I use the Sleep Cycle app when I go to bed.
This is primarily because I sometimes go through bouts of insomnia. Usually I'm fine, but when work is busy, when there's big stuff going on in my private life, when I'm inspired by some great ideas I find it tough to sleep. Sleep Cycle helps me understand how well I'm sleeping on a nightly basis.
It's really good as it wakes you when it's the right time to wake you, not at a specific time. You give it a half hour window (say, from 7 - 7:30am) and it wakes you up at any point between those times when your body is ready to be woken up, and not when you're heading into a deeper sleep.
This graph here is a typical night's sleep for me:
Most nights during the week I don't really drink. Maybe a glass of wine with a meal or a cheeky ale, but not much. I find I sleep much better when I'm sober rather than when I've had a few drinks as you can see from the graph below.
Last night I had a few pints to celebrate a friend's birthday:
And you can see how different a typical night's sleep is when I'm sober compared to when I'm drunk.
But this is the rub. I've worked out that I don't sleep as well when I'm drunk, not the app.
What If... I could add notes to each night's sleep to say if I've consumed any alcohol? Actually, taking it one step further, why can't Sleep Cycle link with MyFitnessPal and build up a database of the things I consume. Then it could spit out lots of useful and not so useful information. Useful: "You sleep for 1.23 hours more when you don't drink alcohol." Not useful: "You stay in deeper sleep more when you eat less than 4 carrots a day."
What If... I could build up a user profile and tell the app when I'm at a hotel and how firm the bed is, for example, and it spits out what kind of mattress I sleep better on? They could do a deal with a bed brand or a hotel brand and push relevant offers to me based on how right the beds are for me.
What If... I could program the app and give it favourite locations? "Home", "Hannah's" and "Dad's" for example, and it could tell where I was and tell me where I sleep best? Beyond that what about when I go on holiday? It could deduce where I am, what the weather's like and tell me my best sleep ever at the end of every year?
What If... It collects data throughout the different seasons and builds up a picture of how well I sleep in each, then gives me tips on new duvets with different Tog ratings? Then it could tell me what the temperature is likely to be next week and suggest the best one for me?
What If... It linked to my iPod/ Spotify/ iTunes and worked out that I listen to music when I sleep. (I do, I find it relaxing to have some ambient noise in the background.) Then it built up a profile of artists and genres that helped me sleep better than others and spat out a bespoke playlist via a 3rd party for me and then gave me a week's free play before asking me to purchase on iTunes/ Spotify?
What If... just What If...
(Of course all of these are beyond the original build of the app I'm sure, but I love thinking What If...)
(And, as my friend Katy said in response to my post on MyFitnessPal, using these apps as marketing tools would turn some people off.)