Do You Use Any Cool Wellness Apps?
And I’m not talking about the glorified calorie counters out there!
I’ve used one of those so-called nutritional apps before, thinking it would be fun to see exactly how “healthy” I was. It wasn’t. All it did was make me feel obsessive about food, nutrient numbers that don’t matter, calories, and hours logged at the gym. No thanks!
But I do think that there are apps out there actually helping people create better habits, whether they’re reminding you to drink water, floss, meditate, or call your mother. In fact, some people have suggested that we create a NMDL app for folks to use while shopping for products—which would be awesome.
I currently use a total of two wellness apps, one that tracks my period and another that tracks my sleep cycles. Here’s a quick review of each!
The iPeriod App
What it does: Pretty self-explanatory: This app tracks, and then eventually predicts your menstrual cycles. As such, it also knows when you’re ovulating, which is useful for anyone trying to get pregnant—or not to. You have the option to add notes about cramps, flow, and all that other fun period stuff.
What I love: I really feel like it connects me to my cycle and takes some of the mystery out of what’s going on with it.
What I don’t love: The design is not amazing or totally intuitive. I always forget where to go to do things. It also kind of yells at me every time my period is late (which is almost every month) with these pop-up alerts. I could live without that since being late makes me anxious enough as it is.
What it’s taught me: I have an insanely long cycle, but I’m pretty regular—which is comforting. Travel and stress can and will delay the onset of my period; I always suspected as much, but this little tracker makes it clear.
Will I continue to use it? Absolutely.
The Sleep Cycle App
What it does: Through movement sensors, it tracks what stages of sleep you’re in throughout the night. It tells you what kind of sleep you’re getting, then creates all kinds of averages and charts around the quality, length, and time you go to bed. You can also add in notes about food, stress, alcohol… and it will show you how they affect your sleep. Lastly, and most notably, you can set an alarm for a certain time frame (say, 6:45 to 7:15) and the app will gently wake you during the lightest part of that sleep cycle. No more being ripped from sleep in the middle of a dream only to feel like you’ve been run over by a truck upon waking. Kinda genius.
What I love: This app feels really innovative in the way that it uses technology to help improve upon one of the greatest predictors of health: quality of sleep. The alarm is so gentle, I love it. The design is also intuitive, and in general this app delivers on what it promises.
What I don’t love: You need to place the phone on your bed, which does not feel healthy, per se. I put mine on airplane mode, but nonetheless I’m a bit at odds with the idea of sleeping with my mobile device. Also, I could imagine that if you were a troubled sleeper to begin with, the way this app makes bedtime feel like a performance to be rated and judged nightly, could possibly make matters worse.
What it’s taught me: I get my best and longest sleeps on Saturday night. And, no surprises here, drinking dramatically affects my sleep cycles—and not for the better!
Will I continue to use it? Not sure. It might be the kind of thing that I learn my lessons from and then move on, but the alarm is the major draw to stick with it.
In other news, happy Friday and happy winter solstice! Here’s hoping that today is a beginning and not an end—at the very least the beginning to your holiday!