Health apps

Your phone can ac­tu­ally help you sleep

Good (UAE) - - FRONT PAGE -

our ad­dic­tion to our smart­phones is blamed for many mod­ern af­flic­tions – iPhone thumb any­one? – but for ev­ery ail­ment, nowa­days it seems, there’s an app. whether you want to know if your shoul­ders are slouch­ing far­ther for­ward with ev­ery hour spent at work, or if your lunchtime walk will off­set the crois­sant you ate in the of­fice this morn­ing, the an­swer is quite lit­er­ally at your fin­ger­tips in the form of an app promis­ing to tally and mon­i­tor ev­ery as­pect of your life. over the past two years, the num­ber of mo­bile health apps has soared, with more than 165,000 now avail­able on the ap­ple itunes and an­droid app stores. of those, a sur­vey by the iMs in­sti­tute for health­care in­for­mat­ics re­vealed that al­most 75 per cent tar­get gen­eral fit­ness and well­be­ing rather than med­i­cal di­ag­noses. so, with an app for ev­ery anx­i­ety you might have about your diet, sleep and ac­tiv­ity lev­els, where do you start? here, of course…

PEAK Free on iOS, with in-app pur­chases from Dhs14.99

count­less apps claim to help boost mem­ory and brain­power, but this stands apart in of­fer­ing more than 40 games that have been de­vel­oped by neu­ro­sci­en­tists to im­prove mem­ory, at­ten­tion, prob­lem solv­ing, men­tal agility, lan­guage, co­or­di­na­tion and cre­ativ­ity. opt for coach as­sis­tance and you get a per­sonal trainer for your brain who will help to se­lect the right game for you. among those avail­able is wiz­ard, de­signed by re­searchers at the Univer­sity of cam­bridge to help schizophre­nia pa­tients and shown in tri­als to im­prove episodic mem­ory — the kind needed when you have for­got­ten where you left the car keys. or even the car. it fea­tures tasks such as iden­ti­fy­ing items in boxes and char­ac­ter lo­ca­tions.

PEAR Free on iOS and An­droid, with ad­di­tional work­out apps cost­ing from Dhs7.29

still look­ing to lose that UaE stone (five years af­ter you ar­rived)? Pear is the re­al­is­tic as­sis­tant that might help you ac­tu­ally get there. it boasts a wide range of au­dio coach­ing ses­sions de­vel­oped by olympians and fit­ness lead­ers, pro­vid­ing a proper per­son­alised and real-time train­ing ex­pe­ri­ence that’s com­pat­i­ble with your phone or, help­fully, your smart­watch. Each work­out adapts to your per­for­mance, telling you to speed up or slow down as re­quired, and af­ter a few uses it’ll start to make per­son­alised ses­sion rec­om­men­da­tions. the best bit is there’s a 30-day free trial, so you can work out which work­outs do it for you be­fore you shell out any hard­earned dirhams.

WATERMINDER Free on ioS and an­droid

we all know that we should be drink­ing at least 2.5 litres of wa­ter a day, but keep­ing track of our in­take isn’t al­ways easy. the waterMinder app aims to sim­plify the process. Based on your body weight (or your per­sonal goal), the app re­minds you to drink enough h2o to reach your daily goals, show­ing your progress vis­ually and in per cents so that you can see in­stantly whether you are keep­ing hy­drated or not. You can click to log the amount you’ve con­sumed each time you drink, and even set alarms to re­mind you to fill up your bot­tle if you’ve gone too long with­out sip­ping.

OVUSENSE app down­load is free on ioS but the equip­ment re­quired must be or­dered, cost­ing from Dhs460

Ear­lier this year, tests car­ried out on 20 web­sites and 33 apps de­signed to pre­dict a woman’s fer­til­ity win­dow at weill cor­nell Medicine and new York Pres­by­te­rian hos­pi­tal showed that few were ac­cu­rate and many pro­vide poor ad­vice. not in­cluded in the trial was ovusense, de­vel­oped by sci­en­tists at the UK’s Bris­tol Univer­sity and launched this year. it works via an in­ter­nal sen­sor that is worn overnight to record sub­tle changes in a woman’s cy­cle. Data is down­loaded to the app once the sen­sor has been re­moved the next morn­ing. clin­i­cal tests sug­gest 99 per cent ac­cu­racy and it’s rec­om­mended for women who have been try­ing to con­ceive for more than six months. while the phys­i­cal de­vice needed is not cur­rently shipped to the UaE as stan­dard, in­di­vid­ual or­ders will be con­sid­ered while the list of par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­tries grows.

NIKE+ RUN CLUB Free on ioS and an­droid

of all the run­ning apps avail­able — and there are plenty — this re­mains one of the big­gest and most pop­u­lar, at­tract­ing a near cult fol­low­ing among the jog­ging bri­gade. it tracks ev­ery­thing, in­clud­ing your route, av­er­age speed and to­tal dis­tance, and its fea­tures let you plot maps, re­ceive per­sonal sched­ules and ac­cess so­cial me­dia leader­boards where you can com­pete against friends. an over­haul ear­lier this year up­graded the ap­pear­ance and made it eas­ier to nav­i­gate. it’s also com­pat­i­ble with run­ning de­vices such as Garmin, tomtom, net­pulse and wa­hoo, al­though a part­ner­ship be­tween ap­ple and nike may have pro­duced the ul­ti­mate run com­pan­ion in the ap­ple watch se­ries 2 with the in­te­grated nike+ Run club app. this mon­i­tors heart rate and train­ing data, sync­ing it to your phone.

SLEEPBOT Free on ioS and an­droid

there’s no end to de­vices that claim to track your sleep pat­terns, but few match this one for ease of use and ef­fec­tive­ness. it works in a sim­i­lar way to many other sleep apps in that you set an alarm, then slip the phone un­der your pil­low to mon­i­tor your sleep phases based on how your body moves — it needs to be po­si­tioned to track sounds, which means care­fully po­si­tion­ing your phone so the mi­cro­phone is un­cov­ered. it charts am­bi­ent noise lev­els, plot­ting them as a chart so that you can work out what might be keep­ing you awake. and it wakes you (with a cus­tomised mu­si­cal alarm if you so choose) only when it de­tects light body move­ment, mean­ing you never get jolted awake in the grog­gi­ness of deep­est shut-eye. Each morn­ing a graph de­picts how much sleep you have ac­cu­mu­lated and when you were in phases of deep sleep, light sleep or “wake­ful­ness”.

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