03 November 2014
We spend a third of our life asleep and therefore, we should take it quite seriously. If you, as Shakespeare says "lack the season of all natures, sleep", then these apps will help.
Sleep cycle is an alarm clock that will predict when it is best to wake you up. When you sleep, you will pass through several sleep cycles made up of 3 stages; phase 1 is when you close your eyes and dose off, phase 2 is light sleep, and phase 3 is deep sleep. During deep sleep, you body recovers however you will be in total paralysis. Waking up during this phase will cause disorientation for a few minutes. The app takes advantage of this situation using the accelerometer in your phone and detects your movement. So after a sleep cycle; when you start moving again, the app will notice and starts ringing the alarm. That way, you can wake up slowly without feeling disoriented. The app will also keep track of your movement during the whole night and will give you reports on your sleep quality and on what helps you sleep better. The app is available on Apple's App Store and Google Play as a paid app. Make sure that you can keep your phone on the mattress whilst it is on charge. This is because the app uses an ample amount of power to get the accelerometer at that accuracy.
This app is developed by the same company and is also an alarm clock. However, the app focuses on small power naps. Instead of putting the phone on your mattress, you can put it in your pocket as it could still sense your movement from there. You get 3 choices to setup the alarm; either a 'Power Nap' which wakes you up after a few minutes, ideal for dosing off. The 'Recovery Nap' mode is used to let you rest in light sleep and wakes you up right before you fall into deep sleep, so you wouldn't wake up disoriented. And the last option "Full Sleep Cycle" which lets you sleep for about 2 hours and allows you to fall into deep sleep. The app will wake you up when you start moving again, and therefore, you're out of deep sleep. The app is also available on iPhone as a paid app from the same organisation.
If you find it rather difficult to fall asleep, this one might help. Binaural beats is a concept based on sounds which will help to tune your brain to a certain frequency which it uses at certain consciousness levels. The brain uses different frequencies while sleeping, awake, meditating, agitated etc... The app's job is to play these frequencies until your mind is used to them and hence, putting you in this state. To use the app, you will need to wear stereo headphones since the app plays a sound wave at a frequency from one ear, and another slightly varied frequency in the other ear. The difference between the 2 frequencies results in the frequency your mind uses at different states. All you have to do is to set the state that you are looking for (in this case, asleep), close your eyes and listen to the sound waves for some minutes. That should be enough to simulate the desired state. There are a lot of apps that perform these tasks both on iOS and Android. Our personal favourite is "Binaural Beats" since it is well designed and provides a good variety of state options.
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