Friday, October 28, 2016

Keeping Sleeping Under Wraps

One of the first things I started tracking on my quest for the quantified Jay is my sleep - and without even realizing it. See, I got this sweet iHome alarm clock years ago, which also acted as a dock for my iPod. So naturally I grabbed the iHome Sleep App and used that to play music to fall asleep by, as well as manage alarms. In between, it kept track of how many hours passed between me saying I was going to bed and the alarm going off. There wasn't a whole heck of a lot to it beyond a chart, but it was still pretty neat. Especially fun to see the huge dip when I worked a night shift.

More recently though, I picked up Sleep as Android and holy crap, guys. This app has so much going for it. This is one of the first things I talk up to anyone when we start getting geeky. Here's a smattering of features that I'm using it for:
  • Sleep phase tracking, by accelerometer or sonar
  • Smart wake-up to catch you in light sleep with the alarm
  • Falling asleep to music or nature sounds, fades out gradually over time
  • Automatically recording snoring, sleep talk or other bumps in the night
  • Tracks sleep deficit over time, and gives you a bedtime for best results
  • Automatically log your sleep into Google Calendar and Google Fit
Just freaking awesome, right? Adding sleep to my calendar is one of my favorites, because it lets me quickly visualize the time in concert with CloudCal:

Yup that's a midnight to noon shift on the 8th
The phase tracking and charts that Sleep as Android generates are just a huge tickle to my geek brain. The app will even give you some insights on how to get better sleep based on how you've rated previous nights.

Geeking the heck out

Alongside a pedometer or step tracking already built into your phone, I have to suggest sleep tracking as one of your first grabs in building a quantified self. Everyone sleeps, and everyone can benefit from sleeping better.

As always there's more I could get out of this app. I don't really have complaints, but just some wishlist items that would make it even cooler.
  • Sleep as Android integrates with smart lights like Philips Hue to simulate sunlight prior to waking you up. That's so freaking cool. I only register that because I want Hue so much more now but can't justify the price.
  • There's also integration with wearables for much deeper tracking of heart rate and movement. I of course am the man without a smartwatch.
  • There's a jankified method in the app to use music from Google Play as an alarm, but it isn't working at the moment, to my chagrin. Spotify integration is there, though! Why am I the only person who uses anything but Spotify..

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