5 Gadgets That Can Improve Sleep Quality
This article with cover the different stages of sleep, along with their importance, and discuss 5 gadgets that can help you to improve sleep quality.
Okay, let’s start by agreeing on something, everyone loves to sleep!
But not every night is a walk in the park… Some are too short, some are too agitated, and you end up counting all the hours, and some just make you wake up feeling even more tired than when you went to bed. This is a big concern for most people, especially because sleep plays a big role in many aspects of our life.
According to National Sleep Foundation, an adult person should sleep an average of 7 to 9 hours per day to be well rested. But although making sure you catch enough ZZzzz during the night is great, the quality of that sleep is also important. So if you sleep enough hours but still have troubles to stay energized during the day, it may be because you’re not getting enough of all the sleeping stages.
Having this said, do you know how many hours you sleep on average per night? Do you know about the different stages of sleep and their functions in your life? If the answer is no, then keep reading!
(Or scroll down to the gadget’s list.)
Sleep Importance And Sleep Cycles
We all know that sleep is an essential part of our life and that good sleep comes with many benefits in areas like brain function and memory, physical restoration, emotional well-being, immune system, mood, energy, appetite regulation, among others.
On the other hand, poor sleep can lead to grogginess in the morning, sleepiness and lack of energy throughout the day, lack of focus and poor memory, being more susceptible to stress and anxiety, lower libido and more. That’s why it really important be aware of your nights and some ways that you can improve your sleep.
But there’s more to good sleep than just the amount of it. Since the start of the twentieth-century, sleep was described as a succession of five stages, four non-REM and the REM stage. More recent studies are suggesting that are only four stages as they consider stage 3 and 4 of deep sleep to be the same.
But even with this last note, a typical sleep cycle normally looks like:
-> Light sleep (Stage 1)
-> Light sleep (Stage 2)
-> Deep sleep (Stage 3 and 4)
-> Light sleep (Stage 2)
-> REM Sleep
And it tends to last, on average, 90 to 120 minutes. For the recommended sleep time, we would experience 4 to 5 sleep cycles on a good night.
Example of sleep cycles measured by my Fitbit Charge 2
Stages 1 and 2 falls into the category of light sleep. Stage 1 is really short, typically 5 minutes and it’s referred to as “transition to sleep”. During this time, as you become sleepy, your eye movement starts to slow and your muscles begin to unwind. You can still hear some sounds and be easily awaken.
Stage 2 is where you enter into actual sleep. During this stage, you can experience a spontaneous contraction of the muscles mixed with periods of muscle relaxation. The heart rate begins to slow down, and the temperature of the body decreases. At this point, the body prepares to enter deep sleep.
Light sleep typically represents approximately 50% of your night and this stage is really important for body and mind relaxation and restoration. Cell repair occurs already during light sleep and Neuroscientists believe that memory transfers from short-term to long-term storage happen during this stage.
Stages 3 and 4 (that some studies now consider to be the same) are categorized as deep sleep. During this stages your breathing is slower, you are more relaxed and almost not affected by surrounding noises and events.
While in deep sleep, your cells produce the growth hormone that helps with recovering and repairing of your body. Blood flood flow is directed from the brain to the muscles, to help with recovery and re-energizing of the body.
As deep sleep normally occurs in the initial part of the night, REM sleep, which stands for “rapid eye movement”, happens mostly in the later part. During this stage is where most of our dreaming occurs and, as the name says, our eye movement increases together with our heart rate and blood pressure. As for your body, your muscles are mostly inactive to prevent involuntary movements during your dreams.
Some studies found that REM sleep is highly connected with the learning of certain mental skills. People that were taught a skill and then deprived of REM sleep had no memory of what they had learned, and people that were deprived of non-REM sleep were able to recall it.
It is also thought that it may be associated with improving mood and emotional balance due to the refill of some “feeling good chemicals” in our body, like dopamine.
It is important to keep in mind that these 5 stages are, in fact, separate from one another. Though the signs of transitions between them are still quite mysterious.
