Beeminder ♥ Sleep as Android

Tuesday, December 30, 2014
By bsoule

Sleepy android + Beeminder Bee in a sleeping cap.

Another integration! And one that I personally use daily (well, nightly). Sleep as Android is a popular sleep tracking app that’s delightfully nerdy and quantified-self focused. (Much like Beeminder!) As a welcome to Sleep as Android users new to Beeminder, we’ll start with our usual recap. For Beeminder regulars who don’t already know about Sleep as Android, we summarize that as well. If you’re already sold on both separately, start using Beeminder and Sleep as Android together!

Beeminder Reprise

You’re probably here because you either know and love Beeminder, or you know and love Sleep as Android. Since this is Beeminder turf we’ll start with a quick explanation of what Beeminder’s all about. (For the full Beeminder story, you could start with our inaugural blog post about akrasia and self-binding, a.k.a. commitment devices.)

What’s special about Beeminder is that we combine Quantified Self — where Sleep as Android excels — with commitment contracts. If you don’t know anything about commitment devices, it works like this with Beeminder: We plot your progress along a Yellow Brick Road to your goal and if you go off track, we charge you money. Long-time Beeminder users find that those stings (get it?) are well worth it for all the awesomeness we induce the rest of the time. But if the thought of having to pay money is too scary, that’s perfect: you’ll be very motivated to keep all your datapoints on your yellow brick road. We don’t even ask for a credit card until the first time you go off track.

Sleep as Android

If you’re a Quantified Self nerd, which, reading this blog you probably are, there are so many things to love about Sleep as Android! It tracks your sleep cycles, wakes you up at the optimal point in your sleep cycle, tracks sleep debt and bedtime, even plays you lullabies. It also tracks snoring statistics and records your talking in your sleep. One of our favorite features (philosophically, if not in terms of our personal need for it) is built-in commitment devices for waking up on time. You can use captchas, math problems, NFC tags, QR codes, and shaking your phone as ways to ensure you’re actually awake before dismissing the alarm. This is pretty brilliant and I personally would love to get an NFC tag to get me out of bed as soon as the alarm rings in the morning. This is basically the same idea as putting your alarm out of arm’s reach across the room, except that you can put the snooze button arbitrarily far away from your bed. I could even attach the NFC tag to a tree several blocks away so I had to get up and go outside to turn my alarm off in the morning!

Best of all, Sleep as Android integrates with more and more services via their SleepCloud platform. In addition to Beeminder, there’s the Pebble smartwatch, Philips programmable lighting, and ZenoBase.

Beeminding Sleep

For our initial launch there’s only one aspect of your sleep you can mind: total amount of sleep. You authorize Beeminder (via Google) to read your Sleep as Android data and then tell us how many hours per night you want to commit to. That’s really all you need to know to get started. Next we plan to add the ability to commit to getting to bed or waking up by certain times, or limiting the amount of time spent awake after your chosen bedtime. [1] If any of those options gets you excited, let us know!

UPDATE: we forgot to mention that the Cloud Backup add-on is necessary for integration with Beeminder. You can buy it in-app, and it backs up your sleep data. (Otherwise it’s all stored locally and we can’t read it directly off your device).



[1] The sufficiently nerdy can do that now, using Beeminder’s API, Sleep as Android’s SleepCloud, and Yorick van Pelt’s script, Beeminder-sleepcloud.

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