DIY Sleep – Luddite’s Style

I have two shocking confessions.  The first is that my first and only smart phone to date is an employee issued Blackberry Bold.  The second is that I appear to snore – a lot.  To the second confession, I have an apology to make.  To all of those friends and family members I have shaed a room with, I am sorry about the snoring thing.  (Errr, a small explanation, room sharing means the same sleeping areas, for example a dorm in a hostel…).

The two confessions are related in the following way.  To start, I thought I had a health problem (snoring) and being a Do It Yourself (DIY) kinda guy, I went out and bought a digital voice recorder and software for analyzing sound.  Over the past few nights, I have been recording the ambient room noise and then analyzing them with the software.  I have done this to confirm that yep, I sure as heck snore.

Sound Sample from May 9th.

Sound Sample from May 9th.

The above graphic I plan to give to my family doctor physician when I see him next week.  Not sure what happens next but I do I hope to start sharing rooms with friends and family once again (in a platonic hostel-dorm sort of way).

The smart phone confession comes in when I thought, “This is brilliant, why hasn’t someone built an app for this (recording and analyzing snoring)”.  Well lo and behold, about 100 different apps available on the market (google ‘app snore sound record’ for about 700,000 hits).  Had I been more smartphone savvy and less of a Luddite, I would have realized that instead of a DIY solution, my Blackberry could have done this with an app that is either free or at most a few bucks.

Looking a head 10 years, perhaps it might be strange to your family physician if you did not show up with a record of your sleep – whether you suffered from snoring or not.  Of course the smart phone 10 years hence may also tell your doctor your average blood sugar, physical activity, pulse rate, blood pressure and karma/fung shi levels as well.  In other words, the smart phone may become our most powerful tool to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

There is an Orwellian double-edge sword here.  What happens if that information is not freely given but instead is demanded by insurance companies, employers, health authorities or governments.  This is not as much of a stretch as you think.  The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that there are 1,550 fatalities and 40,000 injuries as a result of driving drowsy.  People who do not drink or smoke get insurance breaks – why not people who sleep well?  Employers can test for drugs, why not how well you have slept over the last month?

George Orwell aside, I hope my Luddite-DIY-Snore information can help me get a better night’s sleep in the coming months.  Wish me luck!