By Nate Adcock on Mon, 10/07/2013
Sleep. Medical research indicates that your body needs it to repair and rejuvenate, but more importantly, an unhealthy sleep condition (like Apnea), can lead to a heart attack and possibly death. You may not even know you are suffering from it, but sleep problems are not the only hidden health dangers we face. If you sit at a desk all day, recent studies indicate this could also contribute to an unhealthy condition. Enter 24/7, an app that evaluates your sleep quality, keeps tabs on your daily activity, and helps you to keep moving in a positive direction, potentially away from a hospital visit.
There are a few apps that might be good companion apps to 24/7 with similar features (GPS for the Soul (Free), and Smart Alarm Clock ($2.99): sleep cycles and night sounds), but 24/7 brings together excellent health-monitoring tools and workflow all under one roof. You can use it to monitor sleep trends and sleep quality percentages, but also to coach you to better health with alerts when it's time to get up and move around. If you act quickly (virtually speaking, that is), you can go grab a promo code for a free download while they last (no in-app purchases, no strings attached—US app store only).
The app starts by helping you set activity goals to work toward better health. After entering some starting information about yourself (height, weight, heart rate, age), you are ready to start your journey towards better health. The main home screen presents a matrix summary view of your health stats, which includes a handy bar graph depicting your previous sleep periods. The app looks good doing it too—a helpful array of charts and stats show you your average heart rate, number of steps taken, weight, and more. At a glance, you can keep track of your weekly progress.
The app includes a voice coach which will verbally update you at intervals during a walk, and also uses the iPhone motion sensor and compass to track your activity. In the latest iPhone 5S it makes use of the M7 motion coprocessor (one of the first apps to do so), but it functioned equally well on my older iPhone 4S. You have to manually start sleep recordings and workouts, but 24/7 automatically tracks your daily steps once activated.
The sleep and heart rate monitoring are both ingenious applications of iOS tech. Once you have started the monitor, you place the phone in the bed and it attempts to detect periods of deep versus light sleep as well as record your snoring and/or restlessness. You can also elect to place your device on a bedside stand, but then it will mainly use sound as a recording activator. The heart rate monitor detects your pulse by activating the iPhone camera light and then using the iPhone camera to detect tiny amounts of motion (your pulse).
The app also records periods of restlessness and conditions like snoring (embarrassingly, it caught a few of mine). The graph layout lets you easily visualize your rest patterns (and play back recorded sleep events). Also included is a sleep sound generator with several sounds to help you drift off, and the app can also wake you at an optimal point in your sleep cycle.
24/7 is a full-featured and well-designed application from the ground up. I did have a couple of minor reservations, noted in the con section below, but I give it high marks all the way around. If you struggle with sleep, and are chained to a desk all day (like many of us these days), you should go grab this application while the promo still lasts (regularly only 99 cents, which is well worth it). Grab it at the links above.
Monitor sleep and overall activity levels
Share, even export out your health telemetry
Can't seem to manually edit/enter sleep data
Can't enter notes or journal sleep or health information