A book on Sleep and Sleep Tracking Apps

Why We Sleep

Sleep is something that we do almost every day and yet explore it only superficially. We either say “I should go to sleep” or “I wish I had slept longer”. Recently I read “Why We Sleep”. It’s an interesting book because it explores the topic in such depth. I learned that birds sleep on power lines and the birds on the right and the left of the group are sleeping with one eye open. Half of their brain is sleeping whilst the other half is awake. Half way through the sleep cycle they hop around and the other eye is opened and that half of the brain takes over. Sleep is a fascinating topic.

Sleep As Android

I have been playing with two apps for over a year now. One of these is Sleep As Android. When I first started using this app it required being placed in the bed to detect when I moved. Over time they developed technology so that it uses “sonar” to detect when we move during the night. Thanks to the “sonar” feature I can keep the phone up to a metre away from me.

I might have tracked up to 576 nights of sleep with this app. With this app I can see the duration, the irregularity, how much of my sleep cycle is deep, how efficient it is and how I rate it. It shows my how bad or good my sleep deficit is and what my chronotype is. According to the app I am a morning lark.

This app gives advice. This app believes that to maximise sleep I should go to sleep at 23:15 and that to maximise deep sleep I should sleep 8hrs 10.

Sleep Cycle

Another app I have played with extensively is Sleep Cycle. I used this app to track my sleep for several hundred nights of which six months was whilst working as an aircraft deicer. This is relevant because I was trying to go to sleep for 1800 and waking for 2am. Of course, I usually went to sleep around 2000 or so. I mention this because if any sleep specialists read this blog I am ready to share the data. Since then I have gone back to sleeping more pleasant hours.

This app provides you with a sleep graph per night, the time you went to bed and got up, sleep quality, time with noise, sleep notes, wake up mood, heart rate, step count and total nights tracked. I have tracked 303 nights of sleep with the app.

When you look at the trends tab you can see sleep quality and you can compare it with entire countries. You can track how regular your “went to bed” graph is, how much time you spent in bed, the time at which you woke up, what factors result in better sleep, decreased sleep, weather effect, air pressure, moon and location. You can also track your heart rate when you wake up. My average is currently 47 bpm, average in Switzerland is 67, Denmark, 65 and Turkey 73. The heart rate measurement comes from shining light through your finger and the phone detecting the change in colour per heartbeat.

Apparently, my best night of sleep is on a Tuesday and it gets progressively worse as the week wears on.

 

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