3 Ways Technology is Revolutionising the Way We Sleep
Technology has permeated our every waking moment. The next frontier? The Land of Nod.
Sleep apps have gained a lot of traction in recent years, and now we’ve branched out further to wearables and smart devices.
These digital wonders promise to improve our health by monitoring how well we sleep, deliver sounds or prompts to help us drift off or wake up, and regulate our temperature.
Here, we’ll cover some of the best sleep technology around.
Sleep tracking apps
One of the earliest forms of sleep technology, sleep apps became hugely popular as smartphones grew more intelligent in the late noughties and early 2010s. These apps assess our sleep by monitoring our movements and noises, giving us an assessment of our snooze when we wake up. You can also enter additional factors that could impact your sleep, such as how stressed you’ve felt and if you’ve drank caffeine during the day.
Some apps come with additional functions, like the ability to set an alarm that wakes you up in your lightest phase of sleep – the idea being that you’ll be less groggy because you’re closer to a state of wakefulness. Now, sleep apps are available on smart watches as well as phones.
The jury is out on how effective sleep apps are. Some experts state that identifying issues with your sleep, like waking frequently or snoring a lot, can help you address them. Others, however, argue that these assessments – which come with limited-at-best options to improve your sleep – just cause anxiety and frustration, which can further detriment sleep. These apps certainly shouldn’t be relied on.
Body clock alarms
Our morning foe, the humble alarm clock, has received quite an upgrade in the last few years. Evolving from simple, mechanical analogue clocks to screechy digital versions and those embedded into radios, the next step is body clock alarms.
These alarm clocks will not only use noise to wake you up, but they’ll also use light. It’s well-established that daylight tells our brains that it’s time to wake up, so going outside quickly after waking up can make you feel more alert. But in the long winter months, we can’t always do that. Many of us will be starting work just as the sun starts to peek over the horizon.
Light-up alarm clocks mimic natural daylight, which stimulates our brain in a similar way. While they’re less studied than the effects of real sunlight, the studies conducted have shown they’re beneficial. So if you struggle to wake up in the winter, it might be time to invest in a body alarm clock.
Some of us need complete silence to be able to sleep soundly. Others doze off to white noise sounds such as the buzz of a fan, the plink-plunk of rain, or relaxing ocean sounds. Others find soothing music helpful when it comes to slipping seamlessly into sleep.
If you need some sort of noise to go to sleep, you’re spoilt for choice. Old-school fans are only needed for keeping you cool these days because you can mimic their sounds now. Perfect for those who need that familiar hum even in the winter. Many sleep apps come with a range of sleep-inducing sounds, which you can listen to on your phone, headphones, or through connected speakers. Standalone devices that you put on your nightstand are another option.
You can also get headbands that play soothing sounds as you sleep – in options that cover your ears or those that don’t. Techy sleep masks can also come with built-in speakers to let you block out light and listen to your favourite sleep sounds at the same time. Not a fan of wearables that might slip off or be uncomfortable through the night? Not a problem – you can get a pillow that plays gentle sounds to ease you to sleep!
Tech has improved various aspects of life, and now it’s turned its attention to enhancing our shuteye. So now that you’ve perfected your pre-bedtime routine by having a warm shower, applying your skincare, and packing your shoulder bag for work ahead of the next day, it’s time to enhance your sleeping routine. Whether you occasionally monitor your sleep with an app, wake up to a light that mimics natural daylight, or get a gadget that plays your favourite sleep sounds, you can hack your sleep with digital devices.