There are plenty of apps out there designed to tell you about your sleeping habits. Unfortunately, most of them don't work all that well and require your phone on the mattress besides you — which just makes me feel attached to my phone in a way that makes me cringe. Withings Aura, alternatively, seems like a great option for discreetly monitoring and improving your sleep with the use of sound and color programs.
Aura is made up of a sleep sensor that slips underneath your mattress, syncing with a device that sits on your nightstand. Together, the two gadgets record and monitor a variety of factors to give a better understanding of your sleeping patterns. The sensor focuses on your physical patterns (like your movements, breathing cycles, and your heart rate), while the bedside unit takes note of the environment (including noise pollution, temperature, and light levels).
Once it gathers the data, Aura uses it to create light and sound programs that adapt to your specific internal clock, meant to improve your sleeping experience. The bedside device uses multi-color LED dimming lighting technology, which according to Withings, "makes the most of a proven correlation between lighting wavelengths and secretion of melatonin, the hormone responsible for the sleep-wake cycle."
The sound programs apparently mimic the "circadian rhythm's frequency and pattern," relaxing you upon falling asleep and stimulating you upon waking. There are even options for creating personal ambiences for simply relaxing, taking powernaps, or recovering from jet lag.
It's always interesting to visually see how you sleep, which is where the app comes in. Arranging the data in an easy-to-understand manner, you can explore your sleeping patterns, come to understand what wakes you, and even compare past nights. It's in the app where you can change settings, like your wake-up schedule, but you can also trust the program to adjust your preferences based on your actual patterns.
Having already won the 2014 CES Innovation Award in the Health & Fitness, Withings Aura is already well on its way to being recognized as revolutionizing how we approach bedtime. It will be available to buy in Spring 2014 for $299.