iPhone alarms could automatically change to give users a full night's sleep

Posted:
in General Discussion
Apple has looked into how people can get a full night's sleep, and has come up with a way that allows someone to be woken up after spending a desired amount of time asleep instead of just at a set time, by monitoring when they actually start sleeping.

Bedtime running on an iPhone XS
Bedtime running on an iPhone XS


People typically set an alarm to wake themselves up at a specific time, and try to go to bed at night at a time so that they can spend an amount of time asleep. While users may go to bed at the "correct" time, most don't fall asleep straight away, with the extra awake period eating into their desired sleeping period, so someone wanting eight hours of sleep could end up only sleeping for seven, for example.

A patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday titled "Adjusting alarms based on sleep onset latency" attempts to solve the issue by changing when the alarm sounds in the morning to wake them up, by determining the exact time the person falls asleep.

The patent suggests the use of a mobile device or a collection of connected hardware, such as an Apple Watch and an iPhone, that can detect a user's sleep rituals before they attempt to sleep, as well as when the user falls asleep. This can include detecting sleep signals from biometric data, sounds, and other elements when the user is trying to rest, as well as activities the user regularly performs before going to sleep, like the combination of checking social media followed by using a meditation app.

The term "sleep onset latency" is referred to by Apple as the "amount of time it takes for the user to fall asleep after the user attempts to go to sleep." By determining when the user sleeps, this can be used to perform a number of functions to make it easier for the user to actually get their full night's sleep.

In one example, Apple suggests a clock with alarms that can be adjusted by the sleep onset latency, with options to change the alarm time to when the user achieves a selected number of hours of sleep. This shift could theoretically change an alarm set to go off at 8am to 8:23am, for example, if the user takes 23 minutes to fall asleep after midnight and wanted a full eight hours of rest.

Example screens showing automatic alarm changing options and sleep warnings
Example screens showing automatic alarm changing options and sleep warnings


Knowing the time it takes to sleep could allow the user to be alerted to go to sleep at an earlier time to get their ideal bedrest period and still wake up at the desired time in the morning, with the latency helping inform when this early sleep notification is delivered. The sensing could also detect changes in the latency, as well as the user's sleep patterns, using this data as a prompt to suggest ways they could improve their slumber.

The patent application appears to be a continuation from an already-granted patent of the same name. The latest application was submitted on July 18, 2018, over a year after the earlier patent was granted to the company.

Normally, the existence of a patent or application is not a guarantee of Apple using the described concepts in a future Apple product, but does indicate fields where Apple has spent time and resources researching.

Apple does already offer its iOS users ways to improve their sleeping habits, with Bedtime notifying users of when they should go to bed to achieve a desired period of rest. Though it does not include any system for determining the sleep onset latency or adjusting the alarm in this way, it seems the likely venue for the patent application's features to be introduced in the future via a software update.

Some sleep tracking is being performed by the app, though simply through the iPhone or iPad not being used during Bedtime's sleeping period and not from actively monitoring the user. The Apple Watch does include the necessary hardware to perform monitoring during sleep, but unlike some other fitness trackers on the market, it doesn't have a built-in capability to do so, requiring users to download a tracking app.

Notably, the patent application identifies a prominent sleep researcher as one of its inventors. Formerly employed by Philips Research, sleep expert Dr Roy J.E.M. Raymann was hired by Apple in 2014, with the doctor's previous work involving a variety of sensor technologies that can monitor sleep behaviors that could determine and help treat sleep disorders.

Raymann reportedly departed from Apple in May 2017, at around the same time as the company acquired sleep tracking hardware and software firm Beddit.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 19
    "Why Are You Late For Work !! "

    "Apple's Fault, ….told me I needed more sleep"

    "Your Fired"

    Class action lawsuit ensues, going after Apples' coffers

    hodaranton zuykovmike1backstabgutengeldewmewatto_cobrajony0
  • Reply 2 of 19
    Yes, a full night sleep just in time to be late to work.
    SpamSandwichmike1randominternetpersongutengel
  • Reply 3 of 19
    thrangthrang Posts: 744member
    This is only useful if your unemployed, which means you can't afford the phone... a dilemma...
    SpamSandwichgutengel
  • Reply 4 of 19
    My employer will be happy to fire me over this if I am late. Well I guess I will use regular clock instead. This is dumbest idea from Apple that I have ever heard. Maybe that works for retired people. I guess other people are getting someting as well. Freeloaders on welfare are getting some solution from Apple. After all they can afford even iPhones.
    edited November 8
  • Reply 5 of 19
    hodarhodar Posts: 245member
    As an insomniac who has been taking OTC and Melatonin for going on 30 years - this is a HORRIBLE idea.
    One of the goals, is to establish a regular sleeping pattern.  Sometimes, I lie in bed awake for hours, and only get a few hours sleep.  That sucks, and I am miserable that day; but usually after a few days of this, I sleep soundly again.  Insomnia is an unpleasant fact that many people learn to live with, but having a phone decide that I will be late for my job, or sleep longer than my allotted time - is not a feature I would ever consider wanting.

