It's that time of the Year again, and sleep remains as important as ever. Sleeping well during the pandemic can be challenging, yet it can be an essential source of healing and much-needed recuperation. For this Year's Cyber Monday, Pillow's Premium Features will be available at a50% discount for a year.
Those who upgrade now will also benefit from the features of our upcoming big update that will be Pillow v4.0. It's our biggest update yet, and it is right around the corner.
Stay safe and healthy, everyone! With a lot of love from our team at Neybox.
Sleep tracking should be as easy and effortless as possible. With Pillow v.3.6 we’re (finally) introducing automatic sleep tracking using the Apple Watch. This is a very big update that took a lot of time and effort to make sure it works as expected and at the same time feels like a natural addition to Pillow’s existing features.
Here’s a quick overview of what’s new in this version:
Automatic sleep tracking with the Apple Watch
Automatic sleep tracking means that Pillow no longer requires you to press any buttons to track your sleep. If you have an Apple Watch, simply enable Pillow’s “Automatic” mode once and just wear your Apple Watch during sleep. As long as Pillow’s Automatic mode is enabled Pillow will automatically detect and analyze your sleep every day. You can open Pillow anytime during the day to check your sleep analysis, set your mood or add notes to that sleep session.
One thing that’s worth noting is that Alarms and Audio recordings are currently not possible in Automatic mode due to the way Apple Watch and watchOS works. However, we’ll keep looking for ways to bring this functionality.
“Manual” mode is still there
If, for whatever reason, you don’t like Automatic mode or you want to use your iPhone or iPad to track your sleep, you can turn off Automatic mode and switch back to Manual mode. Every single feature available in manual mode is still there and it’s not going away. Manual mode is still a very popular way to track sleep with Pillow and we’ve got great new features coming up for those who want to use Pillow in that mode.
Introducing the Sleep Diary view
Since the very first version of Pillow, when you launch the app, you are taken directly to the Alarm Setup view where you see a picker that you can use to set up your wake-up time. That’s great if you want to use Pillow in manual mode. However, it doesn’t make sense when you when Automatic mode is on. We also felt that Pillow was always missing a view where you can easily get a quick and meaningful summary of your sleep every day. Those two problems led us to create what we call the “Sleep Diary“ view.
The Sleep Diary gives a quick and visual overview of what matters when you want to get an idea of how well you slept last night: Two concentric rings, one for the Time Asleep and the other for your Sleep Quality for that day, and a list of all the detected sleep sessions in a condensed and simplified form. Tapping on each one of the detected sessions takes you to the detail view where you can get in-depth information about that night.
The Sleep Diary is only accessible if you enable Automatic mode both from the iPhone and the Apple Watch. However, we’re working on a major redesign of Pillow that will provide access to that view in both Automatic and Manual modes.
The Sleep calendar
An important part of the Sleep Diary view is the Sleep Calendar. Tapping on the calendar icon on the top right corner displays a monthly calendar that lets you access previous days. If Pillow has detected one or more sessions for that day, you’ll see a little purple dot. Tapping on a day that doesn’t have any sleep sessions detected, will take you to that day and Pillow will automatically try to detect any sessions, provided that you did wear your Apple Watch during sleep. That’s a great way to detect sessions in the past, and you can go as far back in time as you want!
Sleep reports via Rich notifications
You can select to receive a notification when Pillow detects a sleep session or schedule that notification to appear after a specific time. Pillow uses rich notifications so that you can view your sleep report and sleep stage diagram without having to open the app.
Merging and expanding sessions
Last but not least, this update gives even more flexibility in the way you can handle detected sleep sessions. Pillow's edit session dialog now allows you to increase the duration of your sleep session by adding time at the beginning or end of the sleep session or merge two sleep sessions as long as they are less than six hours apart.
Now that Automatic sleep tracking mode is done we’ll be working full speed in our next major version, Pillow v.4.0 that will bring many new features and a complete redesign that will make Pillow a lot easier and intuitive to use. Subscribe to our mailing list if you want to receive news and updates about any upcoming features and updates.
Pillow is available for free on the App Store and the new Automatic Sleep tracking features come as a free upgrade to all existing users. Enjoy!
