Instead of unplugging for a better night’s sleep, new apps are encouraging you to sleep with your smartphone to improve slumber.
A recent article in The New York Times highlights the latest generation of sleep technology. The products track a person’s sleep by using sensors to detect breathing and movement, and then sound an alarm during a 20- to 40-minute window when the sleeper is in a light phase of slumber.
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While scientists herald the ability to track sleep patterns (some of the apps track disruptions and pinpoint the number of hours you spent in deep sleep), there is some debate as to whether waking up at the lightest stage of sleep is advantageous.
â€œIt is not clear that systematically waking people up in light sleep is going to benefit them or lead to better health,â€ David M. Rapoport, the director of the sleep medicine program at New York University School of Medicine, told the New York Times.
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Apps vary from the Renew SleepClock ($199), which uses a radio sensor to track movement and breathing patterns to determine sleep phases, to the WakeMate ($59.99), which relies on a wristband to collect data and the Zeo Sleep Manager-Mobile ($99), which uses a headband.
If it’s not waking up that’s troubling you, there’s also an app that aims to manage your dreams. The Dream:ON uses similar technology, but plays soundscapes instead of an alarm to nudge your dreams in a predetermined direction, the L.A. Times reports. An experiment, billed as the world’s largest dream experiment, is ongoing.
Credit: Todd Warnock/Corbis