5 Technological Gadgets That Can Aid Sleep
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, insufficient sleep has become a public health epidemic. In many cases, people owe their problems to technological devices, which keep people awake by exposing them to blue light, which disrupts melatonin production by mimicking natural sunlight. That said, modern technology is also being used to improve sleep quality in the following ways:
It may sound like science fiction, but modern technology allows people to use ordinary smartphones to promote better sleep. New sleep assisting apps are capable of measuring how well we sleep by using special headbands that record and interpret electrical brain impulses. After capturing this data, the app is able to track a person’s sleeping habits and determine how much restorative REM sleep he or she is getting. These apps can also tell people how frequently they awaken each night, which may help shed light on a potential sleep disorder. Finally, sleep-enhancing apps can be set to wake a person when they aren’t in deep REM sleep; this helps prevent drowsiness and promotes a more energetic, rested awakening.
Home Sleep Tests
Countless Americans owe their sleep problems to obstructive sleep apnea, a dangerous disorder characterized by breathing difficulties. Unfortunately, many people go undiagnosed, because they seek to avoid the burden and expense associated with overnight stays at sleep clinics. Fortunately, modern technology now allows potential sleep apneics to get tested while sleeping comfortably in their own beds.
According to sleep dentist Dr. Donna Blair, these types of advances are important, because they help more people get the treatment they need.
“Sleep apnea is linked to a variety of dangerous medical conditions, such as cardiovascular disease, dementia and diabetes,” she said. “Any technological advancement that gets people on the path toward treatment is extremely beneficial, because it has the potential to save lives.”
At-home sleep tests have the ability to monitor heart activity, blood oxygen level, airflow, breathing effort and snoring. This data is then transmitted to a sleep physician, who uses it to make a diagnosis.
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Many companies are taking advantage of the widespread demand for sleep aids by creating gadgets that support sleep. These include:
• Philips Wake-up Light – This alarm clock doesn’t use sound to jolt you awake; instead, it emits bright light which simulates the natural sunlight. This helps promote a more peaceful waking period that wards off tiredness and fatigue.
• Sleepsonic Stereo Speaker Pillow – This cool device is a comfortable pillow equipped with speakers that emit several varieties of restful white noise.
• Blue light-blocking glasses – These glasses have special orange lenses that block the blue light emitted by modern televisions, smartphones and tablets. By doing this, they aim to prevent melatonin disruption, which can result due to exposure to artificial light.
• NightWave Sleep Assistant – This is a device which helps you relax and go asleep fast by synchronizing your breathing with its light.
A Double-edged Sword
Although technology offers some new intriguing ways to promote better sleep, it’s also been shown to keep people awake at night. Experts recommend that people refrain from watching television or using smartphones, tablets or laptops within a couple of hours before bedtime. If you’ve tried this and are still having sleeping difficulties, consider getting tested for a potential sleep disorder.
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