It’s World Sleep Day today, and it goes without saying that this is a special date for Pillow. For us, it’s first and foremost an excellent opportunity to ask one simple question: How does sleep affect my life? Sadly, it’s not a question that gets asked often enough, although it’s surprisingly easy to answer with all the technology and resources that is available out there.
So we urge you to ask yourself this simple question and if by any change you’d like to use Pillow to help you find the answer we’re offering all our Premium Features at a 40% discount just for today.
The first big update for Pillow in 2017 has arrived packed with many improvements, fixes, and much-requested features. Here’s a quick look at what’s in this version:
Heart rate analysis during sleep
Pillow’s advanced sleep tracking and analysis algorithm takes another leading step forward by introducing heart rate analysis during sleep time. Being the first of its kind to provide this kind of depth and accuracy, Pillow now displays a detailed graph of the heart rate during each sleep session. The heart rate graph is overlaid on top of the sleep analysis chart to provide unprecedented insight into the changes in the heart rate during each sleep stage. Tapping on the graph, it is possible to view individual heart rate values and review high, low and average values for the entire sleep session as well as the same values for each stage of sleep.
To do that, Pillow uses heart rate data from Apple Health as they are gathered by wearable devices such as the Apple Watch, provided that the user has given explicit permission to Pillow to use those data. Also, Pillow on the Apple Watch has been updated to include the heart rate chart during sleep along with the sleep analysis chart.
The integration of Heart Rate analysis from wearable devices marks the step towards the realization of a greater vision that we have for Pillow. To connect with a wide variety of services and smart appliances that share relevant data and functionality with Pillow so that it may become the heart of the sleep monitoring and improvement experience.
A radically updated Apple Watch app
The release of Pillow of the Apple Watch and the subsequent release of Apple Watch OS 3.0 combined with valuable feedback from our users lead to so many changes and improvements that we practically re-wrote the entire app. Firstly, Pillow for the Apple Watch is now a lot easier to use requiring fewer steps to start and stop a sleep session and the entire UI has been cleaned up to load faster and be more informative. We’ve also made significant improvements in the way sleep session data is synced at the end of the session and we’ve added a completely new heart rate analysis view in the statistics.
Of course we’re still at the beginning. We have so many more updates and ideas for Pillow on the Apple Watch, some of which also depend on the evolution of the watchOS itself. A lot of people ask us why Pillow on the Apple Watch doesn’t perform automatic sleep tracking. Pillow’s algorithm uses motion data recorded from the Apple Watch to perform sleep analysis and this data can only be obtained if the user explicitly starts a session from the Apple Watch as required by watchOS 3. Other apps that claim to automatically detect sleep start and stop times don’t use motion data which, based on our research and tests, leads to wildly inaccurate sleep analysis.
We are very optimistic about the future of the Apple Watch and watchOS as we closely monitor any enhancement and improvement that becomes available to third-party apps like Pillow. Automatic sleep tracking, use of haptic feedback for the alarm, audio recording using the Apple Watch are features that we definitely want to implement once those technical obstacles are overcome.
Time to sleep and better detailed sleep statistics
Knowing how much time it took to fall asleep each night is valuable information and may explain various decisions and choices that may have affected sleep quality. This is why now Pillow comes an updated sleep analysis view to accommodate precisely this kind of information. In addition, we’ve made a number of updates in the detailed statistics views so that it is now easier to compare Time asleep vs. Time in Bed on a weekly, monthly and yearly basis.
More options and customisations
Pillow v.3.1 comes with many more improvements and enhancements including the much requested ability to customise the level of the alarm volume and the duration of the sleep aid sounds. Last but not least we’ve updated Snooze lab with more insights, tips and improvements that we hope that you will enjoy.
Automatic sleep tracking on the Apple Watch and the future
Pillow on the Apple watch uses motion and heart rate data recorded from the Apple Watch to perform sleep analysis. However, motion data can only be obtained if the user explicitly starts a session from the Apple Watch as required by watchOS. Automatic sleep tracking on the Apple Watch is currently possible using heart rate data only, which based on our research, can lead to very inaccurate sleep analysis. That said, we are working on ways to use heart rate data in other interesting ways including automatic sleep start and stop time detection. Hopefully, the ongoing evolution of the Apple Watch will lift many of the currently imposed restrictions and we promise we'll do our best to make Pillow as frictionless to use as possible!
