August 20, 2012, Updated September 28, 2012

You probably have a best friend, uncle or cousin who’s one –– maybe even a spouse, too. For the 80 percent of people who are in denial over their nighttime chainsaw snoring, Israeli techies have an app to show how bad the situation is.

Snoring U is a $5 application you can download from the Internet for your smartphone or tablet. The app won’t only monitor your snoring lows and highs during the night; it will record them for playback, and give you an electronic nudge by vibration or prerecorded sound if the snoring gets out of hand.

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All fun aside, the creators of Snoring U hope to change the way people sleep, not only by reminding them to roll over or change position, but also by providing a detailed readout of their night’s sleep that can be handed over to a doctor or sleep lab to interpret.

Built by a sleep specialist physician, a high-tech engineer and a seasoned telecom businessman, Snoring U was only created in the beginning of 2012 but has already enjoyed 100,000 downloads despite having no formal advertising in place.

The app is getting passed on by word of mouth — or snore of nose, says Avshalom Ben-Zoor, who is on the business side of Snoring U as the CEO of Personal Technologies-Health Monitoring. He plans for this to be the first in a line of apps that will revolutionize the way people sleep.

As far as he knows, snoring is curable in one way or another –– through changing positions, using pillows or undergoing medical treatment. Knowing that one snores, and just how badly, is the first step in getting the right treatment, he tells ISRAEL21c.

Built by snorers, for snorers

The idea for a snoring alert app began with Ilan Aisic, a computer engineer and admitted snorer.

“The idea came to Ilan one night while he was sleeping,” says Ben-Zoor. “He was snoring, and it was bothering his wife so much that she was waking up a couple of times every night asking him to move and change position. He then came up with the idea that he could invent something for the mobile phone. That was how it started, and now we have the technology to help identify sleep disorders in general, as well as coughing and wheezing.”

The diagnostic power of the app is thanks to Dr. Naveh Tov, a specialist in internal pulmonary and sleep medicine at the Bnei Zion Hospital in Haifa. By incorporating the medical parameters a doctor would need to see in order to treat a patient, the trio was able to build a smart application that pretty much provides a small and powerful mobile sleep clinic in the palm of one’s hands – or better, on the nightstand beside the bed.

The device needs to be turned on and sitting no more than one meter from the snorer’s head, with the app opened (you can set your phone to airplane mode if you are worried about the cellular radiation nearby). It will begin to look for patterns in the user’s sleep, indicated by noises such as snoring. Able to filter out a second snorer in the room, the app can be set to be as sensitive as one wishes.

Wake up to reality

After listening to playback, “Many people don’t believe what they hear,” says Ben-Zoor. “About 80 percent of the population of snorers are in denial.”

The app won’t cure your snoring, cautions Ben-Zoor, but it will provide all the summaries and reports necessary for a deeper analysis. “It really helps you identify what treatment is best for you, and it provides a cost-affordable sleep lab for the home, and one that can be used on a continuous basis.”

At the very least, the app can help your partner sleep better. If set to the right sensitivity, it can wake you up before your snoring wakes up the person next to you. Some users report that they are able to get a better night’s sleep after the snoring alerts wake them up. A free version of the app, Sleeping U, just records snoring activity without providing the wake-up nudge.

Since the company is self-funded, the founders don’t yet have the capital to take the software through rigorous US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) procedures for medical devices, but the idea is definitely on the table. Snoring U could theoretically incorporate other kinds of sleeping measurements like heart rate, with an adaptable chest strap; or movement, which could be monitored with a gyroscope. The company now seeks a $2 million investment to roll out its products to the international marketplace.

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Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director