Sleep Right: Improving Health With AppsWed, 09/06/2017 - 16:59
A decade ago, the arrival of smartphones also introduced the world to the app. Today, millions of apps permeate mobile platforms and among the most popular are those related to health. Maciek Drejak, CEO of Northcube and Founder of Sleep Cycle, an app that wakes users during their lightest phases of sleep, says the increased use of technology and the advances of Big Data can help improve a variety of conditions, including those related to sleep.
“[Health apps] help users quantify their sleep data. They give users all the information they need to find ways to improve their sleep and follow up on progress,” says Drejak.
Sleep tracking has become a world trend and with millions of users worldwide, Sleep Cycle, developed by Swedish company Northcube, is among the most popular. Sleep Cycle alarm clock has been available for download since 2009 and is used to track sleep patterns. Users can add sleep notes such as “drank coffee” or “worked out,” to figure out what habits improve their sleep quality and which ones are detrimental.
“Sleep Cycle alarm clock iOS features a patented stateof-the-art sound analysis technology that records sleep patterns. During sleep, our movements vary with each sleep phase. Sleep Cycle alarm clock uses the phone’s microphone to identify sleep phases by tracking movements in bed,” Drejak says. The app then analyzes sleep, records its findings and wakes up users during their lightest sleep phase, using a predefined 30-minute alarm window.
In the modern on-the-go world, getting the right amount of adequate sleep can be difficult. A study carried out by UNAM shows that 35 to 40 percent of Mexicans have sleep problems that have been linked to further health problems such as overweight and obesity.
In addition to looking for the specific sound-fingerprint of bed sheets moving, several other filters are deployed in the app. It detects and filters rhythmic, reoccurring sounds such as breathing and snoring, in addition to certain specific sounds that are problematic for the fingerprinting system like those of Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machines, a breathing apparatus used by those who suffer from sleep apnea.
Sleep Cycle can help detect differences in the population’s sleeping habits due to its bank of sleep notes and due to the feeling of happiness users input upon waking. “Men sleep less but wake up happier and have higher sleep quality. Women sleep more but wake up in a worse mood,” says Drejak.