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How smart phones can help you sleep better

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

UW Information School assistant professor Julie A. Kientz and Jared Bauer, an iSchool PhD. student, are part of a team of faculty and students who recently launched ShutEye, an application for Android-powered mobile phones that can make people more aware of what the research team is calling "healthy sleep hygiene." Sponsored by Intel Labs, the research project has identified practices that may promote improved quality of sleep.

The ShutEye application, which was used in a 4-week field study, tells users when it is and isn't the right time for activities that affect sleep, such as napping, jogging, or drinking coffee or beer.

In an article in the Intel Free Press, Bauer is quoted as saying poor sleep habits are associated with everything from the common cold to premature death.

In the same article, Kientz, also the director of the Computing for Healthy Living and Learning (CHiLL) Lab at the University of Washington, says "We can start mitigating some of the problems, especially early on … getting people aware of issues that affect their health negatively. And these sorts of technologies that are integrated into our lives really have the potential to make us more aware, even if it's subtly."

The research is the subject of an episode of Future Lab, an online radio series from Intel Labs. For more information about the CHiLL Lab, please see the CHiLL lab website.

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