By Amanda Merriman
Humans love tracking data. Data about our health is no exception. When it comes to health, sleep quality (or lack thereof) is an important topic of conversation. Roughly one-third of Americans report poor sleep quality, and as such, there are many devices aimed at tracking how well we sleep.
Sleepzy is a free app that acts as a smart alarm clock that monitors your sleep cycles. It is currently available only for iOS devices and recently optimized for the Apple Watch. Sleepzy plots total amount of sleep time in addition to time spent in each phase. When you set the alarm through the app, you choose a wake-up range that spans from as little as 5 minutes up to an hour (default is 30 minutes). The app will determine when you are at the lightest part of your cycle during this time frame and wake you up. Awakening during a lighter phase will help you feel less groggy and more refreshed. You can set a sleep goal for yourself and therefore track if you are racking up a sleep debt. The app notes sleep quality as well by comparing your sleep goal versus actual duration and time spent in each phase.
Sleepzy accomplishes these things by using the microphone on your device to analyze sounds or movements. You do not have to sleep with your phone in your bed to use this app. Instead, place it on your nightstand. Remember to keep your device charging so the battery does not run out. Another item worth noting is that sounds from your partner or pet may affect the sleep analysis. Premium subscriptions offer additional features including trends with advanced statistics, listening to/saving/sharing recordings, and notation capability. The subscriptions come in 1- ($6.99), 3- ($11.99), or 12-month ($39.99) options.
Good quality sleep is critical to overall health. Practicing good sleep hygiene is an integral part of this. Admittedly, research indicates that keeping your phone in your bedroom can make it difficult to follow the recommended guidelines (limiting electronics before bed) for quality sleep. Personally, I keep my phone next to my bed because I do not have a landline, and I use the phone as my alarm. When I’m sliding into bed, I truly have gotten into the habit of not looking at it to do anything aside from turning on the alarm and charging it.
To learn more about sleep, check out the website for the National Sleep Foundation at sleepfoundation.org.