I like my Android phone just fine… but I don’t want to marry it and have its babies.
Nor do I want to sleep with it perched on my mattress. Many people do, though: Sleep as Android, the most downloaded sleep tracking app in the Google Play store, had been downloaded nearly 250,000 times as of May 16.
The app functions the same way as many other popular sleep trackers, be they smartphone apps or wearable personal devices (there are more than 500 options from more than 15 brands now available). The apps track a sleeper’s movements with an accelerometer, listen in on whether they’re snoring, and chirps at them to make them roll over if they are. It also tracks how much sleepers toss and turn, and how much time they’re lightly or deeply sleeping. Unlike other sleep trackers, this one promises to track even REM, which is the phase that’s the most difficult to detect.
But here’s what a researcher at Brown University wanted to know: is the data being collected by these devices and apps worth anything?