We all know about the importance of getting a good night’s sleep and the effects of sleep on your health. There is a lot of information about sleep aids that can help us fall asleep and ways to prepare for a restful night (bedtime routine, no caffeine before bed, no technology before or in bed, etc.). But what if you are applying all those tips and are still not getting the quality beauty sleep you need? What else can you do to catch some quality Zzz’s?
There are plenty of subtle things that may go unnoticed in your bedtime routine. Luckily, there are plenty of tools and devices on the market today that can help monitor your sleep and aid in getting a good night’s rest (aside from a sensory deprivation chamber). Here are some top picks you can try:
Sense - This little gadget is chock full of useful features. It comes with a monitoring clip you can place on your pillowcase and pair up with the Sense unit. Once paired, the unit will monitor not only your sleep, but will monitor your bedroom for the ideal sleep environment. It will report on air quality, moisture level in the room, noise level, brightness and temperature. The unit will glow green to notify you if conditions are ideal; if not, it will glow red and notify you on the Sense app exactly what needs to be modified. The Sense unit will then track the time you fall asleep, how many times you wake up and noise disturbances throughout the night. You will receive a score on the quality of your sleep in the morning followed by questions asking you to rate your sleep. This is all recorded in your monthly sleep calendar so you can track your sleep patterns. The unit also has an alarm clock that will wake you during your lightest sleep cycle to prevent you from having a groggy morning. Keep in mind there are other Apps and devices that can do similar things, so find one that works best for you.
Humidifier - This tool as a sleep aid may seem obvious to some and not so obvious to others. Sleep can be affected by dry air as much as temperature (dry air can occur in hot and cold rooms). A cool mist humidifier can do wonders in helping control moisture levels in the room. It aids easier breathing by keeping the mucosal linings of the nose and throat moist. Dry mucosal membranes are not as effective at fighting off infections and can sometimes cause snoring or dry coughs during the night as well as colds.
White noise or sound machine - For those who are light sleepers or those who sleep in a busy household or live in a noisy neighborhood, a white noise machine can be very helpful. Studies show that the brain still continues to process sound while sleeping, so creating a constant sound via a machine would help drown out disturbances. Sound machines may also offer pre-recorded guided meditation along with sound options for rain, waves, birds and white noise. Research suggests that even the slightest sounds can disrupt your sleep depending on a variety of factors like stage of sleep, age and time of night. Fans, air conditioners and other devices that create a constant sound can also be used as a buffer to other background noises. If these household items don’t help, look into a sound machine. It’s also important to note, you may want to try several machines before finding one that works just right for you.
Light blocking curtains/eye masks - Light is another factor that influences the quality of sleep. Our brains are wired to be awake during daylight and sleep during the night. Artificial light and blue lights from our electronics also affect the brain’s ability to prepare for sleep and remain asleep. It’s best to leave electronics out of the bedroom, but if you must have them the light can be blocked with an eye mask. Eye masks are helpful in blocking light from reaching your eye cells (even if they are closed). Light blocking curtains are also helpful for ensuring no outside lights (street lights, passing cars, moonlight) can impact your sleep negatively and that your natural sleep rhythm is not thrown off.
Bottom line: It’s important to get restful sleep for good long-term and short-term mental and physical health. The tools mentioned in this article can greatly improve your quality of sleep when used regularly.
Written by: Sadaf Baig, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern. Learn more about Wellness Workdays and our wellness program offerings by downloading our brochure.