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Day 9

Tactics To Achieve Deeper And Longer Sleep With Technology

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Sleep is an essential part of life. Whilst we spend about a third of our lives in slumber, we still don’t fully understand how it affects us.

We do understand sleep to be connected to a huge range of our bodily processes including…

Both the quantity and quality of sleep are important to our health. Unfortunately poor use of technology can impact on both. Whether it’s using technology too late, or being disturbed by smartphone notifications, we often wake unrested and grumpy, poorly equipped to take on the new day.

Follow these strategies to achieve deeper and longer sleep with technology.

Strategies

Cut out the blue light

Our bodies are extremely sensitive to light of blue wavelengths. After hundreds of thousands of years of evolution, our bodies learned when the sun is up we should be active. Blue light is great during the day, it boosts attention, reaction times, and mood. But not so great when we’re winding down. Since the introduction of the light bulb our bodies have been a tad confused and now electronics use is a significant reason for insomnia. The blue light from our devices confuses our body’s production of sleep related hormones.

f.lux is an essential digital wellbeing app. f.lux modifies the colour of your computer’s screen to mimic the natural light outside. When the sunsets, f.lux starts to reduce the amount of blue light your screen produces.

f.lux is available for MacOS, Windows, Linux, iOS and Android. Apple has released a competitor called Night Shift on iOS and MacOS devices.

Use night mode

Many popular websites and apps have added a ‘Night mode’ feature to reduce eye strain at night. Typically this changes the colour scheme from white and bright to moody and dark. Keep an eye out for this feature in the settings of websites and apps you use.

Earlier this year Apple rolled out ‘Dark mode’ with MacOS Mojave, activating Dark mode changes the colour scheme of the MacOS interface and apps supporting Dark mode.

To activate…

Stop using electronics 30 mins before bedtime

Our screens are a portal into a pretty intense world. We’re bombarded with new ideas that get our minds racing. A tiny tweet, 140-characters, can capture the imagination and take us into a spiral of opportunity. An immersive video game can light up our brain like a Christmas tree.

For better sleep set a digital curfew. 30-minutes to an hour before you plan on hitting the hay, turn off your screens and stick to the real world. Read a book, listen to some relaxing music or have a conversation with a loved one.

If you’d find it helpful, set a daily alarm reminding you to unplug and wind down.

Buy an alarm clock

Many of us use our smartphones to wake us up in morning. We charge them bedside only an arms distance away. This close proximity makes it too tempting for us to answer the beep of a notification, respond to an email we forgot or watch a short video on Youtube.

We know this is a problem but use the excuse that we need the alarm to wake us in time for work. A simple fix, buy an alarm clock.

Keep electronics outside the bedroom

The bedroom is a space for relaxing and sleeping. When we bring in devices such as smartphones, laptops and televisions we start associating that space with other higher energy activities.

Fear of missing out (FOMO) keeps us checking in with our social media. 68% of surveyed Snapchat users found their sleep was disturbed by the platform. Additionally, 62% of surveyed Instagram users also reported disturbed sleep. When we sleep close to our devices it’s too tempting to check and if we do it regularly, for example when we’re unable to sleep, we’ll form negative habits by rewarding this behaviour.

Make it easy for yourself and keep your electronics out the bedroom.

Turn off any electronics in the bedroom

The buzz of electronic devices is enough to disturb our sleep. If you must keep electronics in the bedroom ensure they are switched off and unplugged before you go to bed.

Likewise many devices have at least one LED which shines brightly in a dark room. Researchers found shining a light behind the knee of participants was able to modify their body clocks by up to 3 hours. What unintended consequences are happening with light in your bedroom? If you really are unable to switch off the devices, use tape or a sticker to cover up any light sources.

We hope these strategies for sleeping better with technology are helpful, experiment with some of them tonight.

Author

Fraser Deans

Today's article was written by Fraser Deans. Fraser is a Digital Product Designer and founder of The Wholesome Technology Company, focused on practicing and spreading ideas for living well with technology.

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