Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Insomnia: Is there really an app for that?

I have always had trouble sleeping. Part of it is related to my anxiety disorder. Perhaps, all of it is. Last year in the midst of another battle, I wondered if there were sleep apps. Sure enough, when I searched the Android Market, I came across a few.

There weren't that many and I downloaded the free version of Sleep ZZZ. It played various white noises. You could set it to determine how long it took you to fall asleep by constantly touching the phone if you weren't asleep yet. I didn't like that. I'm sure it would have been helpful to know just how long it took me to fall asleep and it would be helpful if I wanted to sleep for a specific number of hours. However, needing to touch my phone kept me awake! I like to get comfortable, wrap myself up in a tight cocoon and not move. Touching the phone constantly just wouldn't work for me.

Another feature was the Power Nap feature. You could set it to alarm before you fell into deep sleep so that you wouldn't feel groggy after a quick power nap. Sounds pretty useful but I didn't use it much. I'm not big on power napping.

I did however use the white noises. At this point, I can't tell you if this app really helped me to fall asleep. It's possible that whenever I finally decided to use the app to help me to fall asleep, I was already at the point where I would have passed out anyway. I kept it for a while then deleted it. Nothing against the app, there was a lull in my insomnia and I needed space on my phone.

The past few weeks have been sleepless and pretty brutal on my productivity. Once again, I looked to an app. I was desperate. I decided to try something new and went with Brainwave Tuner Lite. The app claims to play binaural tones and gave a fancy explanation about why these tones would help you to sleep. Additionally, the app has other settings to help you to mediate or to concentrate and be more alert. I chose the Sleep Induction option. This option plays a sound that sounds similar to someone breathing heavily while sleeping plus the tones. Soon, I fell asleep.

Did the binaural tones work? It's hard to tell. Once again, I chose to use the app after hours of being unable to sleep and feeling pretty exhausted. In lieu of a full experiment on the matter, I think I will definitely try to put this app to the test. Lately I haven't been able to fall asleep before 6:30 AM no matter how tired I am. Tomorrow I want to be up and at it by 8AM the latest (I have some baking to do - more on that tomorrow!). I think I will try to fall asleep around 2AM using the app. Let's see how well it works. I will keep trying this for the next week and then report my results.

Here's to sleeping before the sun rises!

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