Overall App Summary:
The Smart Alarm Clock app stands out for it’s abilities to record sleep disruptive sounds while sleeping thus giving the user the possibility of eliminating them. This App also has a Social Networking feature which Apps reviewed to date also do not have. The alarm sounds collection while very broad, is not nearly as aesthetically pleasing as the soundscapes within Sleep Science HQ who’s auditory library is far and away at the top of the class. Many reviews in the App store refer to problems with the alarms’ function and consistency, as well as difficulty with loudness settings and earns the App only 3.5 Stars and pose some difficulties with regular effective use as an alarm clock.
App’s Intended Use:
Anyone with difficulties getting to sleep, staying asleep and wanting to wake up more gently during their lightest sleep phase. A user of this App would also be interested in tracking and trending their sleep duration as well as identifying noise during the night that may disrupt one’s sleep. Finally, the user with an active social circle who wishes to share their sleep data on Twitter or Facebook would find this App useful.
Who’s this app most useful for?
Briefly, those who interested in a sleep tracker and alarm. As stated above, anyone with difficulties getting to sleep, staying asleep and wanting to wake up more gently during their lightest sleep phase. A user of this App would also be interested in tracking and trending their sleep duration as well as identifying noise during the night that may disrupt one’s sleep. Finally, the user with an active social circle who wishes to share their sleep data on Twitter or Facebook would find this App useful.
How should use it?
To begin, one must set wake-up time, thresholds for “early wake up” during final period of light sleep, then lay the phone next to you in bed in order for it to track one’s movements and indirectly ones’ sleep pattern. The user must leave the App open all night and therefore needs to plug phone in so battery will not run down by morning. Functions allow one to; wake up more gently at a time of lightest sleep to wide variety of sounds , to track ones sleep activity as well as to log via a diary external or internal factors which may have impact on your sleep quality or duration. One can also use the App to play back sounds from during the night that may have disturbed your sleep, which, in turn, can help you eliminate sleep disrupting circumstances.
Is the mobile app clinically relevant? Any clinical benefits? How would you use it as a provider?
This App at minimum serves as an excellent alarm clock with a broad range of sound varieties including music, natural and synthesized sounds. The ability to record noise continuously during the night that may disrupt sleep and possibly be remediated is potentially a valuable feature. The clinical relevance of improved quality and optimum duration of sleep is incontrovertible with numerous studies demonstrating everything from mood disorders, hypertension, Diabetes, Obesity and early mortality as resulting from chronic sleep deprivation. However as stated in the “evidence” section of this review, there is none to demonstrate this App can improve sleep or treat sleep deprivation.
Is there any published evidence that the app actually works?
Via Google Scholar and PubMed searches, there is at the time of this review no scientific evidence for the “Smart Alarm Clock” Apps effectiveness at improving sleep. In general, per the most recent review available from 2013, “no existing sleep-related application available for smartphones is based on scientific evidence” [Behar, Joachim, et al. “A review of current sleep screening applications for smartphones.” Physiological measurement 34.7 (2013): R29.] There is also no evidence available that users feel better rested or more alert upon awakening. Finally, there is no evidence found validating motion sensing technology (Actigraphy) against the gold standard (Polysomnography) for measuring sleep and it’s stages to determine efficacy or accuracy.
Most likely exempt from FDA regulatory clearance based on MMA and General Wellness guidances.
What is the most important/ desirable feature of the app?
The App feels relatively streamlined with the right amount of well focused functionality. It’s most important features are:
* “Smart Alarm” gentle wake up during light sleep, 0-60min before your alarm time, with extremely wide variety of sounds available to choose from.
* Tracking measured sleep hours vs a personal sleep goal over time.
* Ability to record noise continuously during the night that may disrupt sleep and possibly be remediated is potentially a valuable feature
* Sharing sleep data with ones’ social circle via Facebook, Twitter & Email
If there’s a paid version, is it worth the upgrade?
Not applicable, app reviewed is a paid app.
Security and Privacy
Password: No, but the option exists to enable password access.
Data Sharing: It appears one’s data could be shared with third parties without consent though this does not appear to be unusual. This company’s policy seems however to be slightly more permissive in it’s data sharing than some others reviewed , as outlined in “Privacy” section above.
Regulatory Compliance: Likely to fall under exemption of FDA regulation as according to Mobile Medical Application guidelines