A regular bedtime, no technology before bed, no caffeine after 5:00 pm – if you ever had trouble sleeping you probably heard all of these.
Some people fall into bed and never move until the alarm goes off. Most flip-flop for 20
minutes until their “nest” is made.
The less fortunate, for reasons unknown, never seem to be able to sleep for more than 3 hours.
If you have trouble falling asleep at night, or staying asleep for more than a couple of hours.
We got it, but we forget to flaunt it
It’s the 21 st century and technology has crept into every aspect of our lives. Not a day goes by that you don’t hear some holier-than- thou preach about how technology is ruining our lives.
Yet, somehow, we still manage to oversee so many ways it can change our lives for the good. To be
blunt, that’s especially true for the senior generations. We all know that one grandparent that ready to
pop a handful of sleeping pills but they shrug off anything they can’t relate to – like a sleep light or white noise machine.
Today we look into ways technology can help us in the all-important quest for better sleep.
Light and Sleep Patterns
Sleep patterns are most commonly shaped by light. It’s called our “circadian rhythm” and affects the
amount of melatonin your body produces. If you are reading this article, then you know what melatoninis and have probably tried supplements to help you sleep. Speculation is that the light from our phones, iPads, or TVs are what delay our ability to drift off to sleep.
To aid sleep at night, you can use a wake-up light. Of course, your bedroom needs to be fairly dark for this to work, but the idea is that light dimming during the evening and gradually brightening in the
morning hours will produce a more regular, predictable circadian rhythm.
There are models that plug into your phone, allowing you to program them to your schedule. Some of
the wake-up lights even uses essential oils to encourage restful sleep.
Along the same line is a sleep mask that controls light saturation. A sleep mask will also monitor your major and minor movements, pulse, and brain waves. It is said to help combat jet lag and to promote the ability to take a power nap, as well. As it measures your brain waves, it determines when your
lightest phase of sleep occurs and wakes you during that time, if you are just napping. This reduces
Cool down or heat up
Another major factor in a good night’s sleep is temperature. Some people can’t sleep until they are nice and warm, all covered up and weighted down with blankets and quilts. Others simply can’t sleep if they are too hot. Many people regulate their body temperature during the night with “monster bait” – a foot sticking out from under the covers.
There are, of course, wonderful gadgets that will help you control your sleeping temperature. For those who can’t sleep because they are too hot, there are gel cooling pads. Available with and without
circulation pumps, these pads wick heat away from the body, keeping you cool as you sleep. The best
cooling mattress pad models use water or air to cool your mattress down.
The more traditional cooling pads ones rely on the breathability of the material to dissipate heat away
from your body.
Whatever the case, you never have to wake up sweaty again.
One of the problems many face is the rough demands of the morning. Yes, coffee is often a lure to get
people out of bed, but the actual act of waking up is often insurmountable.
Enter the gentle alarms. We’ve already mentioned the use of light to gradually ease your body into, well, awakeness. To make the process less traumatic, there are devices that wake you during the lightest phase of sleep.
A good example is the wearable alarms and sleep trackers. It is usually a bracelet you wear that’s bit less bulky than a sleep mask. It monitors your sleep and will vibrate at the best time within 30 minutes of your alarm, helping you to awaken easily.
Music and Meditation
To get to sleep at night, you might consider music and meditation. There is an apps that provide you
with guided meditation and mindfulness that will help you drift off. Of course, it means you are using a screen at bedtime, but the offset may be more restful sleep.
Music is another panacea for the restless mind. The Sound Asleep Pillow is an ingenious invention that is a combination pillow and speaker. You can plug your phone into it, and listen to soft (pun intended) music all night without wearing headphones or ear buds. This fairly inexpensive solution will stream soft,restful sounds that can lull you back to sleep during your restless periods. It’s also great for people who have tinnitus and need masking sounds for peace and relaxation.
Gadgets that Don’t Touch You
Some people can’t even wear earplugs. If the idea of a mask, bracelet, or electrode touching your bodyoogs you out, try the iFit Sleep HR.
It’s a gadget that slides under your mattress, so IT NEVER TOUCHES YOU! It will track your heart rate,movements, and breathing, analyzing all of your different stages of sleep. In the morning, you can seeat what times of the night you entered light sleep, deep sleep, and REM. With this information, it may be possible to craft your sleep experience to be more successful. There is also an option with this device, as with some of the others, to have it wake you up during the lightest phase of sleep. This means you will have a “time frame” for getting up in the morning, rather than a set time, so plan accordingly.
If you are one of the millions of people who don’t rest enough at night, try out a few of these gadgets,
and let us know if they work for you.
Gadgets like the one above were created to make our lives easier. Use them.