How we sleep at night can often dictate the quality of the next day. If we are sleep deprived, we have a reduced ability to respond well to stressful circumstances. Sustained sleep loss can also affect a person’s physical health, making them more vulnerable to things such as diabetes. Our lifespan will also be adversely affected if we have consistently poor sleeping patterns.
Getting to sleep can be easier said than done, however. During the COVID pandemic, research has shown that over half of the UK has experienced issues as a result. Modern technology offers solutions to many areas of our lives, and this, fortunately, applies to our sleep too. We’ll now look at four innovations that help people get to sleep and stay there.
No matter how comfy a bed is, it will be hard getting to sleep if the room is like a kiln or a fridge. There are a number of different appliances people use such as swamp coolers, standalone room heaters, or cooling and heating bed pads. It is possible for a temperature regulator to help people experiencing night sweats (e.g. through the Menopause), body chills, or a lack of air circulation. Some high-tech fans can be placed at the end of the bed to provide an airflow that ranges from cool to hot. There are even fans that will do this for one person only, or for both occupants in a double bed.
Sleep Tracking Apps
It is obvious that not everyone can afford a bedside EEG unit to monitor their brain waves!. Fortunately, there are many phone apps that can gather an impressive array of information. These days they don’t just have an alarm and snooze button; they can also determine the best time a person should wake up.
Modern apps can track both our wakefulness and our sleeping. They can remind us to take exercise during the day. This is key because we will always sleep better if we are physically tired. Sleep tech can record a person’s heart rate and the number of breaths per minute. Even our body movement can be included in the equation.
The most impressive apps connect to other apps! One could note the time and someone’s sleeping pattern. It would then advise the light and/or heating app to make the necessary adjustments to the room.
These are growing in popularity exponentially. If there are annoying background noises to be heard in the bedroom, some will emit constant white noise. This will be a low-key soothing sound that will help the person to sleep and stay asleep. Many of these apps provide sleep advice and relaxation scripts, too.
Some people like to nod off to ambient music or the sound of a clock ticking. Others like the sound of the waves at the seashore. When familiar and comforting sounds play in the background, people feel both safe and relaxed.
At the top of the range, some apps connect to wearable technology. We’ll discuss this next.
One person may wear noise-canceling headphones and another those that play a soundtrack during the night.
Some headphones monitor a person’s brain waves, whilst others may run a course on CBT. Cognitive Based Therapy helps people identify negative thoughts and to replace them with positive ones. In turn, this helps people react to things better and to experience improved sleep.
Some headphones create audio pulses to help a person’s sleeping pattern. They encourage folk to sleep lighter or deeper at specific moments. Once again, the high-tech versions can talk to the room thermostats via a connected app.
Another person may decide (or it could be decided for them!) to wear a snoring mask. These products can detect when a person starts snoring and can encourage them to move their physical position.
Fitbits are massively popular too. They may include audio guides on the subject of sleep. They may record a person’s blood-oxygen saturation levels. Fans of exercise also use their many functions for daytime sports activities.
People can even wear sleep shirts containing a small chip in the pocket. Their self-powered sensors note the wearer’s heart and breathing rates and also their posture. They can also discern whether someone is in a state of light or deep sleep. REM sleep is when we dream, and these devices will know when this is occurring!
It’s encouraging for insomniacs to know that technology can help. This can range from controlling the warmth and light in a room, to apps that track our sleep and help us relax. We can even wear sleeping devices that will work while we snooze.