Sleep tech: Simba’s new sleep app proves better than counting sheep

Rest anxiety is endemic. If you too lie awake in bed at night worrying about whether the sleep you’re getting is good enough, you’re not alone. 

A new app, Simba Sleep, from mattress shipping start-up Simba has been designed to calm your weary, worried head and send it off to bed smoothly.

The free app invites users to complete a questionnaire in order to complete their distinct sleep profile, covering topics such as diet, alcohol and coffee consumption, whether they are disturbed by noise at night, self-care and lifestyle, including stress or smoking. 

A fifth category, technology (do you watch TV before bed? Do you use your phone?), feels steeped in irony, given I find myself twiddling with the app before turning my lights off, but there is more at stake here than simply gaslighting customers to buy a new mattress.

A leaked public health green paper last month indicated that the government is preparing to give people guidance on how much sleep they need each night, amid concerns that less than seven hours is bad for long-term health. 

My device tells me that my ideal sleep pattern is ‘early bird’, meaning my body clock is set for me to rise before 7am. Simba profiled 3,600 people to produce these categories. Other personas include the ‘wriggler’ (something is stopping you from being comfortable, disrupting your REM patterns) and the ‘catcher upper’ (you burn the candle both ends during the week, then binge on sleep at the end of it).

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Most Brits only get around six hours sleep a night, the Simba app wants to help people reach the eight hours target (Simba)

 It then offers tailored advice and tips on how to improve my ‘sleep hygiene’. These are fun, plentiful and informative. Staying hydrated throughout the day but not drinking water for three hours before bed – to avoid getting up throughout the night – is novel; a gentle stretch before bed to improve blood circulation and spinal alignment is also a bright idea. 

My lifestyle rating, somewhat worryingly, comes out as poor but the alarm bells are saved for my allotted wake up time. The app rouses you after monitoring your sleep all night, providing you with data on your snooze (I am almost always deeply asleep once my head hits the pillow, apparently), including sleep quality (61 per cent – good) and time asleep per time in bed (6 hours 58 minutes out of 7 hours 28 minutes).

There are also a series of week-by-week challenges, to try for the golden eight hours, encouraging users to improve their sleep hygiene over two months by meeting targets, such as tackling the effects to travel on your sleep by bringing your own pillow. It’s all rather gamified. But surely more rewarding than counting sheep?

Download on iOS and Android  


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