App of the Week: Sleep Genius lets you snooze like an astronaut

sleepgenius

This week’s App of the Week promises to help you fall asleep with the help of specialized audio techniques. That might sound familiar in concept — but this is much more than nature sounds or waves crashing on a beach.

sleepgenius2The app, Sleep Genius, uses specially composed music and sounds that take advantage of scientific techniques — including “binaural beats” and “pink noise” — designed to relax the brain and put it in the right state for optimal sleep. Sleep Genius says the underlying technology was tested and used by NASA astronauts to help them sleep.

Sleep Genius is a free app for iPhone and iPad, with additional audio content available through in-app purchasing. The app itself was developed by Bellevue-based Fresh Consulting, which also is GeekWire’s developer.

My biggest challenge in testing the app was figuring out the best way to listen to the music while falling asleep. I tried it with earbuds, and the effects were especially noticeable, but that results in a less-than-optimal sleeping experience. Other users I’ve talked with use the native audio speakers in the iPhone, resting it on the nightstand or next to their head in bed, but for a truly great experience you’d probably to rig up a small speaker system.

The relaxation effects were noticeable right off the bat, and I did wake up more refreshed in the morning. There are also features for using the app as a gentle alarm — a “revive cycle” — and for taking power naps.

Download the app via the App Store.

App of the Week is a regular feature of the GeekWire radio show and podcast, airing at 7 p.m. Saturdays on KIRO Radio in Seattle (97.3 FM), except when preempted by live sports. The show runs every weekend on GeekWire.com. You can get every episode using this RSS feed, subscribe in iTunes or find us on Stitcher.

Listen to this week’s App of the Week segment below or via this MP3 file.