If you want to improve the quality of your sleep, tech could help you. Read on for a look at the Sense monitor plus a range of sleep apps.
If you’re having a hard time drifting off and slumbering peacefully, sleep tech may be the answer. We recently got our hands on the Sense sleep monitor, putting the device through its paces to see if it really can improve sleep quality. We’ve also been trying out a range of free and paid-for sleep apps for smartphones.
Read on as we take a closer look at sleep tech to help guarantee you have a great night’s sleep.
Best Buy fitness trackers – measure your sleep with a top-rated wearable
Sense sleep monitor – the clever bedside buddy
The globe-shaped Sense sits next to your bed and monitors your environment, letting you know if there’s something going on that could affect your sleep. The Bluetooth gadget features a series of sensors that help it to measure room temperature, air quality, light levels and sound. By studying your bedroom in this way, Sense can tell you what changes (if any) you need to make to your room to ensure you sleep soundly.
We found that the Sense is easy to configure for the first time and it looks great when it’s up and running. If you hover your hand over it, the device tells you how likely you are to sleep well based on the current conditions in your bedroom. A green light means you’ll probably have a great kip, while an orange or red light means something’s amiss.
To make the most of Sense, you need the Sense app. Data gathered by the Sense is neatly displayed here, and you can also decide which ambient sounds you’d like to fall asleep to. We think the app looks great, and it’s really easy to find your way around, providing you with a sleep score every morning based on the previous night. Sense’s app is also able to wake you up at your lightest level of sleep, which means you’ll start the morning feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. We certainly noticed the difference compared with waking up to a ‘normal’ alarm clock.
Sense comes bundled with the Sleep Pill – a mini, pound-sized tracker that clips onto your pillow and improves the overall accuracy of the Sense. The Sleep Pill’s main function is to measure your movement while you sleep. If you were disturbed during the evening, the smartphone app will pick up on that and highlight it the next morning.
Our verdict: Sense offers some genuinely handy tips on how to improve your sleep quality. Even so, it’s a little on the expensive side. We recommend you try out some free or cheap sleep apps for your smartphone first. For more on the Sense, take a look at our first look video above.
The best sleep apps for smartphones
1. Sleep Cycle
Sleep Cycle is free to download on iOS, but Android users will have to pay 99p for it. The app analyses your sleep patterns through the night and uses the results to make sure you’re woken up at your lightest level of sleep. You’ll need to place your smartphone right next to your pillow for it to work at its best. There are various alarm styles to choose from, and Sleep Notes let you monitor how certain events like having a stressful day affect your sleep quality.
2. MotionX 24/7
Available for: iOS
Much like the Sense, MotionX 24/7 for iOS will give you a daily sleep score, based on sleep efficiency, sleep duration and the ratio of deep to light sleep. This 79p app is an Apple exclusive, and even works while Airplane Mode is enabled, which means you won’t be bothered by any texts or calls while you’re snoring away. The smart alarm clock is easily adjustable, and the app also features a white noise soundtrack that turns off automatically when you fall asleep.
SleepBot can monitor your movements during the night, but it also picks up on sounds too. Detailed reports let you play back moments when you were making a noise, which can make for some surprising results. The free app lets you configure multiple smart alarms and shows trend graphs that let you spot sleep patterns over time. This isn’t exactly the prettiest smartphone app we’ve ever seen, but it’s nice and detailed.
Most popular fitness trackers are also able to tell you how well you sleep. Garmin’s Vivofit 3 shows you your sleep patterns through the Garmin Connect smartphone app. The wearable also tracks steps, distance travelled and calories burnt when you’re exercising. Meanwhile, Jawbone’s UP3 has some tricks of its own, offering in-depth sleep tracking that allows users to track naps separately from regular sleep. Take a look at our range of fitness tracker reviews for more details.