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Taskworld’s Top Sleep Aid and Data Tracking Apps

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Ever hit two or three o’clock in the afternoon and suddenly struggle to keep your eyes open? You’ve been cruising all day and now you can’t focus, your mind’s rereading the same document over and over again, you’re trying to solve problems to no avail—in the worst of times you’ll actually nod off for brief moments. I think it’s safe to say nothing is worse than being caught snoozing at your desk. The discovery by your coworkers or boss can sink the perception of your professionalism, or even worse, cause them to lose faith in you as a member of the team.  Fortunately app stores are telling us it doesn’t have to be this way! Take a gander through the iTunes App Store or Google Play and you’ll quickly find sleep apps—both trackers and aids, litter the market.

It’s neither a surprise nor mystery why sleep apps have become so popular, but do they really work? Below I’ve compiled some of the supposed game-changers in the sleep app market, highlighting their features and what sets them apart.

General Sleep Aids

White Noise (iOS only—Paid)
Background noise isn’t for everyone, but it’s quite common for people to need some kind of faint sound to fall asleep at night—whether it’s the fan running at a low speed; a light-yet-peaceful downpour outside; or having the air conditioner going. White Noise offers over 40 looped choices of ambiance with additional free sounds on their website. You can also mix multiple soundscapes together for your perfect sleep-inducing concoction.

 Sleep Genius (Free, iOS and Android, In-App Purchases)
Developed by experts in neuroscience, music, sound and sleep, Sleep Genius’ algorithms prep the user for sleep, steer them through each rest cycle and calmly wake you at your body’s optimum moment. Sleep Genius proclaims it’s “better” than White Noise. Sleep Genius is free to download, but users will quickly realize the buzz is around the in-app sleeping mode purchases, such as ‘Tranquility’, ‘Dreamscapes’ and the ultra-popular ‘Power Nap’ feature.

 Dormio (Free with In-App Options, iOS)
Dormio, for starters, boasts one of the more creative names among sleep apps, standing apart from virtually every other app which incorporates ‘sleep’ into the name. However, Dormio is not a gimmick, rather, another soothing sleep aid through natural soundscapes. There are also a bevy of in-app purchases offering everything from ‘Lucid Dreaming Hypnosis’ to ‘See the Universe’. There is also a 90-minute timer so your phone battery isn’t drained in the morning.

Twilight (Free, Android Only)
Similar to F.lux for desktops, Twilight fights back against the blue screen horridness that has ruined society’s ability to go to sleep at an appropriate hour. It’s quite common for people to read on their phone or tablet before going to sleep at night, even more common in bed. Twilight adapts your screen to the time of day, filtering out the blue tint after sunset and keeping melatonin production in balance.

Sleepytime Bedtime Calculator (Free, Android Only—Paid, Android & iOS)
For those of us who are fortunate enough to not need sleep aids, enter Sleepytime. It’s a wonderful calculator that gives you several options of waking up—all you need to do is input the time you’re going to bed (it accounts 14 minutes for the user to fall asleep). You can also do the reverse and select when you want to wake up and a list of times to go to bed (again accounting for that 14 minutes) will pop up. The same idea is at work here as with the other sleep alarm clocks; waking up in-between sleep cycles will make the user feel rested whereas waking up during one, even with an adequate amount of sleep, will cause the user to feel drowsy and sluggish.

Sleep Trackers

Sleep Cycle alarm clock (Paid, iOS)
The Sleep Cycle alarm clock collects nightly data on your sleep patterns and puts them into graph form. Like any reputable alarm clock app, Sleep Cycle claims to wake its user up in a lighter sleep phase while also incorporating an intelligent snooze option if the user decides they’d still like to sleep more. Place the phone face-down under your sheets for ideal performance. Probably the coolest feature of the Sleep Cycle alarm clock is the sleep notes, where users can see how their sleep quality fared after eating fast food, or drinking coffee, or getting yelled at all day by a tyrant of a boss.

Sleep Talk (Paid, iOS—Free with In-App Purchases, Android)
Sleep talkers rejoice! Sleep Talk can be a bit creepy in that it records everything that goes on throughout your night of rest. You may hear ghosts whispering faintly, bodily movements, your own haunting sleep conversations or…you may find out you have horrible sleep apnea. If you’ve always slept alone, how would you know about that? Now, you can find out exactly what is plaguing your sleep cycle. And don’t worry; there won’t be an eight-hour recording to listen to after each night of sleep. Sleep Talk filters any sound and records them instantly. There’s also a fun little feature which allows users to post their middle-of-the-night-rants or disturbing snoring to Facebook and Twitter.

SleepBot (Free, iOS and Android)
Perhaps the jack-of-all-trades app in that it offers sleep tracking, a smart alarm as well as records movements and sounds occurring through the night. SleepBot may not stand out in terms of quirky features, but it perhaps touches on all areas like no other app, while still offering 10 customized alarm soundtracks, graphed sleep data, movement tracking, effortless sound recording playback and a simple interface—SleepBot may very well be the most complete sleep app available, and it’s free!

