We have the technology to help with almost everything these days, and sleep is no exception. Sleep may be a natural biological function, but many people struggle to get a full seven to nine hours. The human body needs certain conditions for healthy sleep, and some technology aids your way to dreamland by enhancing these conditions. Others help assess the nature of your sleep cycle and suggest ways you can sleep better. We’ve got the rundown of your options in case you’re looking for a piece of tech to help you get some ZZZs.
The Basics of Sleep
You may be unconscious while you sleep, but there’s a complex process going on inside your body. The brain cleanses itself, muscles heal, and the immune system recharges and redistributes the antibodies necessary to keep you healthy. But, to achieve all of that, the body needs the right conditions.
Cool: Your body temperature drops at the onset of sleep. It doesn’t reach your normal temperature again until it’s time to wake up. In support of that need, many people sleep better in a cool room that’s somewhere between 60 to 68 degrees.
Dark: Light, especially bright blue spectrum light, suppresses sleep hormones. Moonlight, street lamps, and even power indicator lights on electronic devices can be enough to disrupt sleep.
Quiet: Noisy neighbors and passing cars are enough to pull you out of sleep, especially when you’re still in the light sleep stages.
Comfortable: The body needs to fully relax for sleep to take hold. A comfortable mattress that supports your weight and accommodates your preferred sleep position prevents aches, pains, and nighttime wakefulness.
Technological Sleep Aids
Getting Temperature Right
Maintaining the right body temperature helps keep you asleep. The Eight Sleep Pod system includes technology within a mattress that monitors heart rate and body temperature. It then makes temperature adjustments based on that information. It independently monitors each side of the mattress so couples can each have the temperature adjusted according to their specific needs. Non-wearable sleep tracker systems like the Withings Sleep Pad analyzes your sleep cycle so you can see where sleep problems begin.
The bedroom should be as dark as possible. However, all that darkness can be disorienting once it’s time to wake up. Alarm clocks that simulate the rising Sun gently wake you out of your sleep cycle. Even before your alarm has sounded, the light makes it through your closed eyelids, preparing your body to wake up.
Sounds of Silence
Whether it’s a spouse who leaves early or neighbors who turn up the volume at mid-night, too much noise can make it tough to sleep. White noise contains all sound frequencies, which allows it to dampen or block out the frequencies it contains. White noise apps and machines can help you get the rest you need despite what’s happening elsewhere. Many offer a choice of sounds, including rushing water, hairdryers, dishwashers, and airplane noises.
Fitness trackers like various FitBit models and smartwatches monitor your heart rate and movement while you sleep. They may not help you sleep better, but they can give you a picture of what’s happening during your sleep cycle. Other types of monitors like the Lookee Ring Sleep Monitor vibrate or otherwise encourage sleepers to change sleep positions when they begin to snore.
If poor sleep plagues you, there are a number of devices you can use to fight your specific sleep issues. Above all, keep the bedroom cool, dark, and quiet and make sure you’re spending enough time in bed so that you’re asleep for at least seven hours.