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USF sleep expert weighs in on smart phone sleep apps

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

Sleep experts estimate one in three people will suffer from insomnia at some point in their life. For those suffering from insomnia, it turns out, there's an app for that.

University of South Florida sleep specialist, Dr. Robert Geck, said sleep apps can be very helpful in diagnosing sleep problems, such as insomnia, snoring, difficulty falling asleep and sleep walking.

"These kinds of things can be very intricate and if you notice them, it might be a sign you need to see a professional or a specialist about the sleep," Dr. Geck explained.

There are a number of different apps on the market, but one of the most popular is called Sleep Time. Dr. Geck explained one of the most important steps is using it correctly. The apps work by sensing movement while a person is sleeping. Users should turn the app on, and put the phone face down on the bed. It will then monitor movements, and chart sleep patterns.

"Definitely not on the night stand and not closer to your bed partner, or where you animal sleeps," said Dr. Geck.

But sleep apps can be used for less serious reasons, too.

Newschannel 8 producer, Beth Debevoise, started charting her sleep patterns four months ago. Debevoise works several different shifts during the week, and her sleep is often interrupted.

"I wear a lot of different hats. I work sometimes at 5 a.m., sometimes at 4, sometimes at 2:30 p.m., sometimes at 9 a.m. I'm all over the place," she said.

Debevoise said her sleep app gave her some interesting insight into her sleep patterns, including the length of her deep sleep, dream sleep, and the quality of the sleep she gets.

"I have found when I have the most time to sleep, when I have ample time, my sleep cycle appears more regular," she said.

One other popular feature of many sleep apps is the alarm. It can be set the alarm to wake you up at the optimal time.

"It's supposed to wake you up during your lightest sleep time, so you don't feel groggy in the morning when you wake up," explained Dr. Geck.

It's a feature Debevoise particularly likes.

"It seems to work. I don't wake up sleepy very often," she said.

 

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