Name of app: Sleep Time
How it works: Use it to avoid a cloudy wake-up. The app uses your phone's accelerometer to track how much you move as you sleep and then pulls you out of slumber when you're least groggy.
Good to know: By building a graph of your sleep patterns, the app lets you see how many REM cycles you've gone through in a given night. With these reports, it's easy to chart how efficiently you're sleeping, how likely you are to hit the snooze button on each day of the week and even how staying up late affects your sleep quality.
Doctor's note: Dr. Sam Friedlander, a University Hospitals sleep doctor, says that Sleep Time is useful for him and his patients because it helps establish good sleep hygiene. This requires establishing consistent sleep patterns. "They get reinforcement from [Sleep Time] about the things they are doing positively and also try to retrain the things they are doing negatively," he says.
How it works: As you run, it tells you your mile splits and stores them so you can track your progress and be realistic about your exercise.
Good to know: MapMyRun has a GPS calculator that allows users to find and create routes nearby.
Doctor's note: Dr. Peter Greco, a MetroHealth internal medicine doctor who runs 20 to 25 miles a week near his home, has been using MapMyRun since he got rid of his BlackBerry three years ago. "If you think you're going at a certain pace, but you're actually going at a slower pace, that's important to know," he says. "That could mess you up if you're trying to run a certain pace for a race or just for your health."
How it works: The app tracks what you eat from calories and fat to sugar. MyFitnessPal's database is extensive — if you eat it, you can track it.
Good to know: You can view colored pie charts that tell you what percentage of your food comes from carbs, fat and protein. Based on the information, a user's percentages are set to help reach individual fitness goals.
Doctor's note: Dr. Debra Anne DeJoseph, who specializes in internal medicine at University Hospitals, was a dietician before going to medical school. She says MyFitnessPal teaches users the basics of dietetics. "When people just record what they eat, without any other instructions, they lose weight and become more conscious of what they are doing," she says. "It's a little bit like a game."