    Now, when my investments pay off grandly, and I can retire to a lifestyle I desire - I'm all in.
  • Reply 6 of 19
    muadibemuadibe Posts: 124member
    Knowing the time it takes to sleep could allow the user to be alerted to go to sleep at an earlier time to get their ideal bedrest period and still wake up at the desired time in the morning, with the latency helping inform when this early sleep notification is delivered.”

     Based on the comments so far, it’s obvious people aren’t actually READING the article. 
    edited November 8 randominternetpersonwatto_cobramichelb76
  • Reply 7 of 19
    FOHPhilFOHPhil Posts: 1unconfirmed, member
    Will it still BLAST them at FULL VOLUME to get the ef outta bed?!!??
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 19
    hodar said:
    As an insomniac who has been taking OTC and Melatonin for going on 30 years - this is a HORRIBLE idea.
    One of the goals, is to establish a regular sleeping pattern.  Sometimes, I lie in bed awake for hours, and only get a few hours sleep.  That sucks, and I am miserable that day; but usually after a few days of this, I sleep soundly again.  Insomnia is an unpleasant fact that many people learn to live with, but having a phone decide that I will be late for my job, or sleep longer than my allotted time - is not a feature I would ever consider wanting.

    Now, when my investments pay off grandly, and I can retire to a lifestyle I desire - I'm all in.
    Have you tried a daily physically strenuous workout? Could solve your problem.
    dewme
  • Reply 9 of 19
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,749member
    A much better idea was an app I saw (forgot the name) that monitored your sleep cycles throughout the night and adjusted your alarm time to wake you up during the lightest period of the cycle rather than during the REM portion. At most it adjusted your wake time by 10 minutes or so. And I believe it could be told to wake you on the cycle before your programmed wake time, never after.
    backstab
  • Reply 10 of 19
    jdgazjdgaz Posts: 309member
    I am going to bet that a lot of people find this helpful.
    backstabwatto_cobra
  • Reply 11 of 19
    As usual, a lot of crazies coming out of the woodwork to protest Apple “forcing” them to do something. Stop being daft, nobody is going to force you to use this feature should it arise. Myself, I both have leadway with my work schedule, and I also want full sleep for recovery since I train with heavy weights. This would be a welcome optional feature.
    backstabwatto_cobra
  • Reply 12 of 19
    jdgaz said:
    I am going to bet that a lot of people find this helpful.
    ^^^ Yes!

    Interesting... A great resource may be available to Apple, just a few miles away in Palo Alto: The Stanford Sleep Center.

    Back in the late 1970s and 1980s our Sunnyvale Store sold a lot of equipment (Apple ][s. Macs, Corvus Networks, printers, etc.) to the Sleep Center.  They were doing some pioneering work in sleep disorders and research...

    They paid people to come and sleep while they monitored them with various instruments connected to Apple computers.   They even had one experiment that monitored the effect of marijuana [then illegal everywhere] on sleep.

    The head of the Sleep Center was Dr. Dement.  He was very highly-regarded by the University -- and was provided prestigious housing on the Stanford campus by the University (very few beautiful custom homes).  We installed a Corvus Network and some Apple Computers in Dr. Dement's home.

    Anyway, here's the Wiki on Dr. Dement:

    William C. Dement
    BornJuly 29, 1928 (age 90)
    Wenatchee, Washington, United States
    ResidenceUnited States
    EducationUniversity of Chicago
    Scientific career
    InstitutionsStanford University

    William Charles Dement (born July 29, 1928) is an American sleep researcher and founder of the Sleep Research Center at Stanford University. He is a leading authority on sleep, sleep deprivation and the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and narcolepsy. For this pioneering work in a previously uncharted field in the United States, he is sometimes referred to as the American father of sleep medicine.

    Dement was born in Wenatchee, Washington in 1928.[1] In the 1950s, of those who also studied at the University of Chicago[2] he was the first to intensively study the connection between rapid eye movement and dreaming. His fellow student Eugene Aserinsky had mentioned to him that "Dr. Kleitman and I think these eye movements might be related to dreaming".[3] Aserinsky, along with his and Dement's adviser Nathaniel Kleitman, had previously noticed the connection but hadn't considered it very interesting. Dement had an interest in psychiatry, which in those days considered dreams to be important, so he was excited by the discovery and was eager to pursue it. He began his work in sleep deprivation at Mount Sinai Hospital in the late 1950s – the early 1960s. He was among the first researchers to study sleeping subjects with the electroencephalogram (EEG), and he wrote "I believe that the study of sleep became a true scientific field in 1953, when I finally was able to make all-night, continuous recordings of brain and eye activity during sleep." Studying these recordings, he discovered and named the five stages of sleep.[3] In collaboration with Dr. Christian Guilleminault, Dement proposed the measure that is still used for the clinical definition of sleep apnea and the rating of its severity, the Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI).[4]

    Dement, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, teaches the large and popular "Sleep and Dreams" course at Stanford, which started in 1971.

