How does technology affect sleep?
It may seem that we are constantly being told about a new product or technology to help us sleep. Indeed, ‘sleep tech’ is a now a booming business and there are many sleep gadgets that can help to provide a better night’s sleep.
However, the relationship between technology and sleep is complex and we should be mindful of this when using sleep gadgets. Here, TEMPUR® offer some guidance on how technology, from televisions to sleep apps, can affect your night’s sleep.
The sleep tech industry began with hardware accessories, such as bracelets, that track the number of hours you are asleep for. These trackers have become increasingly sophisticated, with artificial intelligence (AI) now being used to analyse the data they gather. There are now sleep apps that engage with the data recorded by these trackers and give users a detailed analysis and breakdown of their quality of sleep.
There are also sleep apps available to aid falling asleep. A range of services can be found, including sleep apps that guide users through relaxing meditation and even some that offer hypnotherapy to address anxiety and stress.
Nevertheless, while these sleep apps can be beneficial, they have been shown to be occasionally detrimental. A focus on tracking sleep, with the aim of producing a perfect night of rest, may be counterproductive as it can induce further anxiety. So, when using sleep apps, be mindful of the time you spend engaging with them.
A sleep device that we are all familiar with, alarm clocks have recently been undergoing a rebirth. The harsh bell or ringing noise we usually associate with alarm clocks is no longer the only way to wake you in the morning.
Aiming to reflect nature’s method for waking up, there are now alarm clocks available that use light that gradually intensifies over a set period of time, normally around half an hour, to awaken their user. Light plays a significant role in regulating our sleep cycle and in nature we would rely on the sun to provide this. Light-based alarm clocks are recognising this and adapting to provide an easier rise in mornings.
When is technology bad for sleep?
Technology can be bad for your sleep if it is providing you with either stimulation or blue light.
The blue light emitted from screens prevents sleep as it is a wavelength that sometimes misleads your brain into believing it is daytime. This causes hormones to be released that tell your body to stay alert and so is not conducive to a restful night of sleep. You should therefore avoid any screens for a few hours before heading to bed, whether it is a laptop, smart phone, or television.
Screens can also obviously be highly stimulating. This is especially true if using a smart phone or playing a video game, as these are activities that require responses rather than passive consumption. The need to formulate responses keeps your brain engaged and prevents it from relaxing into a peaceful slumber.
As alternatives from screen time, try meditation, reading a book, or a long bath. These are soothing and will help signal to your brain that it is time to rest. Establishing a routine with these activities will aid consistently better sleep.
However, when it comes to technology, remember that there is no substitute for a great mattress. The long history of the mattress means that it is often overlooked as a form of sleep technology. TEMPUR® have been proud to use modern NASA technology to update this ancient wonder and to create mattresses that will support you for a peaceful and deep night’s sleep. Sink into one of TEMPUR®’s luxuriously supportive mattresses now and guarantee a better night’s sleep.
Do you regularly use sleep tech? What type do you like to use? Let us know in the comments below…