Saturday, March 14, 2009

Will Smarter Phones Make Us Better Sleepers?

With iTunes and an iPhone, you can do much more than download Soulja Boy’s latest hit song. Some application developers are even hoping the iPhone will help you sleep better.

Mark Cooke and composer Norihiko Hibino worked together to create “Prescription for Sleep.” They describe it as “a music visualizer that is intended to act as a sleep aid.” It combines “soothing imagery and therapeutic music” to help you fall asleep.

The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that two college students won a $10,000 prize for developing “Proactive Sleep.” It analyzes your sleep cycle to determine the best time to wake you up in the morning.

After waking you up it uses a game to test your alertness and reaction time. Poor performance indicates that you woke up from a stage of deep sleep. Performing well is a sign that you woke up from a stage of light sleep.

The program uses this information to “learn” more about your sleep cycle. This helps it predict when to wake you up on the days that follow.

Washington Post reports that a “White Noise” application offers 40 sounds to soothe you to sleep. You can choose the sound of ocean waves, chirping crickets or even a humming air conditioner.

But is all of this necessary? Do we need more gadgets and programs to help us sleep? Or do we just need to get back to
the basic habits of sleeping well?

What do you think - is new technology hindering our sleep? Or does it offer new ways to help us sleep better?

Come back tomorrow to learn about studies that examine whether or not cell phones have a negative impact on our sleep.

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