Your phone can actually help you sleep
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”.