Can Smartphones actually help us sleep better?
If you sleep next to your smartphone at night, don’t worry, you’re not alone. According to a recent survey from Bank of America Trends in Consumer Mobility Report, a staggering 71% percent of Americans bring their phones to bed. And while that number may be shocking, it’s not entirely surprising.
As smartphones continue to become a more ubiquitous part of our culture, our devices tend to stay glued to our side at all times – even when we sleep. But can smartphones actually help us sleep instead of keeping us awake at night? Turns out that might be true.
While light from electronic devices has been shown to interrupt sleep, many app developers are now trying to create programs that actually help us sleep, not hinder it. From alarm clocks, to podcasts, we’ll check out the latest in sleep tech and let you know what works and what kept us up at night.
Using Apps to Your Advantage
For those of us with iPhone’s, the latest update included a special “bedtime” function within the existing clock app that allows you to add a separate alarm just for sleep.
To access the app, you simply go to the clock, and select the “bedtime” tab to set a specific time, sound and frequency. Pretty neat!
If you’re curious about the quality of your sleep, you may want an app that can help you keep track of the exact number of hours you spend slumbering. That’s where Sleepcycle comes in.
This nifty app uses the iPhone accelerometer (tracks acceleration and provides data for a variety of functions) to record your sleep patterns and report back with a detailed log on your sleep habits.
Over time the app will use the data to provide a custom alarm clock to wake you based on your individual sleeping habits!
Are you struggling to fall asleep at night? Before you rush out to the store and buy an expensive noise canceling machine, or similar sound generator, check for an app!
If you enjoy listening to the sounds of the ocean, an exotic rain forest, or any other soothing sounds, check out the “Sleep” app, which lets you customize your favorite soothing tones and fall asleep in no time.
Interested in more of a blanket white noise sound? Noisli, available for iPhone and Android, may be more your speed. The app allows you to create custom mixes of different white noises and save them for use anytime, anywhere.
A new app called Pzizz is even more innovative! Pzizz uses a unique combination of music, words, sound effects and binaural beats to create a one-of-a-kind soundscape that you personalize to lull yourself to sleep.
Have you ever heard of lucid dreaming? It’s the phenomenon that you can wake up within your dreams and actually take control of the environment around you.
Awoken helps train your brain to lucid dream by sending audio cues to you while you are sleeping to let you know that you aware of the fact you are dreaming.
There’s also a handy journal you can use to take notes and boost your memory of dreams. Far out!
You’re Getting Sleepy…
Have you ever considered using hypnosis to get better sleep? Relax and Sleep Well Hypnosis does just that. Using guided meditation, the app teaches users meditation and self-hypnosis as a means to soothe yourself to sleep.
Digipill is another guided meditation app in which users can select the type of meditation they want (pill) and fall asleep, including everything from stopping smoking, to easing stress and preventing insomnia.
For even more guided sleep, check out Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson! Used to treat anxiety and stress, this app is based off the best-selling authors CD’s and guides users through step-by-step meditation in order to ease the mind and fall to sleep.
Talk, Talk, Talk
If you prefer the sound of someone talking you to sleep, you should check out podcasts.
Podcasts are essentially mini radio programs covering any subject imaginable that you can download to your smartphone and listen to at your leisure.
One of the most popular sleep-related podcasts, Sleep With Me Podcast, is hosted by a former librarian, Drew Ackerman, who deliberately speaks in a monotone voice while discussing various topics in order to lull you to sleep.
The objective of the podcast is for Ackerman to be as dull as possible, and the unique approach has helped many fall asleep.
For those who are fans of Game of Thrones, the host has an equally soporific podcast, entitled Game of Drones, in which he provides recaps of previous episodes, all with a signature lull.
If you’re into meditation, check out the Daily Meditation Podcast, for short instructive meditations on a variety of topics.
If you’re struggling to fall asleep, forget counting sheep and get creative.