We know that sleep plays a significant role in our well-being and overall health. Unless we’re switching between time zones or pulling all-nighters, our body’s internal clocks — also known as our circadian rhythm — tell us when it’s time to go to sleep and wake up in the morning. However, a range of environmental cues can impact your sleep cycle, making it a challenge for many of us to maintain consistent, quality sleep.
Thankfully, there are some ways you can use technology to make the task of falling (and staying) asleep less daunting. Let’s explore the different technologies you can try to optimise your sleep and feel well-rested every day of the week.
Lighting can play a key role in how easy it is to fall asleep, stay asleep, and when you wake up in the morning. The amount of light our bodies are exposed to is the predominant influence of circadian rhythms. For example, white tuning light offers benefits to those looking to improve their sleep. Try using white tuning bulbs to help you get your sleep schedule back on track.
Additionally, there are many types of lights on the market that will set the tone of the light based on time of day. In other words, when it’s time to wake up in the morning, the light will simulate a sunrise, and a sunset for when it’s time to wind down for the night.
Sleep management apps for smartphones
Both the Google Play store and the iOS App Store are chock full of sleep management apps for you to try that can tell you the amount (and quality) of sleep you’re getting, or allow you to listen to white noise or ambient sounds. Many are free to download with optional in-app purchases available. Here are some of our favourites:
- Sleep Cycle: This autonomous sleep cycle tracker uses machine learning algorithms to analyse your sleep and what sleep cycle you’re in throughout the night. It can also sense when you’re sleeping the lightest and wake you up with an alarm, which can help you feel less groggy in the morning.
- Solar Clock: Circadian Rhythm: This app syncs the solar time with your local time and will alert you when a circadian event is beginning, so you know when it’s the best time to go to sleep. Solar Clock is especially useful for travellers experiencing jet lag.
- Pillow: The Pillow app works with iPhones and Apple Watches to help you gain insight into your sleeping habits. Like Sleep Cycle, Pillow will track when you’re in the lightest sleep and wake you up according to that period.
- SleepScore: SleepScore offers advanced, detailed sleep analytics and science-backed sleep advice to help you reset your circadian rhythm.
- Rise: Users on Rise can understand their sleep debt and their circadian rhythm so they can learn how to improve their sleep habits. According to the app’s website, more than 80% of users feel the benefits of improved sleep within five days of using Rise.
Wearables in general are on the rise, especially in health care settings. They can be used for remote patient monitoring to keep a close eye on certain conditions — and sleep wearables devices may help improve your sleeping habits:
- Muse S Headband: The Muse S Headband is a wearable device that helps with sleep and meditation. The headband uses advanced EEG technology to monitor brain waves and help you find the best sleep position for you. It also has an app that works on smartphones so you can review your sleep score and gather insights about your sleep.
- Cove: This wearable device is helping people achieve more restful sleep by modulating the region of the brain that controls emotional responses. Users can also feel a change in the resiliency to stress and achieve a more relaxed state.
- Dream On Sleep Aid: The DreamOn wearable is a small device you wear on your wrist and emits certain stimuli to train your brain to emit theta waves, which help you drift off into a sleep state. Those who have used DreamOn report sleeping longer and waking up more refreshed.
- QuietOn Earbuds: QuietOn Earbuds use active noise cancellation (ANC) and passive noise reduction to provide you the perfect, silent environment to fall asleep in.