    In 1975 he launched the American Sleep Disorders Association, now known as the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, and served as president for its first twelve years. In that same year he and Mary Carskadon invented the Multiple Sleep Latency Test used to measure sleepiness, a test of how quickly people fall asleep, sleep onset latency, during several daytime opportunities.

    He was also chairman of the National Commission on Sleep Disorders Research, whose final report led directly to the creation of a new agency within the National Institutes of Health, the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research.

    Dement is the author of The Promise of Sleep[3] and The Sleepwatchers, and has written the first undergraduate textbook in the field.[citation needed].  The Promise of Sleep along with a cameo appearance of himself was featured in the 2012 independent comedy film Sleepwalk with Me.

    At the start of his academic career, he was a jazz musician and played bass. While at the University of Washington he jammed with Quincy Jones, a time during which he also befriended Ray Charles. During the late 80s, while at Stanford, he was known to have played, on at least one occasion, with artist-in-residence, Stan Getz.[5]

    He lives with his family in northern California.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_C._Dement
    edited November 8 watto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 19

    Here's a related read:

    The best sleep tracker apps to download for your Apple Watch

    Yes, the Apple Watch can keep an eye on your sleep
    Best Apple Watch sleep tracking apps

    The Apple Watch is now into its fourth iteration, yet one of the most common questions we get asked is 'Does the Apple Watch track sleep?'. Sadly, the smartwatch still doesn't offer any of its own sleep tracking tech, despite offering plenty of other advanced features.

    However, just because Apple doesn't let you track sleep officially, it doesn't mean you're left completely in the dark. There's now a bunch of third-party apps that can make up for the smartwatch's biggest shortcoming.

    The ones we've rounded up down below are in our opinion, the best of what's out there right now. None of them are truly amazing, and if sleep is what you want to track, smartwatches like the Fitbit Versa and Samsung Galaxy Watch do a better job.

    But if you're an Apple Watch owner looking to monitor your sleep, these are a good place to start for when you need to track your bed time.

    dewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 19
    mike1 said:
    A much better idea was an app I saw (forgot the name) that monitored your sleep cycles throughout the night and adjusted your alarm time to wake you up during the lightest period of the cycle rather than during the REM portion. At most it adjusted your wake time by 10 minutes or so. And I believe it could be told to wake you on the cycle before your programmed wake time, never after.
    The app is called Sleep Cycle.  I've been using it for a couple of years now but not using that feature.  Using either motion sensors or the microphone, the app determines (pretty well) where you are in your sleep cycle.  You can have it wake you up within a range of time at a light period of your sleep cycle (as Mike said).  I'd prefer to get up at a particular time and monitor my sleep cycle so I turned that off.  The app has many nice features that I won't detail. I'll just mention that I like how snooze works and I like how the volume of the wake music or sound kind of gradually increases in volume so you don't have a heart attack.
    Tuuborwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 19
    dougddougd Posts: 203member
    Ridiculous
  • Reply 16 of 19
    thrang said:
    This is only useful if your unemployed, which means you can't afford the phone... a dilemma...
    Do you honestly believe that everyone not stuck in a 9 to 5 are broke unemployed people?
    backstabwatto_cobra
  • Reply 17 of 19
    williamh said:
    mike1 said:
    A much better idea was an app I saw (forgot the name) that monitored your sleep cycles throughout the night and adjusted your alarm time to wake you up during the lightest period of the cycle rather than during the REM portion. At most it adjusted your wake time by 10 minutes or so. And I believe it could be told to wake you on the cycle before your programmed wake time, never after.
    The app is called Sleep Cycle.  I've been using it for a couple of years now but not using that feature.  Using either motion sensors or the microphone, the app determines (pretty well) where you are in your sleep cycle.  You can have it wake you up within a range of time at a light period of your sleep cycle (as Mike said).  I'd prefer to get up at a particular time and monitor my sleep cycle so I turned that off.  The app has many nice features that I won't detail. I'll just mention that I like how snooze works and I like how the volume of the wake music or sound kind of gradually increases in volume so you don't have a heart attack.
    Thanks William and Mike. Definitely going to look this up.
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 18 of 19
    dunksdunks Posts: 1,226member

    A patent application published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Thursday titled "Adjusting alarms based on sleep onset latency" attempts to solve the issue by changing when the alarm sounds in the morning to wake them up, by determining the exact time the person falls asleep. 
    The added anxiety about whether your alarm will wake you up in time for work ought to contribute to a great night's sleep. /s
  • Reply 19 of 19
    @Mike1, the app you seek/remember is called Sleep Cycle. There are others now, but Sleep Cycle has been around for years and does just that.
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