We all know that sleep is the number one thing we can do to improve our health, but it’s not always as easy as it sounds. You could be tossing and turning, suffering from anxious thoughts, waking up in the middle of the night for hours, or just generally having a hard time sleeping. There are a few things that we’ve found, and love, that can help us understand why we can’t sleep well and can help us improve it.
One of the best ways we can understand why we’re consistently having a hard time sleeping is to gather data on it, which is why we love Sleep Cycle. It’s a free app that offers in-app purchases and can be found on Android or iPhone. It monitors your sleep patterns using the microphone on your phone and offers detailed information and daily graphs so you can understand what happens throughout the night. It allows you to make notes on your day so you can understand the impact your actions have on your sleep. Additionally, it has an intelligent alarm clock that gently wakes you up during your lightest sleep phase.
For those who suffer from anxious thoughts and find it hard to relax, Headspace is the perfect accompaniment. It’s a meditation app that bills itself as a guide to mindfulness for your everyday life. From its 3 minute meditations that you can fit into any part of your day, to its extensive sleep library that includes sleepcasts, dreamy soundscapes, and tranquil music. It helps you to decompress and find peace so that even if you wake up in the middle of the night, you can fall back asleep with its help. It can be found on any app store and offers a free trial before offering a subscription, we think it’s worth it for its varied and helpful library.
A lot of people find it helpful to have white noise in the background when they’re falling asleep and throughout the night, and for good reason. While you’re asleep, your brain is still aware of your surroundings and is listening for sounds, something that kept us safe when we were hunter-gatherers, but doesn’t serve us so well now when we’re being awoken by sirens or the sound of the fox yelling outside. White Noise is a free app that loops sounds throughout the night so you can stay asleep. It offers a library of sounds that come automatically, or you can record and loop your own sounds so you can get exactly what you want. It has an alarm and timer system that slowly fades audio in and out so you awake naturally and end up feeling more refreshed.
The lumie wake up lamp is an affordable light that simulates sunrise and sunset, so your body can gently fall asleep and wake up. The fading light helps you to sleep more effectively by falling in line with your natural circadian rhythm. It’s a gentle awakening that helps you to wake up more refreshed and energised. It also comes equipped with an audio alarm that ranges from your standard beep to birds chirping and all the way to an eccentric military drill for those who really don’t want to wake up in the morning. This kind of light waking mimics the sun, so even in those dark winter months, you can wake up to the sun and feel refreshed.
Sometimes white noise isn’t enough to block out all of the sounds that are keeping you awake, from a party upstairs (or nearby), to the freight train speeding by, or a partner’s snoring. These in-ear buds mask unwanted sounds by combining passive noise blocking and optimised noise masking sounds. The silicon tips conform to your ear, with three different sizes so that you can make sure you’re masking unwanted sounds and they fit snugly enough so that even if you’re tossing and turning, they won’t fall out. You use them with the Bose Sleep App to control which of their curated sounds you listen to throughout the night.
No matter what technology you choose to incorporate into your routine, there’s nothing better than training your brain to fall asleep using a routine involving everything from scents to a calming cup of tea. Reinforcing healthy habits is one of the many things you can do to get a better night of sleep and if those aren’t working, then these apps and technology can help!