How to Get More Sleep Without Spending More Time in Bed

by Amanda Meadows on 24 December 2014 (0 comments)

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Many people are more sleep deprived than they realize. Are you one of them? Recently, new devices promising to help track fitness and sleep have become available. Here are some ways you can get a better, more consistent night's sleep with the help of a wearable health device.

Tracking Your Behavior

Do you ever examine your routine? Many devices such as FitBit, Jawbone UP, BASIS, and Beddit track not only your sleep but your daily fitness habits. A pedometer within these devices and apps reveals how often you walk, how often you jog, and your average heart rate throughout the day.

Why is this important? We tend to be more mindful of our behavior when we are keeping score. If you discover that you're only walking 2,000 steps per day when the goal is 10,000 steps, you are more likely to be motivated to walk more. The gamification of the daily habits can help you become more aware of your health and more proactive in improving it.

Monitoring your sleep using an app or device is ideal, because all you have to do is wear it. Keeping score of your body movement and rest periods will lead to discover why you are restless at night, why you don't remember your dreams, or why you're so tired in the morning. Knowledge is power.

Analyzing Your Sleep Pattern

How does sleep even work? Everyone sleeps a little differently, but there is an ideal pattern. There are five different types of sleep. The below stages cycle through the brain in loops that last between 90 and 110 minutes:

  • Stage 1, in which one is drifting in and out of sleep, and can be woken easily.
  • Stage 2, during which eye movement stops, with only a few bursts of movement.
  • Stage 3, when the extra slow delta waves begin and sleep becomes deeper.
  • Stage 4, as the brain is in almost entirely delta waves, known as "deep sleep."
  • REM sleep, wherein sleep waves become more rapid, heart rate and breathing quicken, and eye movement is rapid. This is when most dreaming occurs.

Most sleep monitoring devices such as BASIS and Beddit can pinpoint when you are wakened in the night, and can usually distinguish where deep sleep ends and REM sleep begins. These are important patterns to study, because you can use this data to hack your sleep cycle and make it more satisfying. For example, it can tell you the optimal time for you to wake up. You might be setting your alarm to wake you up in the middle of your sleep cycle, so you get out of bed groggy and slow. A minor adjustment to your wake up time (or bedtime) could mean getting up refreshed and alert.

Correcting Causes of Poor Sleep

Are you waking up too often in the night or suffer from insomnia? Some sleep monitoring devices can even combine your data with health information using cognitive behavioral therapy. Devices such as the SleepRate system can display your entire day of activity and suggest possible ways to fix the issues in your sleep cycle.

Depending on your sleep pattern, a monitoring app or device can provide advice like the following:

  • Wake up the same time every morning
  • Increase exposure to natural light throughout daytime hours
  • Avoid caffeine after 4pm
  • Decrease napping
  • Dim lights near bedtime
  • Don't bring laptops, ipads, and other backlit devices to bed
  • Avoid alcohol close to bedtime
  • Relieve anxiety with stretching or deep breathing exercises

With a little help from wearable tech, you can not only get a better night's sleep, but also improve your overall health and quality of life by becoming more conscious of your daily habits.

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How to Get More Sleep Without Spending More Time in Bed

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