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

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.