How Can Technology Help Improve How We Sleep

sleep tech

Lack of sleep. Most of us deal with it as soon as our childhoods are over. For some of us, getting a full night’s sleep stopped back in high school. I started working on a farm my freshman year and had to learn to balance work (so I had money) and school (so I’d get my education.) The farm work wasn’t bad; I’d report there directly after school and get done around 6-7 PM, depending on the season. I’d go home, get dinner, do my homework, and generally be in bed by 11 PM. The next day, I’d wake up at 6 AM and do it again. Seven hours of sleep was perfect, and life was good until my sophomore year, when I transitioned into food service. Once I started working in restaurants, my shifts didn’t end until 11 PM to midnight.

I’d go home, grab a shower, try to study, or do my homework to end up passing out around 4 or 5 to wake up an hour later to make it to school on time. To make matters worse, when the Little League World Series was in town, my shifts could last until 4 AM. When this happened, I’d go straight to school and grab a shower in the locker room. I had a free period around 9:30 AM when I could catch a 40-minute power nap. This was when I started having issues with sleep.

We already know that lack of sleep can make us grumpy and groggy, but you may not be aware of what can affect your sex life, memory, health, appearance, and weight. Before we look at how tech trends are helping people via sleep technology and sleep apps, let’s dig into how severe shorting yourself sleep is.

How lack of sleep affects you negatively

1. Lack of sleep can lead to accidents

Did you know that sleep deprivation played a part in some of the biggest disasters in recent history?

  • Chernobyl
  • The Exxon Valdez oil spill
  • Three Mile Island 

And that’s just a few. With that said, it’s easy to see how sleep loss is a significant public safety hazard every day on the road. Being drowsy can slow reaction times like that of a driver under the influence of alcohol. Lack of sleep and poor-quality sleep also contribute to accidents and injuries on the job. 

2. Lack of sleep lowers brain function

Sleep plays a detrimental role in thinking and learning, meaning that a lack of sleep negatively impacts these cognitive processes in various ways. It can negatively alter our alertness, concentration, reasoning, attention, and problem-solving. Being tired also makes it more difficult to learn efficiently.

3. Lack of sleep is dangerously unhealthy

Sleep disorders put you at higher risk of experiencing any of the following:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart attack
  • Heart disease
  • Heart failure
  • High blood pressure
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Stroke

4. Lack of sleep equals lack of sex drive

Sleep specialists claim that sleep-deprived women and men have reported lower libidos and an overall lower interest in partaking in intercourse. There’s a good chance that lackluster energy, tiredness, and increased tension could also be to blame, all symptoms of poor sleep habits.

5. Sleep deprivation can lead to depression

If you sleep-deprived for an extended time, you risk becoming depressed. Over time, a continuous lack of sleep (or sleep disorder) can contribute to the symptoms of depression. In a 2005 Sleep in America poll, people who were medically diagnosed with anxiety or depression were more likely to get less than 6 hours of sleep a night.

6. Lack of sleep speeds up the aging process

After a few rounds of missing out on proper sleep, we already know about puffy eyes, but it can also lead to lackluster skin, fine lines, wrinkles, crows’ feet, poor posture, and pesky bags under the eyes that none of us like. When you lack sleep, your body releases a stress hormone called cortisol, and in large amounts, it can effectively break down skin collagen, the protein that helps keep our skin smooth and flexible.

Now, onto the good stuff

The above list was just the tip of the iceberg of how sleep deprivation can negatively affect us. I could write an entire article on that topic alone, but this article’s purpose is to explain why proper sleep is essential, and if you have a problem obtaining it, I plan to enlighten you on a few ways tech can help. So, without any further ado, onto the good stuff!

1. Sleep Pods

As its name suggests, a Sleep Pod is a futuristic-looking pod that allows a single person or a couple to get a good night’s sleep via a unique capsule environment. Some people may like the sci-fi appearance, but the features make this device stand out.

  • It can deter intruders.
  • It’s soundproofed.
  • It’s fireproofed. 
  • It has ‘smart glass’ that can regulate light induction inside the pod.
  • Advanced sound
  • To optimize the internal comfort level of the capsule, there’s a light and air control mechanism.

These pods work so well in sleep health that organizations like Google, Mercedes-Benz, and NASA now offer them to their employees, enabling them to take much-needed power naps while at the office.

2. Sleep Apps

Our smartphones have become integral to our everyday lives and, more recently, part of our sleep routines. Why our smartphones? Well, that’s easy because around American adults own one.

Sleep apps offer a variety of features such as relaxing sounds, like calming music, ambient sounds of nature, white noise, or even a running fan, all to help people fall asleep. Sleep apps also function like alarm clocks and others that collect data while you sleep.

Some other features you’ll find in Sleep Apps (depending on which one you choose) are:

  • Guided meditation and breathing exercises help alleviate anxiety and daily stress (try Breethe
  • Helpful and easy-to-follow video tutorials about yoga, stretching, and other physical activities that help promote a good night’s sleep (try Calm)
  • Informational videos and interviews cover a wide range of topics from mental health to stress management and even help us better understand how our minds work (try Calm)
  • Sleep stories that relay positive messages to our brains and soothing narration help us fall asleep more quickly (try Headspace)
  • Various music tracks and sounds to aid in relaxation when falling asleep (try Relax Melodies: Sleep Sounds)
    • ambient soundscapes
    • autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR)
    • classical and instrumental selections
    • white noise

3. Sleep Hygiene

The last topic I’m going to touch on isn’t a piece of tech, but instead, the knowledge that we learned through the technology of studying sleep, and that’s proper sleep hygiene. Proper sleep hygiene means putting yourself in the best possible situation and position to sleep well every night and doing everything you can to stick to that regiment. Optimizing your sleep schedule, pre-bed routine, and daily routines, you will successfully start to develop habits that lead to a higher quality of sleep. This begins with creating a comfortable bedroom environment for you to get your rest in. Here is a little cheat sheet I put together of things that helped me get my sleep back on track. 

  • Avoid Naps
  • Be More Physically Active
  • Block Out Light
  • Cut Back on Caffeine in the Afternoon and Evening
  • Disconnect From Electronics 30-60 Minutes Before Going to Bed
  • Don’t Eat Late
  • Don’t Smoke (it’s a stimulant)
  • Eliminate Noise
  • Follow a Consistent Nightly Routine
  • Get a Comfortable Pillow and Mattress 
  • Prioritize Sleep
  • Reduce Alcohol Consumption
  • Set a Comfortable Temperature (cooler temperatures are better for sleeping.)
  • Set a Fixed Wake-Up Time
  • Set Aside 30 Minutes to Wind Down Before Bed
  • Try Calming Scents (don’t leave candles lit while you sleep.)

Sleep is essential, and if you’re struggling with it, I hope this article sheds some light on things for you. If you’ve tried a lot of the stuff I mentioned already and still aren’t experiencing the results you want, then it may mean you need to seek out the help of a medical professional. With that said, thanks for sticking around for the read, and sweet dreams!

Anthony Thomas

Anthony Thomas is a Pennsylvanian-born native who currently resides in the same town he grew up in. Growing up in a farm setting, he learned early on how to hunt, raise livestock, and plant crops and various camping, survival, and bushcraft techniques. By the time he graduated high school, he had taken a job working at a restaurant, and within a few years, he was a certified chef. After getting married with two kids, Tony managed and ran multiple restaurants and co-managed a travel plaza. After 2019, he needed a change of pace and took up an old passion of his in the form of art and creative writing. This also led him to open a private tattoo shop in his hometown. Today he manages multiple freelance ventures from digital art, video editing, creative writing, tattooing, and more. 

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