An App that Helps You Wake Up on the Right Side of the Bed
It Enables You to See Just How Important Sleep is as Part of Your Overall Health Strategy.
As the weather starts to get a little cooler, it signals the start of prime running season in Atlanta.
Currently, I’m training for the Atlanta Track Club’s Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon. Last Saturday, after our long training run, a group of us stayed for a short injury prevention seminar given by a local sports physician, which included a lot of information about proper stretching, icing after a long run and the like — but one of the most interesting part of the seminar was about the importance of sleep in the sports recovery process, weight management and general good nutrition.
Well, you don’t have to tell me twice to stay in bed a little longer!
So, when I went looking for this month’s gadget to review, I found a smartphone app that actually wakes you up at the optimal time, so you feel more rested and alert. Pretty cool, huh? The app is called Sleep Time and it’s available for both the iPhone and Android operating systems.
What’s more, it’s pretty easy to use. You simply launch the app, then choose a window of time that you would like to be awakened. (I usually get up around 7am, so I set the app to wake me between 6:45 and 7:15am.) You keep Sleep Time running and press the start button. You then place the phone screen-side down on the side of your mattress. Note: it doesn’t instruct you to keep your phone plugged into a power source, but it doesn’t hurt since the app will be running until it wakes you up in the morning — even though the screen does go dark after you place it on your mattress.
The app, using the motion sensor in the phone, keeps track of your sleep patterns by measuring how still or restless you are as you sleep. Stillness equates to deeper sleep. When you toss and turn, it indicates that you are between deep sleep cycles in a lighter sleep phase. As you approach the timeframe you chose to be awakened, the app waits until you become the most restless — in your lightest sleep cycle — then the Sleep Time alarm wakes you up. (There are actually some nice alarm sounds to choose from. I’ve been waking up to morning birds chirping.) The theory is that when you are awakened from a lighter sleep vs. a deeper one, it is much easier to wake up, and you ultimately feel more rested and less groggy.
Another cool feature of the app is that it graphs your sleep patterns from the night before so you can tell how long it took you to fall asleep, the times when you slept lightly, and when you were in deep (REM) sleep. If you keep a sleep journal, this information may be really helpful to you in that you may be able to figure out what days you should go to bed a little earlier.
I’ve just started using Sleep Time, and aside from the novelty factor, I really am pleased with how I’ve felt each morning the app did its thing.
If you decide to give it a try, please post your comment below — and of course, if have any suggestions for my next gadget review, I’m always open to suggestion!
Contributed by: Philip Niekro, GMM Customer Service Manager
Philip — one of the warm and friendly voices you hear when you call GMM Customer Service — was recently promoted to GMM Customer Service Manager! His mission is to ensure that every GMM customer receives the highest quality customer service possible, assisting those who wish to place an order, updating customer accounts, and ensuring that customer feedback is a top priority. Philip is also a self-avowed gadget geek, an avid runner, and a very engaged member of the Open Hand Health & Wellness Committee.