Having trouble sleeping? These apps could help

There are many apps which promise to help people get a better – and longer – sleep each night

There are many apps on the market which promise to help people get a better – and if the person’s situation allows, longer – sleep each night.

There are many apps on the market which promise to help people get a better – and if the person’s situation allows, longer – sleep each night.

 

A recent study of 1,000 adults in Ireland found one-third of adults are getting by on less than six hours sleep each night.

The World Health Organisation recommends sleeping between seven and nine hours each night.

And sleep deprivation is not a problem confined to adults. Last week a “Sleep Programme” – funded by the National Youth Council of Ireland – was launched in Arklow, Co Wicklow aimed at helping young people improve their sleep habits.

The resource – available from crosscare.ie, kwetb.ie and docchildandfamily.ie – hopes to tackle sleep deprivation by addressing stress, diet, physical activity, drug and alcohol use and encouraging changes to poor sleep hygiene.

There are many apps on the market which promise to help people get a better – and if the person’s situation allows, longer – sleep each night.

Here are just two of those apps available (on iOS and Android).

F.lux

“Most phones today have some piece of software that can help lower blue light in the evenings. This may not filter it out, but it can be helpful. My favourite is f.lux,” says “sleep doctor” and clinical psychologist Dr Michael Breus.

Applicable to PCs, laptops and tablets, f.lux is particularly effective for smart phones, owing to the sheer volume of use, especially after dusk. Calibrated to sunrise and sunset for each day of the year, it makes the colour of your screen’s display adapt to the time of day, being warm at night and more like sunlight during the day, helping you to sleep better, longer and deeper.

Cost: Free.

S+

Since first coming on the market, sleep tracker apps haven’t always lived up to their promises. Many struggle to distinguish between any movement and bad sleep, while others can’t differentiate between your quality of sleep and your partner’s. “I like the S+ by ResMed,” says Breus. “Not only is it created by a company that has been in sleep for 30-plus years, and is extremely accurate, but it gives personalised advice about your sleep and how to make it better.”

Synching with smartphone or tablet, S+ is a non-contact “sleep system” device placed beside your bed. It measures your breathing and body movements throughout the night; analyses light, noise and temperature levels in your bedroom; creates daily sleep scores and charts to help you understand your sleep pattern, while delivering personalised feedback.

Cost: about €50-€60.