How can technology be used to improve sleep quality?

How can technology be used to improve sleep quality?

Getting good quality sleep is vital for protecting physical and mental wellbeing. Unfortunately, an estimated 50 to 60 million adults in the US experience sleep disturbances or sleep illnesses, such as insomnia and sleep apnea. Many of us need a little helping hand in getting a good night’s rest, and luckily there are lots of ways that modern technology can support great sleep. Here are three ways that you can use tech to improve your sleep quality.

1. Night mode on screens to reduce artificial light exposure

Artificial light emitted from phone, tablet and laptop screens can suppress the body’s natural sleep cycle. It seems to do this by suppressing the production of melatonin, the hormone that helps us to fall asleep. Since we rely on our electronic devices so readily, it’s common to be staring at the bright, blue light from our screens right up until we turn out the light and try to fall asleep. Then, we find ourselves struggling to drift off.

Luckily, many devices now have night modes which reduce the brightness and warm up the tone of the light emitted from the screen to avoid interrupting the natural sleep cycle. You can either turn this on a couple of hours before you go to sleep, or you can set it up via a timer so that the device automatically switches to night mode at the same time every evening.

2. Meditation apps can support long-term sleep improvements

Stress and anxiety are major contributing factors to sleep disturbances. Meditation works to slow breathing, reduce stress hormones, and root us in the present moment to stop us worrying about the past or future. In doing so, it helps us feel more relaxed in order that we’re more likely to get good sleep. Research has found that people experience better sleep quality for up to one year after participating in a meditation program.

Meditation apps make it simpler than ever to reap the benefits of meditation practice. They allow you to easily follow guided meditations and gradually build up your ability to reach a clear headspace, breathe deeply, and achieve a calm, relaxed state. Plus, many of them allow you to set up reminders to complete daily meditations.

3. Peaceful sleep soundscapes can aid relaxation

Our phones, tablets and smart speakers give us access to a huge library of peaceful sounds that can help us to relax and drift off to sleep. Although it can be hard to fall asleep in noisy environments, some people find that total silence is even worse because every tiny sound is more disturbing in the quiet. Steady, gentle sounds like white noise, the sound of rainfall, or the clicking sound of cicadas can help to mask noise disturbances and lull us to sleep.

There are lots of apps available specifically for streaming sleep sounds. Many of them also have customisable settings so you can set the sound to switch off after a set period of time. Some also let you set up an uplifting sound to gently rouse you from sleep in the morning in place of an intrusive alarm.

Take advantage of great tech to get great sleep

With so much fantastic technology at our fingertips, it’s easier than ever to find solutions to our sleep problems. If you’re having trouble drifting off, be sure to try the three tactics above and see how much they improve your beauty sleep.

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