For Insomniacs

Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson (Paid, iOS and Android)
Championed for its ability to help long-time sufferers of insomnia, Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson brings the soothing sounds of self-hypnosis to its users. The voice of Andrew Johnson has been described by some as an adult lullaby while empowering the deprived to control their feelings on rest.

pzizz sleep (Paid, iOS only)
Another possible solution for pleading insomniacs—pzizz sleep is unique in that it doesn’t have the same list of tracks to choose from nightly. Instead, every time a user hits start a new set of sounds is generated (well there is a limit to new sounds, but 100 billion may as well be unlimited). This feature alone makes pzizz able to be tolerated for much longer than apps offering an increasingly stale list of audio choices. More so, pzizz allows the user to choose how long the sounds continue for—starting at 10 minutes and lasting up to 10 hours, 45 minutes. Pzizz is a bit costlier than most sleep apps out there, but promises to be a long-term solution and not just something to experiment with over a month-long periods.

Yoga for Insomnia (Paid, iOS & Android—also PC and Mac)
Yoga for Insomnia will turn away a lot of users with its $4.99 price tag; however ones willing to give it a go anyway are likelier to stick with the app versus an easily-downloadable free option. Yoga for Insomnia provides rich images of various yoga poses with the purpose of creating better breathing patterns and thus, better sleep. Settings range from beginner to more advanced levels for longer sessions. Each picture instructs the user on proper breathing methods. This app is part of a larger suite of apps called useful health tools, which can be purchased at a ‘pay-what-you-want’ price.

Well, that’s great, but do these really work?

Great question, and to be honest, who really knows? Most of the sleep apps on the market today have little backing from stringent scientific support. But, I’ll argue, so what? If these apps have a strong Placebo Effect, then so be it, a lot of people still feel more rested and ready to tackle their day. More importantly, the littering of sleep apps has cleaned the window for which we analyze our own sleeping patterns. This shift toward caring about our sleep cycles and amount of sleep we get is extremely important for a world that produces sluggishly each day. With constant stress, pressure, deadlines—plus family and friend obligations, sleep is often the necessary priority getting shoved to the bottom of the list.

If we can slowly start a world-wide (technological world, at least) movement to care more about what time we lay our head and what time we rise, we can open our bodies and minds up to a wealth of health benefits, probably more than we even realize.

This article first appeared on Taskworld

Entrepreneurship

Women on Top in Tech – Daphne Ng, CEO of JEDTrade

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(Women on Top in Tech is a series about Women Founders, CEOs, and Leaders in technology. It aims to amplify and bring to the fore diversity in leadership in technology.)

Daphne Ng is the CEO of JEDTrade, a blockchain technology company focused on trade, supply chain, and financial inclusion projects in ASEAN. She is also the Scretary-General at ACCESS and Exco. of Singapore Fintech Association

What makes you do what you do?
I was introduced to blockchain technology in 2016 after I left my corporate banking career after 10 years. It was my mentor who first got me interested in this technology, which I then went on to delve further into, on its potential applications in the lending and trade finance space – domains where I came from.

How did you rise in the industry you are in?
Being in the space for 2 years and actively involved in the ecosystem, I was able to bring on the projects, network and a good degree of thought leadership in this vertical. Early on in the startup journey, our team faced many challenges. And to me, the key to rising above failures are two essential factors – resilience and support. While resilience is innate, I received a lot of help be it in terms of connections or advice. ‘Nobody succeeds without help’ rings very true for me.

Why did you take on this role/start this startup especially since this is perhaps a stretch or challenge for you (or viewed as one since you are not the usual leadership demographics)?
From the start, I focused on my domain expertise in trade finance and the application construct of how blockchain and DLT can be applied to these use cases. Also, my strategy from the start was to build a technology company made up of 80% tech and engineers, which is also our key competitive advantage today. At the end of the day, deliverables are about strategy and execution, which includes building and leading an ‘A’ team.

Do you have a mentor that you look up to in your industries or did you look for one or how did that work?
I have many mentors, which includes our company advisors (all of whom are well-known in this industry) and mostly informal mentors I meet via my connections, and on various occasions and circumstances. Creating opportunities also means putting myself in the right place, at the right time. And in my case, these were mostly organic and genuine friendships formed from the initial connection.

How did you make a match if you and how did you end up being mentored by him?
To me, a match in values is very important. It also takes humility to ask for help and be willing to listen to advice, which is important in order for mentorships to be successful – be it formal or informal.

Now as a leader how do you spot, develop, keep, grow and support your talent?
I love this question! I am passionate about building strong teams and helping my people grow. I abide by the 3Rs when identifying talents: resourcefulness, resilience and right values. And then I invest in the ‘potential’ and this means giving them room to lead, make decisions and take risks.

Do you consciously or unconsciously support diversity and why?
My support of diverse talents, skillsets and characters can be seen in the make-up of our core team – all helming specific roles and each bringing their own value to the table. We need the sum of all parts to build a great company.

