New app uses brain waves to measure sleep quality

A new app has been developed that claims to be able to improve the user's quality of sleep.

Sleep Manager
by Zeo, works by using brainwaves to track the amount of time spent in different stages of sleep.

The app works by synchronising with a soft-sensor headset measuring brain activity, eye movement and muscle tone in light, deep and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, as would happen in a medical sleep-analysis clinic. However the app is most likely to be for consumer use.

“The thing about sleep is that it’s not just about how much you get – it’s about the quality of your sleep,” said Ben Rubin, co-founder of Zeo. “In general, you want to optimize to get as much REM and deep sleep as possible.”

Once the information is gathered, it is relayed via Bluetooth to the user’s iPhone, iPad, or Android smartphone before being uploaded to Zeo’s website.

The user can also improve their sleep by using the information to learn better sleep habits. An added feature of the Sleep Manager is the ability to rouse the user during light sleep as studies show that this is the point at when the user awakens most refreshed.

The app has been developed with the company's in-house sleep expert as well as an advisory board made up of sleep experts from Harvard University and the University of Colorado Bolder however, some critics have suggested the data is inaccurate.

“If you have two experts in a sleep lab scoring the same record, they agree with each other about 83 percent of the time,” said Rubin. “Zeo agrees with those guys about 75 percent of the time. So we’re about 7/8th as accurate as a full sleep lab,” he concluded.

 

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