Computer scientists at Brown University are working to develop a sleep app that, in addition to gathering data about users sleep patterns, would advise users on methods to improve sleep and guide them through self-experimentation to determine whether those methods are working.
“The idea is to not only present people
with information about their sleep, but to give them some control over it by
giving recommendations along with a step-by-step plan for improving their
sleep,” Brown doctoral student Nediyana Daskalova, who is leading the
development of the app, called SleepCoacher, said.
Daskalova recently presented a paper that
found that 80 percent of users who followed the app’s recommendation at least
60 percent of the time in two small pilot studies reported improved sleep.
“Our work is the first of its kind to guide
people to figure out whether the data is causal, instead of just correlation,”
Jeff Huang, assistant professor of computer science at Brown, said. “That’s particularly exciting for me. We have an approach that
could work in the long term to continuously improve sleep over months or even
years. And because we are aiming for a lifetime of improvement, this could be
personalized for whether you are a night owl or morning person, a light or
heavy sleeper, or even someone who needs more than the usual eight hours of
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