The importance of sleeping well is often overlooked. Despite the fact that sleep science and still in its infancy, we have a plethora of studies, surveys and discoveries demonstrating just how sleep can affect our everyday lives on a surprising level. Below is an infographic containing some of the most important facts and figures about sleep that we have gathered as part of our ongoing research for Pillow, our sleep tracking app.
It's been over 18 months since the release of Pillow and we are already preparing the v.3.0 with many new features that will take Pillow to whole new level. All this progress wouldn't have been possible without the invaluable feedback that we have gathered from our amazing users that took the time to share their ideas and suggestions on how to make Pillow even better.
Pillow has been praised for its clean and simple user interface but it remains a large app with many features. This is why some of our users have suggested a quick and simple guide around Pillow's basic and most frequent tasks. Today we are introducing a new section on our website: "Getting started with Pillow". This section includes short videos that answer simple questions such as how to start a sleep session, how to start a power nap, how to view last night's statistics, how to listen to your audio recordings and many more.
And this is just the beginning. We'll be adding more videos in this section as the time progresses and we gather more feedback from you. As always, we are open to more suggestions and ideas, even for this new section itself. Visit our "Support & Feedback Center" to let us know. We'll be more than happy to hear from you.
Our latest and greatest update for Pillow (v.2.2) is finally public. This version comes with several new features and changes that we believe are worth the time to explore and explain a little further.
12 hour format.
The most requested feature by our users right from the beginning was the option to display time in 12 hour format. Although it might seem trivial, this time format has lot of quirks mainly because the ‘am’/‘pm’ indicator is not the same around the world and it’s length varies and the time shows up in lots of places inside Pillow.
The best part is that you don’t have to do anything to switch between 12 and 24 time format. Pillow automatically detects the format you have selected for your device and adjusts accordingly. [screenshot of the two time format options]
Snooze Lab Insights: Discover your optimal bed time
Version 2.2 of Pillow introduces a new Snooze Lab item which we call Insights. Insights let you discover more about your sleep by analysing data from your sleep sessions.
The first in the series of Snooze Lab insights is about your Optimal bed time: Pillow analyses your sleep sessions and determines around what time you are most likely to sleep better based on the relationship between and the beginning of each sleep session and its quality.
What’s more, you can optionally allow Pillow to display a notification on your iOS device 30 minutes earlier, so that you can start preparing for bed time.
A change in the way the sleep session stops
One of the biggest changes you are going to notice is in the way Pillow lets you stop a sleep session. We had to replace the “Swipe to stop” method, as required by Apple’s review team, to avoid confusion with the "Swipe to unlock functionality" on iOS.
So we decided to replace it with a ‘Stop’ button that you have to press and hold for a few seconds to avoid accidental termination of the session.
The v.8.3 bug
This update of Pillow also happened to coincide with the update of iOS to version v.8.3 which introduced a nasty bug that made Pillow freeze and become unresponsive. We want to thank all of you for your patience and support during the time it took to resolve this issue and we sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused.
As always this is a free update for all of our users. If you like Pillow please consider writing a short review on the App Store. It will really help other users discover Pillow as well.
When set out to build Pillow, our goal was to build something beyond the confines of a good sleep tracking application that measures your sleep cycles. We also wanted to provide a high quality resource that will enable smarter decisions to improve sleep quality and gain deeper insight about each one’s personal sleep profile.
Our first step towards that direction was Snooze lab, constantly updated with smart recommendations, experiments and personalised tips. We are already working on its evolution and we are very excited about it. But this post is not about Snooze lab.
Today we are announcing a small but significant addition. It’s an on-line publication powered by Flipboard’s amazing platform. It’s name is ‘Better Sleep’ and it’s a weekly online magazine featuring a specially curated selection of articles related to Sleep Health, the science of sleep and useful tips recommended by sleep experts.
The format is very new and we are still experimenting with it but we really believe you are going to love it. It’s available for free though flipboad, accessible from your favourite mobile device or your desktop browser: here
Take a look, browse it’s content and let us know what you think.
