Health

Technology to help you sleep

Do you have problems going to sleep or waking up? Maybe you work silly shift hours which sometimes require you to sleep all day and work at night or wake up really early!

Sleep technology and NMTBP to the rescue

Wake-Up Light

This device is made by Philips and it’s called the Wake-Up Light. You set a time that you want to wake up and it will gradually brighten with simulated sunlight. This allows your body to wake up naturally, rather than jolting you awake like most alarms

The lamp has other features such as playing soothing sounds to help you wake up and of course, it can also be used as a regular lamp and radio. It uses a replaceable halogen bulb

There’s also a Sunset function that helps you fall asleep by gradually decreasing light and sound

If you don’t have strange work hours, you might not need it. But if you fancy one anyway it’ll set you back a fairly hefty £75 price tag for the full monty or £55 for sunrise only

The Lark

Next up is the Lark. This little device is great for couples where each partner has to wake up at different times (or for the hearing-impaired). The Lark is a wristband with a built-in clock. You set an alarm time and it vibrates to wake you up. This way, it only wakes up the person wearing the wristband

The Lark is controlled using your smartphone, and if you get the Lark Pro, it will track your sleep schedule and offer recommendations. The Lark is £70

Let’s say you don’t want a £75 lamp or a £75 wristband to help you sleep and wake peacefully, but what about a $0.99 app?

Sleep Cycle

There’s a terrific app for the iPhone called Sleep Cycle and SleepBot for Android. This app tracks your sleep cycle throughout the night using the motion sensors on your phone. As you sleep, your body naturally goes between light sleep and deep sleep (or REM sleep)

While you’re in deep sleep, your body doesn’t move a whole lot. However, during light sleep you tend to move a lot more. Before you go to sleep you set your alarm and accelerometers will pick up and track your movement and then determine the optimal time to wake you up

The only thing that’s clunky about this app is that it requires you to keep your phone on your bed. If you knock your phone off the bed, it has no way to track your sleep patterns. Other than that it’s pretty awesome in how well it works. You can even see a graph of your sleep on a particular night and compare it to other nights

This function could be pretty useful if you notice a disruption in your sleep at a particular hour every night that you may not remember or know about

Bedtime + Screens = Bad Sleep

Ironically, technology isn’t always good for your sleep. In fact, the number one tech tip for sleeping well is: Don’t use your screen at least 15 minutes before you go to bed. That’s right, this tech tip involves you not using tech!

The artificial light from whatever device you use has been shown to disrupt the melatonin levels which are what help to regulate your sleep. Often people who use their screens right before bed have a harder time going to sleep, and may not sleep as well throughout the night

In summary here are 4 tips for getting a better night’s sleep and waking up rested:

1 - Check out the Phillip’s Wake-Up Light if you want to wake up easily with simulated sunlight

2 - If you have to wake up a lot earlier than your significant other, try out the Lark wristband, which vibrates to wake you quietly

3 - If you want to track your sleep patterns, try the Sleep Cycle or SleepBot apps on your smartphone. They use the phone’s built in accelerometers to track your sleep

4 - If you have a hard time getting to sleep, try taking a break from your device for 15-30 minutes before you go to bed

Happy zzzzzzz!

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