Finding a Sleep Monitoring App That Reduces Insomnia and Sleep Disorders
Sleep is essential for all aspects of your health. Getting high-quality rest may protect you from high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s disease and a host of medical conditions. For centuries, sleep deprivation has been recognized as a powerful technique for torturing prisoners. If you’re one of the millions of adults who suffer from chronic insomnia, a sleep monitoring app could be your secret weapon against this all-too-common sleep disorder.
Benefits of Sleep Monitoring
A simple sleep monitoring app offers a number of benefits for anyone who has chronic insomnia or just wants to sleep better. Here are a few advantages of this new technology:
- Offers positive results without the high cost of medically supervised sleep studies
- Provides ongoing information about the duration and quality of your sleep
- Fosters healthy sleep habits, sleep hygiene and long-term lifestyle changes
- Establishes consistent sleeping and waking times that fit your schedule
- Reduces insomnia, nighttime disturbances and sleep disorders
- Sets goals to improve your sleep gradually and consistently
What to Look for In a Sleep Monitoring App
There are many science-based sleep improvement apps available today. Here are four types of sleep monitoring systems that offer different features at several price points.
- Free or inexpensive standalone applications with limited features
- Apps that use your phone’s sensors to estimate your sleep cycles
- Optional paid programs that provide personalized recommendations
- Systems that work with a separate heart rate monitor or activity tracker
Most sleep monitoring services can be used with or without optional devices or paid sleep improvement programs. Standalone applications will still gather information about your sleep quality. You’ll also have a chance to see how the app works for you without spending extra money.
Usually, free apps have basic features that track the length of your sleep and record nighttime noises. Options like a built-in alarm clock or relaxing music are nice to have, but they don’t really help with sleep monitoring. Some free apps are packed with ads unless you purchase an upgraded version.
How Apps Track Movement and Sleep Cycles
A number of products claim to track your sleep cycles, but they vary greatly. The first method relies on your phone’s built-in accelerometer, which senses the orientation of the device. The downside is that you have to place the phone on your bed, and the results are just estimates. Other apps communicate with an external Bluetooth-enabled fitness tracker that monitors your heart rate. The second option is more accurate, but you’ll need to purchase a compatible device unless you own one already.
The most important features depend on your personal sleep monitoring goals and challenges. If you’re concerned about potential sleep disorders, you’ll want a system that monitors your nighttime activity and sleep cycles. Here are a few useful features:
- Offers an easy-to-use interface that doesn’t interrupt your sleep or cause stress
- Works with a variety of comfortable and unobtrusive activity trackers
- Provides personalized recommendations for improving your sleep
- Tracks all sleep stages based on your heart rate and movement
- Detects signs of possible sleep disorders, including snoring and insomnia
- Monitors your heart rate to identify sleep disturbances, partial awakenings and stress
- Records sounds to determine if snoring or environmental noises are disrupting your sleep
- Supports optional biofeedback systems for reducing stress and promoting relaxation
- Wakes you up gently at optimal times in your sleep cycle so that you feel rested
Long-Term Benefits of the Proper Sleep Monitoring App
Your sleeping experience is one part of the bigger picture. Daytime activities affect your sleep, so don’t overlook them. Find a system that asks questions about your daily stress level or estimates the impact of caffeine and alcohol.
The app’s recommendations promote better sleep hygiene. For example, activities like working, watching TV and surfing the Internet while you’re in bed compromise the quality of your sleep and break the favorable association between the bedroom and rest. The right type of data and recommendations will help you sleep soundly and overcome common sleep disorders. Because the app tracks your progress, it’s motivational and goal oriented. If you don’t know what’s causing your insomnia or sleep disturbances, you can’t fix it. The app shows what’s happening and what you can improve.
Sleep monitoring apps aren’t only for people with insomnia or sleep disorders. If your sleep quality is moderate, you can make it better – the process is also beneficial if you don’t have insomnia, but have periods of drowsiness during the day or if you never feel rested.