Sleep is imperative for maintaining emotional wellbeing and good physical health. Whilst we’re asleep our body and brain works hard to regulate hormones which regulate mood, energy and growth, renew cells, process the events of the previous day and kick-start our memory.
“The importance of getting a decent night’s sleep should never be underestimated. Sleep plays an important role in mental and physical health, with your body using this time to renew and repair. However, it’s very easy to make a habit of going to bed too late, or not being able to switch off when you do eventually turn in for the night.
“Sometimes a few lifestyle changes are all that’s needed to boost your sleep levels, such as establishing a routine, eating dinner earlier in the night or avoiding TV and mobile phone screens before bed. Sleep trackers are also a great way of monitoring your rest patterns. However, if stress, anxiety or other mental health issues are what’s keeping you awake, getting help and support – including seeking advice from your GP – is recommended. Tackling sleepless nights is a crucial step to improving overall health and wellbeing.” Dr Doug Wright, Medical Director for Aviva UK Health
The relationship between sleep and depression is a complex one. Not getting enough sleep certainly exacerbates depressive symptoms yet a change in sleep habits is also one of the symptoms of depression. It’s a catch-22.
A study carried out by PLOS One has concluded that increased smartphone screen-time has been linked to lower sleep quality.
As smartphones play such an integral way in how we live, work and communicate, we wanted to find ways for them to aid a good night’s sleep.
Our smartphones emit a blue light which affects our circadian timing. f.lux adjust the colour of the light that your phone emits. In turn, helping your circadian timing.
f.lux isn’t available on iOS devices, but there is a built-in feature called Night Shift.
Sleepio is a six week sleep improvement program. It has been designed by sleep expert Prof Colin Espie and features the latest Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques. It is clinically proven to help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep through the night and feel better during the day – whether you’ve had poor sleep for weeks, months or even years.
SleepBot tracks your sleep activity in order to help you get a good night’s rest and wake you up at just the right time. SleepBot uses your device’s accelerometer and can even be set to record sounds. The app’s smart alarm lets you set a range of time to be woken up, with the app deciding to trigger the alarm based on your sleep activity. Besides the smart alarm, SleepBot includes an array of sleep tracking metrics (such as a sleep debt log) and a detailed knowledge base to help you learn about smart sleeping habits.
Sleep Cycle takes the scientific approach to waking you up after a good night’s rest. Using the device accelerometer to record your sleeping habits, the app uses sleep cycle theory and aims to wake you at just the right time to ensure optimal rest. Users set a window of time (say a 30 minute stretch) instead of a traditional pinpoint alarm time, and when the app judges that your sleep movement is just right, it will ring the alarm to wake you. In addition to the smart alarm, Sleep Cycle records your sleeping habits for tracking sleep quality over time.
Deep Sleep with Andrew Johnson
Pzizz helps users slip gently into sleep using a combination of music, words, sound effects and binaural beats to help you de-stress and re-energize. Once users set a listening duration (10 minutes to 10 hours), pzizz generates a unique sleeping soundtrack for you every time from its library of built-in media. Users can adjust the volume levels of music, sound effects and vocal tracks to achieve the desired effects, and with more than 10 billion possible combinations of audio elements, the app won’t be repeating itself any time soon.
What apps have you found to be most useful in aiding a good night’s sleep? Let us know in the comments below.
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