Enron. Lehman Brothers. The captain of the Titanic. Rick Perry the night of the Republican Debate. Perhaps some of the greatest embarrassments, bad decisions and downright debacles of our time could have been avoided if only the men and women at the helm had not been up late the night before. According to Arianna Huffington, it’s time we all realize our true creative and productive capacities by doing what may seem counterintuitive—shutting down, turning off and going to bed.
Arianna’s sleep fanaticism began after an experience where she passed out from exhaustion at work, causing her to break her chin and need several stitches above her eye. Since then she has been preaching her own version of the gospel — the gospel of sleep. And it isn’t just her shtick — even the former leader of the free world, President Bill Clinton, famously said, “Every important mistake I’ve made in my life, I’ve made because I was too tired.”
So now that I’ve sufficiently scared you into believing me, the question is what can be done? Answer … There’s an app for that. You, sleep-deprived person— meet Lark.
Despite the irony of suggesting a mobile app to cure a problem that is certainly exacerbated, if not largely caused, by our increasing attachment to mobile devices, Lark is just that—a mobile app and online program that promises to improve your sleeping habits with a personalized sleep system. It starts by assessing your sleep for seven days through a monitoring device worn on the wrist. It then uses that information captured by the “wrist pajamas” (no, I did not make that up) to unveil your “sleep type” and provide customized feedback from a sleep coach that promises to help you get the most out of your time between the sheets.
The most appealing of the “LarkUp” app’s three main features for me is the silent alarm, which claims to wake you from sleep “silently and gently” with “soothing vibrations,” even claiming that it will somehow cause you to hit the snooze button less. Also, for those who share their bed with someone besides their iPhone, the silent alarm promises to “wake you and only you” allowing your partner to sleep their way to success, uninterrupted. While I’m unsure how many people will find the value in spending nearly $160 for a more natural wake-up call, perhaps if Henry, Emanuel and Mayer Lehman hadn’t been dozing off at their computers we may have avoided this whole global financial crisis thing. Maybe they should put that on the box.
What I am more sure of, however, is that if sleep equals success, Lark founder Julia Hu is certainly getting her shut eye. While Hu’s original pitch, made at TechCrunch Disrupt 2010, attracted zero investment and was met with a lot of reactions along the lines of – “are you serious?”, her Lark sleep system is now available in every Apple store globally as well as on the shelves of Best Buy’s around the country and has garnered her coverage from the White House, a partnership with the National Sleep Foundation and perhaps somewhat predictably, a recurring guest bloggership with the Huffington Post.
Now stop reading, put on your “wrist pajamas” and go to sleep.