About Sleep Right

A good night's sleep doesn't have to be hard to come by. Even when a late night out or early morning meeting means you can only get 4 or 5 hours of sleep, it's possible to face your day feeling refreshed and well rested.

Sleep right uses recent innovations in sleep science to help figure out the best time for you to go to bed and wake up in order to maximize the number of sleep cycles you get in each night. When you sleep, your body follows a pattern of moving from high brain intensity sleep (REM) to deeper low-brain intensity sleep. Waking up in the deeper part of a sleep cycle - especially when you're short on sleep - makes you feel groggy and disoriented in the morning. Waking up at the beginning or end of a cycle - during those periods of high brain activity - will make you feel energized and refreshed and help you remember your dreams.

There are three ways to use Sleep Right.

If you know what time you have to get up in the morning you can ask Sleep Right to pick an ideal bedtime for you by saying "Alexa, ask Sleep Right for a bedtime" and following Alexa's prompts. If you're about to go to sleep and want to know what the best time to wake up the next morning is you can instead say "Alexa, ask Sleep Right when I should wake up". Finally, if you're about to go to sleep and want to set your alarm to wake you up by a certain time you can say something like "Alexa, ask Sleep Right when I should set an alarm to get up before 6:00 AM" and Alexa will make a recommendation as to the best time to set your alarm if you want to wake up feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

What's next for Sleep Right

Right now I am still waiting for approval for the Alexa Notifications API beta - once that API becomes public or I get added to the Beta my first priority will be to make it so that Sleep Right can include alarm clock functionalities - especially a gradual alarm that wakes you up over a period of time rather than in a disruptive 'all at once' fashion.

If there's a lot of usership for the skill over the next few months, I'll also work on adding features to make it a more comprehensive sleep management tool. Specifically, it would be nice if users in the morning could make a note of how refreshed they feel, how long it took them to get to sleep, and other relevant data so that the skill's recommendations can become more personalized. While right now the application is very much a "lifehack" style trick, growing it into a comprehensive tool would be a fun project and could easily be justified if the skill has a decently high user base.

Additionally, if the Alexa APIs ever include an easier way to figure out a user's timezone than by reverse engineering it from their postcode/address it will be much more convenient to expand the skill to new regions and customers.

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