Playing on a Screen Near You
by Greg Mach
Three Apps for the Mind Body & Soul
As we spend an ever-increasing amount of our time glued to screens of all sizes, it is easy to get lost in the mindlessness of social networking feeds, Reddit, and the news. Instead, we should use some of that screen time to boost our mental acuities, center our souls, and feel better.
Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock
Getting enough sleep and waking up feeling refreshed is the foundation of being healthy and feeling good. Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock analyzes your sleeping patterns and wakes you up at the lightest point in your sleep cycle, within a 30 minute user-specified window. After placing your Android or iOS device under the corner of the sheet each night, it uses the device’s accelerometers to measure movement and track periods of light or deep sleep. After initially taking at least two nights to calibrate and adapt, the app wakes you with soothing tones without letting you oversleep. It also presents detailed data and graphs of sleep time and quality. During the day, it can even measure activity by counting steps and estimating calories burned. Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock is available on its own or as a bundle with Sleep Cycle Power Nap, and Sleep Cycle Heart Rate.
The coolest thing about Lumosity is the actual science that went into it. Available on the web or as an app, this software was designed by a group of neuroscientists to outline a personalized brain training program based on the user’s goals and current mental abilities. Although it a paid subscription service, the initial tests are free that evaluate the user in the categories of speed, attention, memory, flexibility, and problem solving. Lumosity has over 40 scientifically designed games that increase in difficulty as you progress. Performance tracking and an ability to compare yourself with other members adds to the urge to keep playing.
Brainwave is a series of apps developed by Banzai Labs that use binaural beats as a meditation tool. What are binaural beats? When wearing headphones or earbuds, the app plays a tone, say 300hz, in one ear, and a tone of a slightly different pitch, say 310hz, in the other. The listener perceives this difference as a pulse, or beat, and the user’s brainwaves fall into sync with the speed of the pulse, 10hz in this case. Soothing music is layered with the tones to make the experience enjoyable. The app features a selection of 32 brainwave entrainment programs such as morning coffee, memory boost, confidence boost, pre-exercise energy, reduce anxiety, creative thinking, centered mind and more. There is also a selection of add-on apps such as Sharp Mind, Dream Inducer, Neuro-Athletic Trainer, and 15 Altered States. Although the concept behind Brainwave is simple, it can take the user on any kind of meditative journey one desires.
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