This article will be a little longer than average but will give you a good insight into the Pillow app is and how you can learn from it.
How much does it cost?
Let’s get this out the way first, at the time of writing this article (December 2017) $4.99 via an in-app purchase.
Why track sleep in the first place?
We all tend to live pretty hectic lifestyles these days and as a result, need the best quality rest we can get. We sometimes know what causes a bad night’s sleep (such as a little one waking up midnight) but qualifying what constitutes a good night is more complex and varies from person to person.
Sometimes you could also unearth concerns potential health issues which you may want to discuss with your doctor. Being able to see spikes of heart rates in the middle of the night is just one of the many features.
What you’ll need to get started:
iPhone + Apple Watch – you can run the app without an Apple Watch but you are not going to get accurate data.
The app is called “Pillow: Smart sleep tracking” and is published by “Neybox Digital Ltd.”
Upon installing the app, I would strongly recommend giving the authorization to read/write to Apple Health so that it can show you things like graphs weight vs sleep or blood pressure vs sleep if you decide to enter these values in Apple Health.
There are several modes you can select from for tracking sleep. Full sleep cycles & naps for which you can both set alarms and record audio from the microphone of the iPhone.
Pillows data (including the audio recordings) can be saved to the iCloud drive, the recordings for me seem to take on average 1.25MB per night. It goes without saying that this may vary vastly by the user. And do know that you can remove the recordings (or disable the feature completely).
Getting the most out of your data:
Try to be diligent: OK skipping a night here or there isn’t going to hurt. But as they say quality in, quality out! The more sleep sessions you record with Pillow, the more you will be able to see trends and patterns.
Adding notes: Let’s say you take a melatonin supplement, once every while. Or simply change mattress for a month and want to evaluate whether you get a better average sleep quality. You can! Just add custom notes to sleep sessions and you are set. There is an overview slide which will show you if it has a positive or negative impact on your sleep.
More screenshots of the app:
Above: Pillow showing a monthly representation of sleep quality versus steps (calculated from Apple Watch).
Above: Pillow showing a weekly representation of the users morning mood, which the user is able to select upon waking up.
Above: Pillow showing average sleep duration, and breakdown by weekday.
I tend to have a limited amount of apps on my phone, but besides email, facebook, and health. It is the only other app that I use on a daily basis – without exception. Obviously like with any application it has its limitations but they certainly listen, as they have proved here on a feature request that I logged a few weeks back.