We’ve been kind of silent during the last few weeks, as we were preparing a major update for Pillow. So, after some painstaking effort, the second version of Pillow is finally here and we’re excited to share with you its new features!
In a nutshell, it’s a rather big update including many popular feature requests, adaptations for the latest devices and iOS 8 HealthKit integration and a brand new iPad version. Let’s dive into some more details about each one.
As of version 2, Pillow is a Universal app supporting natively both iPhone/iPod and iPad. Adapting the app for iPad presented quite a few challenges: We had to redesign certain aspects of the interface and mainly the daily statistics screen in order to exploit the bigger screen real estate and perform a variety of adjustments in our other views to make things appear and work smoothly. The incorporation of iCloud gave us an “easy”1 way to sync sleep data between the devices so that users owning both devices can do the recording on iPhone which is easier to accommodate on the bed and browse through their statistics on the iPad, enjoying the larger screen.
Yes, finally Pillow supports HealthKit and interacts with Apple’s Health app. We have already described our intentions regarding HealthKit integration in a previous post and especially how we wanted to include and visualise more aspects of a person’s health and well-being and relate them to sleep efficiency. So, apart from feeding the Health app with the sleep duration data, we incorporated ten more data sources that can be viewed in comparison to sleep quality without needing to leave the app. These sources include: heart rate, systolic blood pressure, caffeine intake, dietary calories, blood alcohol content, weight, steps, cycling distance and Nike Fuel. Every one of these metrics is firmly believed, by current sleep research, to be closely associated with sleep efficiency and be a potential contributing factor or a result of sleep disorder. In that perspective we found it very useful for a person to be able to immediately and easily see and assess this kind of information. We must note that all HealthKit derived data remain on the device and are not stored or shared with any kind of external service or the iCloud, in order to ensure absolute data privacy.
iPhone 6 and 6+
Pillow interface is now also supporting the larger iPhones in native resolution. Since we’re very proud for Pillow’s design we got very frustrated seeing our app in the blown-up compatibility mode and we were truly eager to make things right.
Apart from these major changes, we’ve included a number of smaller yet significant upgrades to the app like the fact that we now offer the opportunity to continue an interrupted sleep session when the interruption is less than 10 minutes.
A short glimpse to what’s next
With the introduction of the iPad version and the HealthKit integration, we believe that Pillow is now one of the most complete sleep tracking apps on iOS. But there are a lot more things in our table for the near future:
Snooze Lab expansion: Snooze Lab is one of our favourite features and it’s clear from the feedback we get that a lot of our users love it. We constantly update it with new facts and everyday tips that can make your sleep routine a bit better and we’ve found out that users find it especially useful. In our plans for the near future is turning it into a fully personalised tool, assessing more available data (such as the ones coming from HealthKit) and providing, in collaboration with sleep experts, of tailored advice regarding sleep health.
Sleep tracking improvement: Proper and accurate sleep tracking is an absolute priority for us and we keep improving and fine-tuning our algorithm in every iteration. User feedback has been extremely valuable in that respect and we will be continuously releasing small (and probably silent) updates in order to better support certain cases such as memory mattresses and CPAP devices.
HealthKit: As we explained above we have already taken the first step in HealthKit integration, but we certainly have a few thins in store. So, one of the first things to come is the separation of “Time in Bed” and “Time Asleep” in the data sent to the Apple’s Health app. It’s a popular request from the users, although it presents certain challenges in the technical level. Still, we feel confident that the respective update will hit the store by the middle of December.
Localisation: We envision to bring support for more languages to Pillow, making it more accessible to people without knowledge of English. Due to the fact the the content of the app (and especially that of the Snooze Lab) is large, we expect to gradually start rolling out new languages at the beginning of 2015, incorporating certain major European and Asian languages.
Celebrating our new update, we are releasing Pillow Premium (offered as an in-app purchase) at a 40% discount and now costs only $2.99 for a very limited time! The download and basic use of the app remains free of course.
As always we would very much like you to try Pillow and send us your feedback, positive or negative. Your opinions and remarks are massively helping us to build a better app.
1 The quotes are in place deliberately since taming iCloud from a developer’s perspective is a true nightmare, but that’s an issue for another post.