Sleep Better

Disease Category:
Target Audience:

Acceptable
Clinical Relevance
2.5
Functionality
3.5
Usability
3.5
60
Version: 2.3.1
Developer: Runtastic
Review Date: 2016-10-31
Cost: Free; Free with in-app purchases

Overall App Summary:

Sleep Better by Runtastic is one piece of the Runtastic suite seeking to improve patients lives through health and fitness inputs. The premise of the app is that users can simply lay their phone next to themselves while they sleep to help track their sleep pattern based on movement sensed via the accelerometer in the phone. This data is this collated and assessed to identify sleep patterns and how ‘well’ the user is sleeping. The app will then wake the user up via an alarm based on the time set by the user, based on sensing when the user is most restless.

While the app is easy to use, and practical in approach, it does have several shortcomings noted during review. One large issue is that the app did not wake the reviewer up several times when tested, though did log the sleep record from the night.

 

App’s Intended Use:

Sleep Better is intended to track sleep, awake the user at the ‘right time’ and feeling more refreshed, and assess dream states during sleep. The app is targeted at users who are looking for a passive mechanism to track their sleep. The premise is that their phone can be placed next to them while they sleep, and that the sensors on the phone will pick up movement, and also aim to help wake the user at the best possible time in the morning.

 

Who’s this app most useful for?

This app will be useful for patients that are looking to assess their quality of sleep, and for a ‘smarter’ alarm clock that wake them up at the best possible time. If a user is already using Runtastic apps for their exercise and health tracking, this app will work well into that suite to collate the data together. In summary, consumers interested in health and fitness, and also those asked to monitor their sleep.

 

How should use it?

Ideally, this app can be used to help users track factors that may impact their sleep (e.g. coffee consumption, exercise) via use of other runtastic apps. The app premise is rather simple to use, as it only requires being laid on the bed to sense movement. However, as noted by this reviewer, a mattress that reduces movement sensation to partners (e.g. tempurpedic mattress) may equally lead to less movement being sensed by the phone to get an accurate measurement of sleep/movement pattern at night. The user should use the app consistently for 2-3 weeks to get a good sense of their sleeping habits and for the app to learn the user’s behavior.

 

Is the mobile app clinically relevant? Any clinical benefits? How would you use it as a provider?

For users who have difficulty sleeping, and looking to track their sleep patterns, this app may be beneficial. Ideally, the app will help identify daily patterns that are inputed by the user, and help identify trends in poor sleep, based on movement assessment while the user sleep. Secondary to that, the app aims to help wake the user during a set time-frame preselected by the user, based on sensing when the user is nearly awake.

The benefits of this data could be to help the user become self-aware of sleep patterns or habits requiring alteration, and may serve as a better alarm clock for the user. However, based on this reviewers experience, there were several instances where the alarm never went off as set, and the reviewers back-up alarm was triggered instead.

 

Is there any published evidence that the app actually works?

While their have been several reviews on the Runtastic Pro app for exercise in the literature, there are currently none available on the app under consideration – Sleep Better.  However, what’s quite concerning is that a similar app (Sleep Time by Azumio, which uses similar mechanics to track sleep via movement, like Sleep Better) was studied in a small cohort in comparison to polysomnography (PSG), which found no relationship to tracking actual sleep data and correlated poorly with PSG. Even thought there is no data that this particular app is effective, there is good data that waking up at right state is helpful with dream states.

Regulatory Compliance

Not FDA cleared; most likely exempt under new FDA mobile medical application guidance.

 

What is the most important/ desirable feature of the app?

The app is fairly easy to use and set up, requiring the user only to input certain data related to their daily activities prior to sleep, and then placing it on their bed after setting an alarm for the morning. Interpreting the data is fairly straightforward, but would be unlikely to give much benefit only after several uses, and is intended for multiple nights to build up significant data. The interface is very nice and has clear graphics. 

 

How does this app compare to others in the category?

Currently, based on other apps and lack of integration to wearables, would say that the app is similar to other apps on the market that purport to track sleep via movement on the bed. Otherwise the only item that makes this app stand out is whether a user likes the interface, or is already using Runtastic in their daily lives.

 

If there’s a paid version, is it worth the upgrade?

In-app purchases, but no separate paid app. The full version gets rid of the in-app adds that can be bothersome to have to sit through at times, unlocks further sounds for alarms, add a dream journal, and allows for more analysis on ‘sleep influences’ such as diet, exercise, drinking habits, and lastly, connect with lunar phases.

 

Security and Privacy

Password: No password
Encryption:
Data Security:
Data Sharing:
Regulatory Compliance:

Reviewer(s)
Timothy Aungst

Timothy Aungst, PharmD, is an assistant professor of pharmacy practice at MCPHS University. He graduated from Wilkes University Nesbitt School of Pharmacy and completed a PGY-1 Pharmacy Practice Residency at St. Luke's University Hospital, and then a Clinical Geriatric Fellowship at MCPHS University. He is passionate about the rise of technology in health care and its application to pharmacy. He has published primarily on the role of mobile technology and mHealth, and made multiple national and international presentations on those topics. He blogs at TheDigitalApothecary.com, and you can find him on Twitter @TDAungst.

Previous clinical contributor for Iodine, inc. Freelance writer for Pharmacy Times.

Ayesha Khalid

Ayesha is an ENT surgeon at Harvard Medical School with an MBA in Global Leadership and Innovation from the MIT Sloan School of Management. Ayesha serves on several Boards for medical organizations and is currently on the board of the American Academy of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery. Ayesha has experience with consulting for private equity firms to evaluate business opportunities in the health IT and medical practice management. She served as Vice-President of Business Development of a digital health start-up out of Johns Hopkins, Doctella. Presently, in addition to clinical practice, Ayes is the Clinician Director for CBIT at the Yale School of Medicine and is curating early stage health IT startups. You can follow Ayesha on Twitter at @ayeshakhalidmd

Conflicts of Interest

Employment: Cambridge Hospital and Harvard Medical School; Yale School of Medicine; Consultant/ Advisor: 480 Biomedical, Stallergenes Greer, Smith and Nephew, Lambay Advisors, Burr Pilgrim Mayer; Ownership: 480 Biomedical, Collective Healthtech, GeoHealth

Editor(s)
Maulik Majmudar

Dr. Maulik Majmudar is a practicing cardiologist and Associate Director of the Healthcare Transformation Lab at Massachusetts General Hospital; and an Instructor at Harvard Medical School. He lectures at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in areas of healthcare innovation & entrepreneurship, as well as medical device design and development. Dr. Majmudar started his career as a medical student at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, completed resident training in Internal Medicine at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, and followed by a fellowship in Cardiovascular Medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital at Harvard Medical School. You can follow him @mmajmudar

Conflicts of Interest:

Employment: Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School; Consultant/ Advisor: AliveCor, BioFourmis, Cardiogram, EchoSense, Facebook, HUINNO, MC10, Nokia; Ownership: BioFourmis, Cardiogram, HiLabs, Quanttus; Research: EchoSense, GE Healthcare, MIT.

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