Start-up uses biometrics to tailor music for good night’s sleep

A baby falling back to sleep at 2 am to a gentle lullaby may convince its parents that music can induce sleep, but new compositions designed to help listeners relax sound rather different to Rock-a-bye Baby.

Boston-based start-up Sync Project uses biometrics to tailor music to your mood. Its Unwind app measures your heart beat via your smartphone’s accelerometer and uses these readings to tweak a relaxing ambient track by UK band Marconi Union. After listening, you take a brief survey. How relaxed do you feel?

“Music can be used for everyday wellness as well as for clinical applications,” says Sync Project co-founder Ketki Karanam. Relaxation and sleep was an obvious place to start. “We decided to start by focusing on relaxation as we felt that was one area where people were using music to calm themselves down or relax,” she says. And people with sleep conditions are often looking for drug-free ways to sleep better.

By Nicole Kobie, New Scientist

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