I haven’t been a person who (knock wood) who has had a lot of trouble with sleep. I LOVE sleep and I haven’t generally had much trouble falling or staying asleep. Getting up has been another story.
Anyway- recently the good folks at WeGoHealth invited me to try out a couple of health related apps. I am, as many of you know, a real fan of gadgets and gizmos when it comes to monitoring my health and/or fitness. So I jumped at the chance. Several of the manufacturers and inventors were going to be at the Body 2.0 fair in San Francisco so I wanted to try them out before meeting them in person.
One of the apps that really caught my attention was an iPhone app called SleepTime. The idea is that you put the phone near your pillow, then the app monitors your deep sleep, light sleep and awake times. The deep (REM) sleep is really necessary for health. It’s when all the good renewal happens. BUT if you wake up during a REM period, it can be very disorienting and disruptive.
SleepTime keeps track of your various wake/sleep states, and makes it a goal of waking you up only from light sleep. So if, say, you want to get up at 7:00am, it will track your sleep and wake you up during your lightest phase between 6:30 and 7:00. I learned the hard way that it is MUCH better to get up at 6:30 during light sleep, than it is to wake up at 6:55 from REM sleep.
Pretty much every night for the past week, I’ve woken up (thanks to SleepTime) during light sleep. I’ve been exercising and eating well, and feeling alert and energetic. But one night I set my “window” too narrowly (I designated a 10 minute rather than a 30 minute window). The app did not have any choice but to wake me up during REM. WELL…
I woke up all emotionally jangled. I’d been in the depths of some disturbing, upsetting dream. I couldn’t fully “wake up” no matter how much coffee I had. I had had a full 8 hours so I should have felt rested, but I didn’t. In fact, I felt like crap all day. I made some truly horrible food choices, things I had not eaten in months/years. I chose not to exercise because I was just too exhausted. In fact, it was a total bust of a day until I went to bed again that night. What a wreck.
I was amazed to wake up from light sleep the next morning and feel 10000% better. That next day I made great food choices and worked out and generally felt awesome. It was like (no pun intended) night and day. I’m not kidding!
We all know that sleep deprivation – not enough sleep – can lead to stress, high blood pressure and weight gain from increased cortisol (stress hormone). I never thought I had an “issue” with sleep because I knew I slept “enough.” But it’s about quality, not just quantity.
I’ve been in touch with the folks at Azumio, Inc (who make the app). They also make some other nifty health apps called Instant Heart Rate, Stress Check and Stress Doctor (biofeedback to decrease stress – cool huh?). I will be reviewing those later on. Anyway, these apps are all free. I encourage you to download them and try them out. People who leave comments here after trying one of the free apps are eligible to get a code for an updated, more nifty version. Give them a try!
October 14, 2012 at 11:38 pm
I downloaded Sleeptime a few days ago, when you mentioned it on twitter 🙂 I’m finding my sleep patterns fascinating. For some reason, I have consistently been asleep by 12 and then awake at 2am, and back to sleep by 3 for the last few days, and have no idea why. I am going to keep tracking to see if it’s a big deal or just a few days in a row thing
October 15, 2012 at 3:58 am
Holy crap, I gotta download Sleeptime! I used my fitbit to monitor my sleep and it was very enlightening–but it didn’t have the ability to differentiate my REM from light sleep!
October 24, 2012 at 12:18 am
okay. how do i USE sleeptime? i downloaded it and the screen just says “info” (which gives me pretty much nothing) and “5 min” and “10 min” buttons. and an option to change the background. isn’t it sort of an alarm clock that is supposed to wake me up? where are the instructions? argh. i want to use this.
October 24, 2012 at 12:22 am
ZOMG did you know there is another app called Sleep Time? (the one I described). And it costs money. And I have NO idea what it does. But I just found the right one! woohoo!
October 15, 2012 at 6:18 am
ok ok ok
I SHALL 🙂
too much in my brain is indeed keeping me awake!
October 15, 2012 at 9:20 am
I downloaded SleepTime the other days after I saw you talking about it on Twitter. I, unfortunately, have always had problems with sleeping. I have trouble falling asleep, and staying asleep, and even when I seem to get plenty of sleep, I’m still groggy and listless. Ugh! While I admit that this weekend wasn’t really the best test, as I had a sick toddler and was up a good bit anyway, it was interesting to see my sleep patterns. I had no idea I was waking up so many times! And my REM sleep periods seem very short. The highest efficiency I’ve gotten is 82%. I don’t know if that’s good or not. While I like the app, and it’s a great learning tool, it would be nice to have a few more bells and whistles, like more information on what happens during the sleep cycles, how to improve the quality of our sleep, etc.
In any case, I like the app, and I’m glad I caught your recommendation. 🙂
October 15, 2012 at 2:17 pm
Thanks for checking the app out! In terms of content, we like to post articles regarding sleep efficiency and effectiveness on our Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/azumioinc), or on our blog (www.azumio.com/news). As a matter of fact, our last posting on the Azumio blog was about how to get more efficient sleep, so you might like to check that out!
October 16, 2012 at 1:08 pm
I just tried this for the first time last night and am kind of fascinated with it! Will be interesting to try it out a little bit as last night was a bit of an anomaly where I had a really great night of sleep. I’m a chronic insomniac.
October 24, 2012 at 7:51 pm
Ok. I tried the free version of Sleep Time and I love it. I literally woke up in an amazing mood because of that app (bc it’s been a weird 24 hours otherwise).
October 24, 2012 at 8:19 pm
I was astounded at how it helped me change time zones ESP West-East!