How technology can help (and hurt) your sleep

Does the COVID-19 epidemic disturb your sleep? Learn how to track sleep and change your habits, especially those around screened devices, which can help you get more attractive throughout the week.

Last year, I started wearing a regular bedtime fitness tracker. I’m curious about my data and sleep charts. Are they accurate? What time do I go into a deep sleep cycle? After analyzing the results, I noticed a pattern that helped me change my habits, and thanks to that I was able to sleep more than two hours per week than before. I’ll explain how to do it in a moment.

How Technology Can Help (and Hurt) Your Sleep
How Technology Can Help (and Hurt) Your Sleep

I should mention that I work remotely and have had several years. That means I don’t have a regular morning work schedule and I have some flexibility in my schedule. (However, I do have dogs for a walk every morning, so 30 I can stay in bed all day.) If you are working from home unexpectedly during the new coronavirus epidemic, you may find that your natural sleep cycle is disturbed both by new shelters that disrupt your routine and by stress. However, you may also find that you can be more flexible in your schedule and therefore focus on regulating your sleep.

Sleep and technology do not have the best reputation. Blue light from the screen mimics natural sunlight and can leave us unable to sleep. It does this by tricking the body into blocking melatonin production. When the sun rises, we do not produce melatonin, one of the stimulants that help put us to sleep. Some people are more strongly influenced by blue light at night than others.

If you leave your smartphone by the bedside and do not set the do not disturb mode, the buzz notifications can wake you up unexpectedly. In addition, the busy working culture and the flood of information from social networks and the internet can create more anxiety, affecting the quality of sleep.

Not all technology is not good for sleep. Technology products to improve sleep can lead to more sleep and more quality. In order for these technologies to be useful, you need to know a little about what works and doesn’t work when it comes to changing sleep patterns.

How I get more sleep every week
Last year, I started wearing Fitbit Charge 3 at bedtime. Usually, I remove my tracking device and watch before I go to bed, but it’s been a long time since I’ve collected my sleep data.

Charge 3 not only tracks the number of hours and minutes I spend in bed but also how long I sleep. Honestly, I don’t believe the Fitbit numbers are highly accurate, but I believe they are consistent. So if one night I sleep for seven hours and the other night I sleep for six and a half hours, I believe that one night I sleep more and less than one night, regardless of the rough figure.

Here’s the pattern I noticed: When I go to bed before 10 pm, I sleep significantly more (at least 20 minutes, but sometimes an hour) than the nights I stay up more than 10 pm, whenever I stay up late, there always seems to be something that captures my attention until at least 10:30. I never go to bed at 10:05 or 10:10. It is before 10 hours or after 10 hours 30 minutes. Now that I’ve noticed this pattern, I have clear reasons to hit the grass a little earlier.

Over the course of a week, an additional 20 minutes per night will add about two hours of sleep. That’s a huge difference.

When is your sleep window?
The total duration of a person’s sleep depends on the individual. The time they can fall asleep and when the body is ready to wake up is also up to each person. For example, I have no problem going to bed before 10 pm. and fell asleep within minutes. Some people find it very difficult to get out so early. Plus, when we sleep and wake up and the total number of hours we need to sleep changes as we get older.

For example, teenagers stay up late than any other demographic. They sleep longer than most adults. Sometimes in their 20s, most people’s sleep window changes. They start needing to go to bed earlier, and they do not sleep longer. As a teenager, you can go to bed at 1 am and need to sleep 10 hours. When you grow up in your early 30s, you can sleep at 11 p.m. and just 7 hours. These behaviors have nothing to do with adolescents’ actions and everything related to their age.

Listen to our internal clock
Chronobiology is the study of internal clocks. Nearly all life forms have several types of clocks inside synchronized with the 24-hour cycle of light and darkness on Earth. The morning dawn does not bloom at midnight and most adults (when they have not had too much artificial impact on their inner clock) have difficulty sleeping at 3 pm.

