Apps for naps: Top connected tech for better sleep

The A to Zzz of connected tech to help you get a good night's rest.

Some of us need eight hours a night, others can manage with five - but all of us need a quality night's sleep to keep functioning at our optimum potential the next day.

So what role does technology play in helping us sleep better?

While the popular school of thought is to stay away from gadgets at bedtime, there are a few ways they can help us learn more about our sleep...and even help improve the quality of it.

The wearables

There is plenty of choice in the fitness wearables market, and a number of devices are available to help you collect data about your sleeping patterns.

These devices are used for a multitude of activities, so the ability to track your sleep is usually about monitoring vitals such as movement or heart rate. Examples include:

Jawbone

Jawbone wearables monitor the quality of your sleep by communicating with apps on your smartphone.

These devices track your sleep and also offer advice on behaviours such as the best times to sleep. The alarm clock functionality wakes you at the optimum time in your sleeping cycle.

Fitbit

Fitbit devices are also worn on your wrist and track all movements, including your sleep. These devices connect with an app on your smartphone and collect crucial data, track and monitor your sleeping patterns and generate reports.

Samsung and Apple

The Samsung Gear Fit and Apple Watch track your sleep by integrating with apps on their respective smartphones. 

UP Move by Jawbone. Photo: Jawbone Press Kit

Apps and trackers

These apps use motion sensors in smartphones to track sleep patterns. Given this, they usually require you to keep the smartphone in close proximity of your sleeping location so movement and sounds can be tracked to determine the quality of sleep.

A few examples:

Sleep Cycle

Sleep Cycle tracks and collects data about your sleep and is also able to wake you up at the optimal time in your sleep cycle. It also generates daily reports. 

Sleep Time and Sleep As Andriod are free versions of sleep tracking apps that offer similar functionality to Sleep Cycle.

While these apps monitor and collect data about your sleep, white noise apps are designed to actually improving your sleeping habits.

These apps play soft ambient sounds to create a relaxed atmosphere to help you drift off. Sleep Pillow SoundsWhite Noise and Relax and Sleep are great examples.

The non-wearables

If you're losing sleep over having to wear a connected device to bed, there are options available in non-wearables market.

The Beddit monitor is a good example. Rather than being attached to the body, this monitor is hooked into to the mattress, and keeps track of vital stats such breathing patterns, heart rate, movement, and even snoring! It then transmits this data back to your smart device.

This gadget also comes with fitted a smart alarm.

The Sleep Cycle app. Photo courtesy: Sleep Cycle

The next frontier for sleep tech

Not yet available in Australia, the Resmed S+ is the next level in sleep monitoring. Rather than relying on technology that connects to the bed or the body, the S+ is the first non-contact sleep sensor.

This sensor will keep track not only of the body’s breathing and movement, it will also monitor ambient factors such as lighting, temperature and noise levels. It will then send all of this feedback to your smartphone in a daily report.

With a plethora of connected devices available to monitor and help improve your the quality of your forty winks, you can stop losing sleep over...your sleep!