Using Gadgets To Improve Sleep Quality
With the advance of technology, there are a lot of gadgets that can help you improve sleep quality by monitoring it, and having a better idea of your current situation, or by creating a more sleep-friendly environment for your night and morning.
As a quick note before going to the gadget list. When in doubt, always consult with your doctor or a specialist before using any device! Specially if you have any health problem or special condition.
#1 Beautyrest Sleep Tracker
Because I am an analytic person, I believe that the first step to improving anything is to be aware of the current situation. That way the first item on the list is the Beautyrest Sleep Tracker. Just by installing this device under your bed, you will have a complete report every morning with some tips about how you can improve your nights.
Beautyrest sleep tracker is a wearable-free system that can monitor all stages of your sleep. Just insert it under your bed and track your light, deep, and REM sleep, breathing, and heart rate. The App offers sleep coaching and it has a built-in connection to Alexa.
Average Price on US: $199
I will leave here an alternative sleep tracking gadget, the Withings/Nokia, with an average price of $100.
#2 Fitbit Charge 3
Another alternative to track your sleep is by using an activity tracker. Although the sleep measuring is probably not as accurate as a specialized sleep tracker, they can give a pretty good estimation of how your night went.
On the other hand, having an active life and exercising more can actually improve sleep quality, and an activity tracker is a perfect way to keep yourself accountable on this part.
The 3 version of the charge line from Fitbit is here and comes with many improvements: waterproof, new design, touch screen and 7 days of battery. All of this besides all the normal features of 24/7 heart rate monitor, activity/sports tracker, sleep monitor and female health tracker.
Average Price on US: $149
#3 VicTsing 150ml Essential Oil Diffuser & Humidifier
Now on the subject of having a sleep-friendly environment, air humidifiers can help improve sleep quality by helping with snoring and blocked noses by helping with the dryness of the air. Moisturizing the air can also help to stabilize the room temperature and reduce the risk of getting sick due to airborne virus.
Besides that, this humidifier can also be used with a few drops of essential oils. This can be helpful as some oils like lavender are associated with improving relaxation, which may then improve sleep as well.
This portable essential oil diffuser from VicTsing with 150ml of capacity and 6 to 8 hours of mist duration is perfect for improving relaxation and sleep by humidifying the air and performing aromatherapy.
Average Price on US: $20
#4 AVANTEK Sleep White Noise Machine
Another important thing when it comes to a sleep-friendly environment is the noise. If you leave close to a busy road or, for some other reason, you don’t have a quiet and relaxing environment in your room, a white noise machine can do wonders for you. This model from AVANTEK comes with 20 natural sounds that will help neutralize the noisy surroundings while giving you that pleasant and relaxing mood to improve sleep.
This portable and compact white noise machine from AVANTEK will help you to create a sleep-friendly environment.
Average Price on US: $38
#5 Philips Wake-Up Light Alarm Clock
For the last product on this list let’s focus on the last part of our sleep, waking up! The perfect scenario would be to always wake up by ourselves and without any alarm. But due to our busy lives and schedules, that’s not that easy.
One thing that can make this natural wake up possible is a light alarm. This gadget will simulate a sunrise by starting to light up your room, gradually, 30 minutes before your desired wake up time.
The Philips Wake-Up Light provides a pleasant, natural way to start your morning. The light gradually increases between 20 to 40 minutes prior to your wake up time and offers five different nature-inspired sounds as an alarm.
Average Price on US: $98
I will leave here an alternative wake up light for under $30.
As a final note, is important to keep in mind that, although these gadgets can help you improve sleep, is also necessary to adopt, or keep following, all the healthy habits that help us have a good rest during the night like:
- Healthy diet and exercise.
- Having a sleep schedule and a pre-sleep routine.
- Watching out caffeine and alcohol at night.
- Limiting TV, computer, and phone before bed.
- Having a good sleep environment (comfortable bed, silent and dark room without noises)
- And many others that can be found in articles like this one.
Have a good rest!
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