What the Tech? Sleep apps

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(ABC 6 News) – Daylight Savings Time begins this weekend and that often means a loss of sleep not only the morning you spring forward but for the first few weeks of DST.

The National Sleep Foundation traditionally makes the first week of Daylight Savings Time “Sleep Awareness Week” to reemphasize the importance of getting enough quality sleep at night.

Can tech help? How about apps?

You can get an idea of the widespread problem of getting enough sleep by browsing the app stores. There are hundreds of apps to help you relax and fall asleep and wake up on time in both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store.

If the snooze button makes you rush to get out the door on time, there are alarm clock apps that force you to get out of bed. Alarmy calls itself a “motivational alarm clock”. The only way to turn off the alarm is by exercising, taking steps, playing a memory game, or solving a math problem. You can’t hit “snooze” because there is no “snooze button”.

To fall asleep, there are dozens of apps that play sleep sounds like waterfalls, thunderstorms, and white noise. Take your pick here. A few of the bests are Soothing Sleep sounds which let you create your own sleepy-time sounds and Restly which claims to use science to help you fall asleep within 2 minutes. Both apps are for iPhone and iPad only.

For Android users, there’s the app “Sleep as Android” with adult lullabies and nature sounds. It also records snoring and sleep talking, and a sleep cycle alarm clock to wake you up fully rested. If you have an Alexa device by the bed, you can use a number of sleep skills. Many require a subscription to block ads.

You can also use these devices to stream music created specifically for sleep. Binaural beats are music at two set frequencies. If you can sleep with earbuds or headphones, you’ll hear one frequency in the right ear and another frequency in the left. Scientists say your brain will create an additional tone that’ll help you fall asleep fast. There are binaural beats playlist on Amazon Prime, Spotify, YouTube, and Apple Music. Use the one you subscribe to though, otherwise, you’ll hear ads during the night which may wake you up.

It’s unsafe to wear noise-canceling earbuds or headphones to listen while you sleep because you wouldn’t be able to hear a smoke alarm or one of the kids yelling from their room. That could be tempting for some parents, but not a good idea.