranging from delicate wind chimes to ocean waves to chirping crickets. You can customize the listening experiences at a high level using the intuitive, simple interface: you can mix different sounds together at varying volume levels and set your duration with a timer, allowing you to create a personal ambient atmosphere conducive to rest and relaxation. You can even set an alarm to wake them with gentle noise, instead of the more conventional jarring alarm sounds.
The free version comes with a basic slate of sounds, but the paid $2 version has 91 total sounds to choose from, adding noises like Tibetan bells, distant thunder and crackling fireplaces to the palette, for a rich sound experience. You can also load music from your iPhone, iPod or iPad into the soundscapes, as well as alarm clock features and displays.
You'll Want It If...
Your major problem with sleep is a racing mind and inability to wind down at the end of the day. For quick naps during the day, you can set soundscapes on a timer. And it's ideal if you're into yoga and meditation or need to soothe agitated babies.
It's Not My Thing -- What Else Ya Got?
If you're an insomniac that's far removed from normal sleep, no amount of soothing beach waves or Native American flutes will help. In that case, apps that work with docks and accessories can help transform your bedroom into a one-person sleep disorders lab, giving you valuable information and extremely fine-tuned suggestions on getting a better night's rest.
Renew SleepClock by Gear4, for example, works with radio sensors built into a bedside dock to detect breathing patterns and movement. The app then processes that data and wakes you at the lightest point of sleep, which helps prevent grogginess and impaired alertness that comes from being woken in deeper phases. The app is part sleep-disorders lab, part alarm clock, but at about $200, it's priced a bit out of most insomniacs' price range.
Other apps and accessories packages, like the WakeMate, a wristband that transmits results to your smartphone, or the Zeo Sleep Manager-Mobile, which uses a headband equipped with sensors to collect data about your sleep habits, are more accessible at $60 and $100, respectively.
If you suffer from sleeping disorders, it's a serious health issue and you should see a doctor. But arming yourself with knowledge can't hurt. Electronics are often criticized for degrading the quality of sleep, but they can also help you relax and wind down into the night, if used wisely.
Categories: Healthcare & Fitness | The Daily App