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New SleepScore app wants to help you catch some ZZZZs for free

All you need is your smartphone

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Anyone who has suffered from insomnia knows that feeling of sitting in bed, eyes wide open, as thoughts whirl around like a merry-go-round — expect for the ones that can send you to slumberland. Smart sleep devices that promise to help measure how easily — or not — you fall asleep are easy to find. Few, however, provide as much data as we've found from the $149 SleepScore Max. Those who see that price a deterrent, will however be interested in the new free SleepScore app launching today.

While the SleepScore Max requires a smart speaker-sized device and a smartphone to collect your sleeping data, the new app just needs access to the microphone and speaker in your iPhone. (An Android version is set to launch before the end of June.) The app pushes out what the company says is a sound wave which bounces off you, and is transmitted to the phone's microphone. Those waves read your movement and breathing rates.

The SleepScore app has a built-in alarm, which wakes you up at an optimum time in your sleep cycle.GearBrain

We spend a couple of nights using the app — and trust us, you don't hear the sound. CEO of SleepScore Labs Colin Lawlor says it's pitched higher than humans can hear, although warned us that some animals may pick up the frequency. Our dog? If he ever heard anything, it didn't seem to break his snoring.

Setting the app up is pretty fast — you pick an area you want to focus on, such as having more energy during the day or sleeping more soundly, and then a time to wake. Note, though, that like SleepScore Max the app will wake you up at the optimum time in your sleep cycle to help you awake more alert — and that can be 15 minutes earlier than the time you set.

The key to the new app is portability – you can track how well you sleep even on the road. The original SleepScore Max is not a device you want to pack in a carry-on suitcase or honestly any suitcase. But an app works wherever your phone works — and in today's world that's practically everywhere.

All you need, besides your smartphone, is a power source. Since the app will be running all night, your smartphone needs to be plugged into the wall. Then, once you launch the app, you set the phone on a bedside table, microphone facing you, and head to sleep. (Or try to, right?)

The SleepScore app works by having your smartphone's microphone pointed to you as you sleep.GearBrain

The company behind SleepScore, ResMed has some decent data on the sleeping front, having collected four million nights of information from 40,000 people, says Lawlor. While your microphone is being tapped, the audio it's collecting is being processed locally in the phone — just the data, not the actual sound, is sent to the company's cloud. From that information, though, the app produces a score from 1 to 100, showing you details on how well you're sleeping: light sleep, deep sleep, REM sleep, as well as how often you wake up and how long it took to fall asleep.

You can keep track of up to seven nights of sleep in the free version of the app. For $5.99 a month or $35.99 a year, you'll be able to get a more customized report, and keep your entire sleep history. Both the free and paid versions launch today.


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