Do you know that delicious sensation of sinking into bed after a long day and just drifting off to sleep, letting all your worries slip away? And how good it feels to wake up fresh and well rested the following morning—especially if that following morning happens to be a Saturday?
Whether you’re a sleep hog or night owl, I’m sure you’ll agree that getting enough rest is absolutely essential to feeling and looking your best, and that not getting enough sleep can make you cranky at best and ill at worst.
So what’s the best way to catch some ZZZs, and what’s the right amount of sleep for a person? I recently read an article about people actually paying dear money to have professionals calculate their circadian rhythms for them. If you’re interested in sleep cycles but don’t want to dole out wads of cash, check out Sleep as Android, an application that promises to both monitor your sleep cycles and wake you during phases of light sleep thanks to its integrated alarm clock.
Features & Use
Tested on: Samsung Galaxy Tab
As a kid did you ever dream about sleeping for a few weeks straight so that you could stay awake as long as possible during your summer holidays? While I’ve learned that I will probably have to stick to my conventional routine of sleeping at night and being awake during the day time, I never know how much I should be sleeping, or if there’s a time of night that lends itself best to falling into a deep sleep.
Every person has a different sleeping pattern, and individuals need different amounts of sleep, though the important factor seems to be the kind of sleep you experience, as well as not being jolted out of a deep sleeping phase. Sleep as Android (a – grammatically incorrect – word play on ‘sleep as an droid’) is designed to help you wake up at an optimal time, that is to say during a light phase sleep. The application provides users with sleep graphs to help them analyse their own sleeping patterns, as well as an option to record themselves throughout the night (hello, weird nocturnal utterances). An anti-snoring option, currently in beta-phase, is also available: your device will vibrate when outside noise exceeds a volume threshold.
The application harbours a lot of alarm functions. Let’s start with the basic alarm clock. It can be set to ring a single time or on repeat mode. There is a good selection of ringtones to choose from. Bizarrely enough, I opted for ‘Nature-Storm’, which sounds like rain with rather gentle thunder. I also tried out ‘Good morning’ and ‘Nature-Sea’, though I have to say that it was a rude awakening with the latter, unless you enjoy the hysteric sound of screeching gulls and loud crashing ocean waves early in the morning. There’s also a vibrate option and, of course, an essential snooze option.
Once you’ve made a few basic choices as to how you’d like to be woken up, hit ‘Application settings…’ in order to get down to the nitty gritty. This is where you will be able to set your ‘optimal time of sleep’ (which you can grossly ascertain by looking at your graphs, and by just using good old common sense), as well as more refined alarm tone settings (‘gradual volume decrease’, ‘alarm volume’, etc.), set your device to airplane mode (so that you are not exposed to unnecessary electro magnetic ways whilst sleeping), sharing options that allow you to post sleep graphs on Facebook, and tons more. There is also a ‘CAPTCHA mode’, to ‘Check you are awake before dismissing alarm’. You can select to solve simple math equations, spot the lucid sheep amongst the sleeping ones (very cute graphics), shake your device and more.
What sets the Sleep as Android alarm clock apart from other alarm apps, is that it apparently adapts to your sleep cycles and rouses you when you are in a light-sleep phase. The idea behind this is that it is easier to wake up and feel instantly more awake when this occurs during light-sleep, rather than in the middle of a deep sleep phase.
Place your device on your night stand, make sure to switch it to airplane mode and hit the crescent moon symbol in the bottom bar in the main screen. The application will then commence to track your sleep.
Your sleep phases can be consulted in the form of sleep graphs. In order to view, comment and rate them, hit the little graph symbol at the bottom of the display on the main screen.
The sensitivity of the recording mechanism that records you whilst you are sleeping can be set from 10%-90%. I tried it out over a few nights, though I was bit apprehensive, as I am told I tend to sputter gibberish during my sleep. Luckily for me, I could only hear about 30 seconds worth of unidentifiable commotion. Either I’ve been sleeping very peacefully, or this function could use a bit of tweeking. Also, I wonder how well this feature works when there is more than one person sleeping in a bed or room...
As I mentioned, you can ascertain your own ‘optimal time of sleep’ by studying your graphs and simply paying attention to how much sleep your body needs. If that isn’t enough, Sleep as Android also provides basic sleep statistics. More in-depth ‘SleepStats’ can be purchased for EUR0,89 as an ad-on.
Speaking of ad-ons, there are quite a few, so if you’re a sleep tracking enthusiast be sure to check them out.
The big question is: does Sleep as Android really work as a ‘sleep phase detector’ that will help rouse you at the optimal moment? In all honesty, I can’t really say. I’ve been testing the application for five days, and while I do have the impression that I wake up feeling a little bit fresher than usual, who is to say I’m not experiencing placebo effects? I read a bunch of Market comments, and while some users haven’t noticed a positive difference, others claim they’ve really felt an improvement, all thanks to Sleep as Android. So I would suggest that you check out the application, which remains free of charge for a 14 day trial period. If you’re happy with it you can then purchase the ‘unlock’ version for EUR0,99.
Screen & Controls
Sleep as Android comes in a cute design and very basic controls. Everything is accessible via touchscreen, and while there are a lot of features and options, the application does not strike us as being muddled or overcrowded.
Speed & Stability
It's smooth sailing with Sleep as Android – the application runs very fluidly and the alarm clock function is reliable.
Sleep as Android is available for free from the Android Market. In order to keep using it after the 14 day trial you will have to purchase Sleep as Android Unlock for EUR0,99.