Technology is changing every aspect of our lives. Even our most basic habits, such as sleep, are responding to the new world. In some cases, that’s a good thing. Sleeping is vital for good health, and technology has the potential to help us get what we need every night.
In other cases, technology can be harmful and disrupt our nightly cycle. The best thing that we can do is to find and use all the good technologies while avoiding those that can harm us.
A lot of people have trouble sleeping because they spend too much time working with gadgets before they go to bed. It’s an easy trap to fall into, and even celebrities like Rihanna and George Clooney have problems with it. There are two major culprits that cause most of the problems. Devices that send out a lot of light, and devices that overstimulate the brain.
Humans have developed in a world without artificial light. When the sun was out, they were active. When it was dark, they went to bed. Human brains are still stuck in that cycle, so the artificial light coming from a screen can keep us awake.
The brain takes that light as a sign that it needs to stay active, so it doesn’t send out the hormones that help people fall asleep. A similar problem appears when people continue to stimulate their brain by doing things on the Internet before bed.
The brain takes in a lot of information, and reads it as a sign that something important is happening. That makes it hard to stay awake, even after the task is done. Solve these problems by avoiding electronics for an hour or two before going to bed.
Modern research has revealed the best sleeping position. It has shown that side sleeping can resolve a number of problems that keep people awake at night, such as heartburn. On the other hand, improper side sleeping can cause back pain, so it’s best to look through a guide to side sleeping before making the transition.
The most important thing to do is to keep the spine straight while sleeping. A bent spine is under stress, and in the long run that will cause pain. This is just as true for people who are laying down as it is for people who stand or sit with bad posture. Pillows need to be the right size to keep the neck at the same level as the rest of the spine, and placing a thin pillow between the knees can prevent people from curving their back when they rest.
There are plenty of new technologies that can make the night much more comfortable. Memory foam mattresses take the shape of the person that sleeps on them, which makes them much more comfortable than traditional mattresses. Smart technologies can even collect information about a sleeping person, such as their body temperature, to make the environment as comfortable as possible.
There are even alarm clocks that can track a person’s sleeping habits and time the alarm accordingly. Sleeping people go through a cycle of distinct phases each night. It’s much better to wake up from some of these phases than others.
The way these smart clocks work is by means of a tracker, which will determine which stage of the cycle a person is in at any given time. The connected alarm will then make sure that they wake up at the best point in that cycle. Yes, it’s that high-tech! Other systems also use that information to adjust the environment and to make it better for each stage. Even small things such as changing the different types of light displayed will improve the quality of sleep.
Machines can even help treat diseases that make sleeping difficult or dangerous. Sleep apnea is one of the most frequent sleeping disorders. Even healthy athletes, like Shaquille O’Neal, suffer from it. Sleep apnea causes people to stop breathing while they rest, which usually wakes them up in a panic. People who have this disease can use a machine to ensure they have easy access to air during the night. They’re a recent development, but enough to make sure most people make it through the night without waking up.
5 Steps to Sleeping Well
It may seem like there are a lot of things able to improve or ruin a night of sleep, but it isn’t very hard to make each night more restful. The most important thing to remember is that the night should be a time of relaxation. To that end, here are 5 steps to reach a deeper sleep.
Step 1 – Keep gadgets at bay
Anything that creates an unnatural environment or keeps your brain busy should stay as far from the bedroom as possible. If a mattress or another device makes the bedroom more comfortable at night, use it. In most cases, it really is that simple. There’s no better guide to a restful night’s sleep other than your own body, so don’t bombard it with unhealthy tech.
Step 2 – Stretch out a little
Before calling it a night, give your muscles a chance to relax. Doing a few simple exercises can greatly help you unwind. By shifting the focus from your mind to your body for a few brief moments, you’ll be able to quickly calm yourself and achieve a better sleep.
Step 3 – Keep what works
If you got used to a certain sleep position or a fixed bedtime, don’t eliminate it right off the bat. Work around your good habits and gradually change just a few things. This way, your body won’t be thrown off too much and will properly respond to your intention.
Step 4 – Music
Before you banish the gadgets away from your sanctuary of sleep, use them toward your goal of a better sleep. Put on some relaxing music or even the recorded sound of rain and just tune out for a few minutes. You won’t believe the sleep-inducing effect it will have on your body.
Step 5 – Don’t fight the sleep
For many of us, the desire to sleep comes at a bad time. You’re at work, finishing up on a few critical assignments and suddenly a feeling of weakness and warmth takes over. At this point, most of us try to fight off the sleep with caffeine. However, that’s a mistake. Try to use that feeling to your advantage and take a few minutes away from work. This way, you won’t find yourself in bed, late at night, wondering where that very same feeling disappeared.
By following these simple 5 steps, you’ll soon discover that your sleep quality has greatly improved. No more persistent headaches, staying awake at night, blurred vision or any other sign of sleep deprivation.
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