This app takes an unexpected approach to sleep tracking – instead of listening for sound, it makes its own

Understanding our sleep can by key to getting more of it, so it’s no wonder sleep tracking apps are so popular. By using sound to monitor your movements during the night, sleep tracking apps can help you discover what you get up to while you’re snoozing on your best mattress. 

But these apps often come with a flaw: outside noise – like a busy road or a barking dog – can be mistaken for sleepy sounds and skew your data. Sleepwave, the latest innovation in sleep tracking apps, aims to avoid this problem by flipping the tables. Instead of simply listening, it actually creates its own noise.

Well, perhaps not noise, exactly. Sleepwave describes the tone used in its patented PureWave Motion technology as a “low power ultrasonic sound wave”. You can’t hear it (and neither can your pets) but when you move, you disrupt the sound wave. Your phone microphone picks up the disruption, the app is able to recognize this as activity, which it can use to build a picture of your sleep cycle. 

(Image credit: Sleepwave)

Even if you spend your nights face down in your pillow, Sleepwave should still be able to track your rest. “[The user] will still be breathing, and the technology is able to detect chest movements to estimate their breathing rate,” explains Jules Goldberg, founder of Sleepwave. “The breathing rate is used to predict the user’s sleep phase.”