Sound sleep is essential for mental, physical, emotional & intellectual health. However, it is a luxury not many can flaunt. Whether due to stress, work, health issues, or irregular schedules, most people don’t sleep properly. So, I decided to review a sleep tracking app, Pillow, for the Appy Week with AK series.
With the Appy week series, I, Arshmeet Kaur (AK), test one app for a whole week. This allows me to give other users a detailed insight into the app and decide whether to skip or download it.
This week’s app, Pillow Automatic Sleep Tracker, claims that it makes ‘Sleeping better’ simple. And oh man! I was in for a surprise at the end of my testing week; scroll down to see if it was a pleasant or shocking surprise.
Pillow Automatic Sleep Tracker Review: The how’s, why’s, what’s & more
Recommended by many experts, Pillow is an advanced iOS and watchOS app that monitors your sleep. It automatically tracks your sleep, helps you fall asleep, improve the overall experience, and enables you to wake up in a great mood every day. How exactly? Well, before we move on to that, let’s learn why you would need such a sleep tracking app.
The perks of a sleep tracking app & who is it for
You know there are some issues if you:
- can’t sleep, even if you are feeling sleepy.
- feel exhaustive even after a good night’s sleep.
- randomly wake up in the middle of the night.
- have a weird and varying sleep cycle.
The first step to finding a solution is to find the right question or, shall I say, the root cause. An able sleep tracking app such as Pillow could empower you with data that, in turn, can help you find the real culprit.
Plus, it can assist you in sleeping better and improve your overall health and endurance. So, does Pillow do all this? How well does it perform on the AK Meter? Let’s find the answers.
How well does the Pillow app work?
Pillow brings a bunch of exceptional built-in modes to analyze your sleep cycles. All you have to do is wear your Apple Watch & place your iPhone or iPad on the mattress near your Pillow.
The scientifically backed method collects motion, audio data, and heart rate to give you a detailed insight into your sleep quality and duration. In the morning, you get a summary chart with valuable data about your sleep.
And once it gets the hang of your sleeping habits, the algorithm makes personalized suggestions to help you improve your overall slumber health. It even collects your sleep notes and wake up moods to help you self-analyze and observe what worked and what did not.
Crazy, I know! Remarkably, that’s just the start of the features that the Pillow app possesses.
- Audio recording – Along with monitoring your tosses and turns, it also tracks if you sleep talk, snore, or have sleep apnea. It recorded the instrumental music my HomePod plays to the irritating and loud snores. What’s great is you can star these recordings for future references.
- How about a power nap? – If you are a fan of short, resting naps, you are in luck. Pillow offers custom presets to track sleep time effortlessly; check out my one-hour sleep data example.
- It’s Automatic – If you own an Apple Watch, wear it to bed, with no compulsion of having your iPhone or iPad near you. In the morning, you will get a proper sleep analysis, albeit without the audio recording. A bonus is that you can check your daily sleep data conveniently from your Apple Watch as well.
- Journaling – To better understand your mental health and to aid in self-analysis, the app lets you record notes about your day or current mood before you sleep and even record the mood you woke up with.
- Can’t sleep? – It doubles as a sleep-inducing meditation app with a range of relaxing sounds, meditation sessions, stories, soundscapes, and more.
- Preach baby preach – Need help understanding the science behind sleeping properly or tricks to improve your sleep. Easily access all such content within the app itself.
- Wake up, sleepyhead – Unless you are one of those who wake up before the alarm, finding the right alarm app & tone can be difficult. The app smartly takes that responsibility as well; it wakes you at the lightest possible sleep stage in a given time frame, so you rise and shine, baby (if you know, you know).
Did you find it odd that I have been going on about the app’s feature and not once I have mentioned or praise the analytical data it collected? Well, because it deserves a separate heading.
The data galore
If the above sentence didn’t give you a hint of how impressed I am with the data Pillow collects, I don’t know what will. From the time taken to fall asleep to wake-up timing, and everything in between, the app records it all.
- Detailed heart rate analysis – Average, minimum, and maximum
- Detailed sleep stage diagram
- Light sleep
- Deep sleep
- Overall sleep score
- Comparison of your sleep quality & other sleep metrics with Apple Health metrics like
- Heart Rate
- Caffeine/Alcohol consumption
- Calories and more
- Weekly, monthly, and yearly views for a bigger picture
What’s great is all this data is truncated in bite-size, easy to understand, and offers glanceable summaries. So, you don’t have to be an expert to figure out the problem area; it is all nicely organized and served on the platter. And if you want to share it with a professional, you can export the CSV format data anytime.
Another amazing thing is that the app studies your sleeping behavior to present a customized plan with your ideal sleep time and other personal insights.
What’s more? This plan auto-adjusts when your sleeping or daily habits vary.
Additional perks – To help you make the most of its services, the app seamlessly incorporates special iOS-friendly features such as light & dark themes, Siri Wind Down & Shortcuts support, Home screen widgets, and Apple Watch complications.
Does it also work well without Apple Watch?
Not everyone owns an Apple Watch, but almost everyone needs assistance with sleep tracking. Of course, there are perks if you have a watch, but Pillow can track your sleep accurately even without it. Although, the Phone app heavily depends on the audio recording, which might not be as accurate as of the watch.
What about my data privacy?
An obvious question as Pillow is collecting a host of data on you. According to the Privacy Label on the App Store, it uses and stores lesser data than WhatsApp or Facebook 😛.
Moreover, the developer states that the data is stored on your device and Cloud storage (using strong encryption).
You can use Pillow anonymously as well. So, I think our data is in safe hands.
Did it make AK Appy? What Shocked me?
Yes, AK was pretty, pretty impressed with the app. I might not call it a super-simple interface, but it is easy enough to get the hang of after using it once or twice. Lucky for Pillow, purple is one of my favorite colors, and I especially loved their bright color scheme. When my dreams are colorful, why should my sleep tracking app be dull?
And now, to answer the question, I am teasing from the start. I am surprised by my sleep score; being a heavy sleeper, I expected better marks. It made me realize that there is a need to make some potent changes to improve my overall health.
So, a big thank you to Pillow for bringing that to my attention. I think you should try the app for sure to find your sleep status.
AK Meter (Points out of 5)
- User interface – 4
- Features – 4.5
- Data recorded – 4
- Date analysis & presentation – 4.5
- Sleep aid – 4
- Value for Money
- Privacy – 4
- Fun quotient – 4
Download – Pillow Automatic Sleep Tracker
Pricing – One-week free trial with a yearly subscription
- Monthly Premium Features – $4.99
- Quarterly Premium Features – $12.99
- Yearly Premium Features – $29.99
What is Appy Week with AK?
As described briefly in the introduction, Appy With with AK is a unique series where I pick up an app every week and test it vigorously. Why, you ask? Well, because sometimes ratings and users’ reviews don’t do justice. And you might need something to help you decide the value of an app.
That’s’ exactly what I am here for. So, make sure you take full benefit and follow the Appy Week with AK series. In case you have any queries regarding this app, please feel free to ask the same in the comment sections below.
Check out the previous Appy Week with AK reviews:
- App of the Week: Signal Private Messenger (Jan 8-14, 2021): Really Private?
- App of the Week: J&J Official 7 Minute Workout (Jan 1-7, 2021)
- App of the Week: Clubhouse – Drop-in audio chat (Jan 22-28, 2021)
- App of the Week: Between, The App Couples Love (Feb 5-11, 2021)