What is your take on what it takes to be a great leader in your industry and as a general rule of thumb?
Great leaders emerge in times of failures and challenges, never abandoning the team, and always putting the team’s interests before her own. And I consciously live by these mottos every day.

Advice for others?
My advice to other entrepreneurs: be resolute and dare to be different. If you are going to follow others, then you will end up on the same path as them. No right or wrong; but I would rather chart my own path. This June, we are officially launching our blockchain project, Jupiter Chain (www.jupiterchain.tech), which have garnered much interest in the industry, even before we made it public. We believe this project is the epitome of marrying innovation with practical implementation, and we want to be the first to truly operationalize blockchain for our ecosystem projects in this region.


If you’d like to get in touch with Daphne Ng, please feel free to reach out to her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/daphne-ng-%E9%BB%84%E7%91%9E%E7%8E%B2/

To learn more about JEDTrade, please click here.

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Callum Connects

Jace Koh, Founder of U Ventures

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Jace Koh believes cash flow is the lifeblood of your business. Understanding it will enhance your ability to run and manage your business.

What’s your story?
My name is Jace Koh and I am the Founder of U Ventures. I’ve always been inclined towards investment and entrepreneurship. I’ve played a hand in starting businesses across these industries – professional services, cloud integration, software and music. I believe that succeeding in business is tough, but that’s what makes the rewards even sweeter.

What excites you most about your industry?
Everything excites me. These are my beliefs:

  • Why is accounting important?
    The accounting department is the heart. Cash flow is like blood stream, it pumps blood to various parts of the body like cash flow is pumped to various departments and/or functions in a business. It is vital to the life and death of the business.
  • Is accounting boring?
    Accountants are artists too. They paint the numbers the way they want them to be.
  • What makes a good accountant?
    A good accountant can tell you a story about the business by looking at the numbers.
  • Why is budgeting and projection important?
    Accountants are like fortune tellers, they can predict the numbers and if you wish to understand your business and make informed decisions, feel free to speak to our friendly consultants to secure a meeting.

What’s your connection to Asia?
I was born and raised in Singapore, and here’s where I want to be.

Favourite city in Asia for business and why?
Singapore is my favourite city. We have great legal systems in place, good security and people with integrity. Most importantly, we have a government that fosters a good environment for doing business. I recently went for a cultural exchange programme in Hong Kong to learn more about their startups. I found out that the Hong Kong government generally only supports local business owners in terms of grants. They’ve recently been more lenient and changed the eligibility to include all businesses that have at least 50% local shareholding. But comparing that to Singapore, the government only requires a 30% local shareholding to obtain government support. In the early days of starting a business, all the support you can get is precious. It’s great that we have a government that understands that.

What’s the best piece of advice you ever received?
The best time ever to plant a tree was 10 years ago as the tree would have grown so big to provide you with shelter and all. When is the next best time to plant a tree? It is today. Because in 10 years time, the tree would have grown big enough to provide you shelter and all.

Who inspires you?
Jack Ma. His journey to success is one of the most inspiring as it proves that with determination and great foresight, even the poorest can turn their lives around. I personally relate to his story a lot, and this is my favourite quote from him, “If you don’t give up, you still have a chance. Giving up is the greatest failure.”

What have you just learnt recently that blew you away?
I’ve faced multiple rejections throughout my business journey, and recently came across a fact on Jack Ma about how he was once rejected for 32 different jobs. It resonated very deeply and taught me the importance of tenacity, especially during tough times.

If you had your time again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. I live a life with no regrets. Everything I do, regardless of whether it is right or wrong, happy or sad, and regardless of outcome, it’s a lesson with something to take away.

How do you unwind?
I love to pamper myself through retail therapy and going for spas. I also make a conscious effort to take time off work to have a break outside to unwind as well as to uncloud my mind. This moment of reflection from time to time helps me see more clearly on how I can improve myself.

Favourite Asian destination for relaxation? Why?
Taiwan! Good food with no language barriers and the people are great!

Everyone in business should read this book:
I don’t really read books. Mostly, I learn from my daily life and interactions with hundreds of other business owners. To me, people tell the most interesting stories.

Shameless plug for your business:
We’re not just corporate secretaries, we’re “business doctors.”
U Ventures is a Xero certified advisory firm that goes beyond traditional accounting services to provide solutions for your business. You can reach us on our website: http://uventures.com.sg/

How can people connect with you?
Converse to connect. You can reach me via email at [email protected] or alternatively, on LinkedIn here: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jacekoh/

This interview is part of the ‘Callum Connect’ series of more than 500 interviews

Callum Laing is an entrepreneur and investor based in Singapore. He has previously started,
built and sold half a dozen businesses and is now a Partner at Unity-Group Private Equity and Co-Founder of The Marketing Group PLC. He is the author two best selling books ‘Progressive Partnerships’ and ‘Agglomerate’.

Connect with Callum here:
twitter.com/laingcallum
linkedin.com/in/callumlaing
Download free copies of his books here: www.callumlaing.com

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