Runtastic, best known for its fitness apps and hardware, just unveiled its first sleep-tracking app: Sleep Better. This app tracks your nightly routine and behaviour to help you wake up less fatigued.
Image: 'A good nights sleep' (Karyne Levy)
Sleep Better makes it simple to learn all kinds of information about your sleeping habits. You can tell the app whether you worked out, had a stressful day, aren't sleeping in your own bed, ate a late meal, or drank caffeine or alcohol; all of which are factors that affect the quality of your sleep.
The most innovative part about Sleep Better, is what Runtastic calls a "Smart Alarm." You give Runtastic a window for when you would like to wake up, say between 5:30 am and 6 am, and the app will figure out the ideal time to wake you up, based on whether you are in a "light" or "deep" sleep phase.
According to Runtastic's research, the best time to wake up with an alarm is when you're in a "light" sleep phase. If you're in a "deep" sleep phase, you may experience more fatigue.
When you wake up, you enter how you're feeling and whether your dreams were good, bad or neutral, using little icons that represent each item. Over time, you can see how those factors play into your sleep efficiency.
You can track the overall quality of your sleep just by laying your phone beside you. However, our sleep expert Dr Nerina advises against using technology before bed as the backlights of mobile phone and laptop screens affect your melatonin levels which control your body clock.
"Technology may be a wonderful thing but for the best chance of a good night's sleep you should have a 'winding down' routine" Dr Nerina says: "The best way to create this routine is to ask`what do I need to do in order to make me feel calm and relaxed before sleep?" See her helpful tips for developing an effective wind down routine with Dr Nerina's Sleep Toolkit.