Junior develops app to aid healthy sleep

December 12, 2018 — by Connie Liang and Kevin Sze

When Junior Sidney Hough walked into her first-period English class a few months ago, she saw a familiar scene: Students dozing off and complaining about their lack of sleep due to various essays or last-minute studying for a math test.

It’s a common scene in first- and second-period classrooms, and the recurring pattern led Hough to design an app called Slumberbug.

Hough released her app Slumberbug to the iOS App Store on Nov. 27. Slumberbug, she said, is “an elegant and unique application that helps users stay on top of their sleep routines.”

Hough, however, highlights how Slumberbug’s function differs from other similar applications in that it tracks a daily energy level rather than setting strict bedtimes and wake times like many other solutions on the market.

When the energy level runs out, it is recommended that you go to sleep.

In this way, the aspect of meeting time-specific goals is reduced, allowing for users to focus on the more important task at hand: sleeping.

The app took her around two months to develop. Hough said she reused a lot of code from her submission to The Congressional App Challenge, which was essentially a “gamified” version of Slumberbug.

Hough admits that she herself is often distracted by her phone when she should be trying to go to sleep.

“What happens to me is in the middle of the night, I’ll go on my phone automatically and that stimulates the brain to blue light,” Hough said. “If there was a deterrent, I feel like people would get a lot better sleep and focus more on school.”

Her goal was for Slumberbug to offer flexible sleep management through a simplistic, easy-to-follow interface.

“It's OK to stay up late tonight to finish your work, for instance, as long as you take a nap tomorrow to catch up on that lost sleep,” the description reads. “As long as you are getting a sufficient amount of sleep every day, you shouldn't have to worry about running out of energy.”

Currently, Slumberbug is offered on the iOS App Store for free under the account name of Sidney’s dad, Geoffrey Hough, the reason being when Sidney first began creating and uploading apps in the summer before freshman year, she wasn’t old enough to register her own account. Ever since then, she has simply decided to keep all her apps under one username.

The first few of Hough’s apps were experimental because she wanted to get familiar with creating apps.

“I got kind of bored of them and I wanted to do something more serious that was actually designed for use as opposed to an experimental project,” Hough said.

For now, however, Slumberbug remains her most practical app. On Dec. 3, Hough updated Slumberbug to version 1.0.1 which included small performance improvements and introduces notifications.

Slumber Bug is currently available for iPhones and iPads with iOS11+.

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