It will help you sleep and wake up better without breaking the bank by keeping a sleep diary journal, using light hints to your benefit, and meditating before bed. From an Alexa-enabled sleep apnea (difficulty in breathing while asleep) monitor to a wearable tracker that might give people the power to select their dreams, there is no lack of gadgets marketed to help you hack your sleep.
Cutting out electronics around bedtime is also good for your sleep and mental health. Keeping an old-fashioned sleep diary can work just as well or even better than an Apple Watch.
It could be easier to have a handwritten sleep log than a phone tracker
Michael Grandner, director of the Sleep and Health Research Program at the University of Arizona, told Insider that there was a time when a handwritten sleep diary was the only way to monitor sleep outside a lab.
As it turns out, in some of the innovations, that approach is still extremely useful and is sometimes forgotten, Grandner said. But in terms of insomnia, which is extremely common, the best way to measure insomnia is still to keep a sleep log.
Sleep logs capture a dimension of sleep overlooked by machines that monitor heart rate and movement: your own experience of sleep: journals where someone tracks their bedtime, how long it takes them to fall asleep, any awakenings during the night, and what time they wake up in the morning.
Rebecca Robbins, a sleep researcher associated with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, said that, you’re much more likely to reflect on what you did or maybe didn’t do the day before, and how you might be able to improve the next day, just by having information from the night before.
Nighttime awakenings are frequently overestimated by wristbands or phone apps that claim to monitor your sleep, Robbins said, possibly creating undue concern. You can only capture the times where you were consciously awake when you notice awakenings on your own, giving you a better image of your sleep.
A major difference would be the removal of light signals
Robbins said one of the best ideas coming from sleep diary studies is to use light to your advantage. Similar to sunlight, the blue light of a computer screen will arouse your brain, so Robbins suggests installing software that dims the light in the hours before bedtime. Another choice is to reduce the screen sensitivity between dinner and bedtime, without the need for apps. Any stimulating light and sound can also be blocked by a clear eye mask and earplugs, Grandner said. This tried-and-true tool, particularly for light sleepers, will effectively achieve what many higher-tech devices strive to do, remove distractions that would keep you awake.
Open your curtains to boost your mood and energy levels, and drive as soon as you wake up
In both directions, light signals will operate, and some modern alarm clocks have a “sunrise” function to mimic the natural wake-up signal. But any apparatus with a soft yellow or orange-color light is likely to have no real effect, and nothing can beat the bluish light of the sun. “Outside light is better than indoor light because, even if you don’t notice, it’s actual orders of magnitude brighter,” Grandner said. “Probably the cloudiest overcast day is 10 times brighter still than a bright living room.”
It is, therefore, more convenient to open your curtains part way before going to sleep than to purchase a wake-up lamp, but not everybody has access to sunlight. A lightbox can benefit people who live in less sunny areas of the globe or do not have windows, but make sure it emits blue light to imitate the sun, Robbins said. Combining light signals with movement is also more efficient at waking up the brain, such as going out to walk your dog first thing in the morning, and can also increase mood and energy levels, Grandner added.
Before bed, simple ways to meditate to clear your mind
With promising effects, meditation and mindfulness-based stress reduction have been tried and tested over decades. People fall asleep quicker when they can teach people how to meditate. They sleep more comfortably. Anything that can instruct or guide people on meditation-like activities, such as breathing, is a homerun.
One option is known as body scanning for bedtime meditation. Start by turning off the lights and finding a comfortable spot, then at your speed, take a few deep breaths. Image the stressors of the day with each breath, leaving a different part of your body, from your head to your shoulders to your feet. While not every technique that relaxes you is guaranteed to put you to sleep, whether you go the high-tech or low-tech path, meditation will accomplish both.
Payel Das is a lovable mother of a sweet baby boy named ‘Aastik’. She is a pass out of the University of Calcutta with a post-graduation degree in History. She has been selected as the Cultural Secretary of the University during her educational period. At that time she fell into love with various types of writings which were frequently used to publish in students’ magazines and university wall magazines. Writing has gradually become her passion and now she is a full-time writer especially working as an Academic Writer and Scriptwriter.