Tech to help you catch some Zs - why you should switch on, to switch off
Technology hasn't traditionally lent itself to a good night's sleep. We've all told ourselves we'll just read one more tweet, which links to just one more YouTube video that reminds you about that one more email you need to send before just one more round of Candy Crush and before you know it: it's morning. But there's actually loads of tech out there to help you sleep smarter, too. The O2 Gurus take a look:
1. Track your sleep with a smartband
Whether you've got a smartwatch, smartband or even just a smartphone there are apps out there to help you track your sleep. Not only will this make for a scintillating conversation starter over your morning coffee at work ("Say, guess how many hours of REM I got last night") but you can also set up a gentle alarm that wakes you when you're at the lightest point in your sleep cycle.
2. Tune out noisy neighbours with white noise
Noise is the enemy of sleep, as anyone who lives along a 24-hour bus route in central London will tell you. If completely sound-proofing your bedroom isn't an option, try a combination of wireless speakers and a white noise generator. White noise – which is a certain type of constant, unchanging background noise – can be used to mask a variety of annoying nighttime sounds. True white noise is electronically generated and can be quite harsh on the ears but nature sounds, repetitive machinery noise like a washing machine or crowd noise should work just as well.
There are a number of apps that can provide such a service – like White Noise Ambience Lite for iOS or White Noise Lite on Android. Coupled with a wireless speaker set up, you’ll be drifting off in no time.
3. Wake up with the sun using a SAD lamp
Waking up is hard to do; but with a sunlight-imitating SAD lamp you can enjoy a natural wake-up call without sleeping with the curtains open. These lamps imitate the sunrise; the light will register through your closed eyelids and let your body wake up gently and naturally, leaving you feeling ready to face the day.
4. Dim your screens
We all know we ought to stop using our phones, tablets and laptops in bed, but willpower is not our strong suit. The problem is that the blue light from your gadgets' screens tells your body it's time to be awake, not that it ought to be winding down for sleep. One solution is to use screen adjustment software that will increase the redness of your screen – Twilight for Android, for example, or f.lux for Mac laptops. There's no iOS equivalent, unfortunately, but if you're really dedicated you could opt for orange-tinted glasses or an orange-tinted screen cover.
5. A pillow to sing you to sleep
Sometimes all it takes to get you drifting off is a soothing lullaby – but a speaker system may be too loud and headphones can be uncomfortable; the answer is a pillow with built-in speakers. It may sound a bit crazy but the Sleep Therapy Pillow includes two stereo speakers deep within the pillow – now all you need is an appropriate playlist.
If you're not sure about any techy terms, check out our jargon buster