Biological time is a fascinating thing and I’m simplifying it excessively. Just know when and how long you sleep affects the cells in your body, not just the habit you choose. You can see it in this common dilemma: You want to sleep more. You can read the advice that goes to bed earlier and adhere to a consistent bedtime. However, when you go to bed earlier, you can not sleep at that time. Not everyone has that reaction, but some do.

Block blue light, but also get more sunlight
Part of the problem is that you might be trying to sleep for an hour when the clock inside your body thinks it’s time to wake up. However, another possibility — and these are not mutually exclusions —is that you have an impact that makes the clock inside your body slower than usual.

Exposure to blue light in the evening can affect your watch in this way. However, equally important, the lack of natural light during the day can also affect your internal clock. So to make sure your watch works well with nature, you may have to limit blue light at night as well as exposure to sunlight during the day.

How do you prevent blue light? It’s easier than ever.

One thing you can do is buy glasses that block blue light. Also, on many devices, you can turn on the blue light filter setting without having to buy a special screen or glass vising. For example, in iOS and macOS, look for a setting called Night Shift. If you use Android, your options depend on the operating system version and the hardware you’re using. Find a setting called Blue Light Filter. If you do not have it or use another operating system, this article on how to block the blue light has more detailed instructions and advice.

Turning to sunlight, what have you done to increase your exposure to natural light during the day? According to the book Internal Time: Chronotypes, Social Jet Lag, and Why You’re So Tired (by Till Roenneberg, 2012), spending two hours or more outdoors every day can help people sleep up to an hour more at night. “Instead of being afraid of light at night, we should pay more attention to the fact that we, as industrialized organisms, come into contact with too little light during the day,” Roenneberg said.

Although you can buy table lamps that reproduce sunlight, experts recommend using the lamp only under the guidance of a time bios next to ensure you receive the right amount of light at the right time of day. Otherwise, try to go outdoors more. Even on a cloudy day, you will be exposed to more natural light than when you are indoors. If you can walk or bike in a part of the way to work or go out during a break, then exposure to light can very well help you fall asleep at the right time of night.

What else affects your ability to sleep well?
What else can affect your ability to get enough sleep and goodness?

The sleeping environment is one. The environment in this context means room temperature, noise, darkness level, and other physical factors.

Sleeping equipment often refers to beds, pillows, blankets, and bed linen. How can you sleep well if they are uncomfortable?

Caffeine, like many other factors that affect sleep, affects some people more than others. Keep in mind that caffeine can accumulate in some sneaky places, such as over-the-line drugs. Two Bayer Back & Body tablets contain the same amount of caffeine as an espresso (about 65mg). A Complete Midol contains 60mg of caffeine.

Alcohol makes people sleepy, doesn’t it? Although possible, it is also capable of disrupting sleep, causing people to wake up at night or early in the morning than they want.

Exercise, diet, body temperature, pain/aches, stress, and allergies can also affect sleep. Changing some of these factors requires a long-term commitment. Using a top fitness app can be helpful and you can also consider a meditation app to help reduce stress. There is a home remedy is to soak your feet in a hot tub before bedtime so that the body has a cooling down effect; although at least one study has shown that it doesn’t make a difference.

Good night, friends!
When people ask me how well I sleep, I sometimes joke: “Conscience is clear.” Strictly speaking, much of it belongs to college. There are things we can do to better listen to our age and prevent it from being tripped up by the modern world. Blocking blue light at night also helps to be exposed to sunlight during the day. Creating a comfortable sleeping environment with a good sleeping device also helps. Exercise and overall health and wellness also play an important role.

If you can track your sleep, analyze data, and make some adjustments, you can figure out how to sleep a little more right for you.

Some of the information in this article comes from previous conversations with Professor Martha Merrow, Director of the Institute of Medical Psychology at Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich; Professor Till Roenneberg also belongs to the Institute of Medical Psychology at Ludwig Maximilian University; and Dr. Robert Oexman, director of the Sleep to Live Institute.

Written by Im Fox


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