I can’t count the number of times I’ve seen news reports on the fact
that Americans aren’t getting enough sleep at night. But in a society
that glorifies the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” mentality, it doesn’t
surprise me that people are placing quality shuteye low on their list of
priorities. But sleep deprivation causes a whole host of health
problems. It impairs mental function, reduces testosterone productions
in men, lowers immunity strength, and can even keep you from losing
But it can be difficult to catch quality zzzz’s in this go-go-go world of ours. Our brains have a hard time shutting off and surrendering at night.
Below we’ve compiled a list of four great examples of gadgets and tech–inspired by Tim Ferris’ recommendations inThe Four Hour Body–to help you upgrade your sleep and thus your health, energy and mood during the day as well:
One of the first steps in improving your sleep is knowing the quantity and quality of the sleep you’re currently getting. After you collect this information, you’ll be able to take appropriate steps to improve your sleep in both areas.
It used to be you’d have to go to some expensive sleep specialist to gather this sort of data, but that’s no longer the case with the introduction of The Zeo Personal Sleep Coach.
A wireless headband that you wear at night measures electrical patterns generated by your brain as you snooze. Zeo then takes that information and creates easy to read online graphs that show you exactly when you were experiencing REM, light, and deep sleep patterns. The bedside display also has an alarm that will wake you up when your brain activity is the highest, thus preventing the early morning grogginess that comes from waking during deep sleep, what scientists call “sleep inertia.” The online tools available will use the data collected from the Zeo to create customized actions plans to help improve your sleep at night so you can be your best during the day.
Philips Wake Up Light
Is there a worse sound than the beep-beep-beep of a conventional alarm clock? Even when I hear one go off on a television commercial I cringe a little inside. It’s certainly not a sound that helps you get the day started in a chipper mood.
For a kinder, gentler way to wake up each morning, try the Philips Wake Up Light. You place the lamp-like device by your bedside and in the 30 minutes before you’ve chosen to wake up, it simulates a natural sunrise by emitting a gradually increasing amount of light into the room. The slowly intensifying light wakes you up gradually and soothingly. You can also choose music or nature sounds that increase in volume to accompany the light if you need a little bit extra to shake you from slumber. Additionally, the light is touted as a way to boost your mood and energy as you start the day.
The light can also be used at night in the opposite way, with the light and sound gradually diminishing, lulling you into sleep.
If you’re like many people, you probably sit in front of your computer screen checking email and surfing the web right before you hit the hay. The problem with this habit is our computer screens bathe our faces in blue light waves. While blue light can boost our energy and mood during the day, exposure to it right before bed can prevent us from falling asleep. Blue light inhibits melatonin production and we need melatonin to make us sleepy. No melatonin, no sleep.
To help reduce the amount of blue light emitted by your computer screen, install the free app F.lux on your computer. F.lux automatically adjusts the amount of blue light waves emitted by your screen depending on the time of day. During the day, blue light waves are given off full blast. But as you get closer to nighttime, your screen will adjust its color so there are less blue light waves being emitted, allowing your body to produce melatonin so you’re ready to welcome Mr. Sandman when he comes to visit.