How to get a good night’s sleep

Technology tips that can help you wake up refreshed

Moon in cloudy night sky long

The nights might be long and dark at this time of year, but according to the UK’s Sleep Council, the amount of sleep we’re getting is lower than ever. The good news? There are some simple and effective solutions.

Get more organised

According to Dr Gareth Gaskell from The University of York , sleep not only consolidates memories but also helps to organise and prioritise them for later reference. If you have a heavy workload, it can help to write to-do lists of tasks to tackle the next day.

Tech tip: The Withings Aura Smart Sleep System monitors your sleeping environment via a sensor placed under your mattress and a bedside lamp. All the information it gathers is then fed back to your phone.

Feeling groggy?

The average adult gets 6.5 hours sleep a night, but even you’re getting the right amount, you could be waking up at the wrong time, says Professor Richard Wiseman from the University of Hertfordshire. Set your alarm to coincide with the end of a 90-minute sleep cycle and your body will be in the lightest stage of sleep.

Tech tip: The SleepCycle app (available via iTunes) is an intelligent alarm clock that tracks your sleep habits to pinpoint the best moment to wake you.

Shifting a few pounds

If you’re battling with a January diet, then you might want to start in the bedroom, not the gym. A poor sleep cycle could be responsible for that extra weight, says Professor Bruce Bailey from Brigham Young University. His study showed that those who kept to a consistent sleep schedule had less body fat.

Tech tip: The Jawbone UP wristband monitors exercise and sleep levels as well as what you eat, so you can keep track of how your nightly habits are affecting your lifestyle.

Silence is Golden

Are you kept awake by the slightest little noise, whether it’s the hum of traffic or a TV on standby? At 40 decibels, even a dripping tap is loud enough to wake you at night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

Tech tip: Investing in high quality earplugs will help filter out bothersome background noises without blocking the sound of the alarm clock in the morning.

Rise and shine

Getting a good dose of blue light in the morning – which is emitted from smartphones (so best to avoid them at night) – could wake you up better than caffeine, says Professor Christopher Beaven from Mid Sweden University. In his study, people exposed to an hour of blue light did better in timed reaction tests than those who consumed the caffeine equivalent of three coffees.

Tech Tip: The Philips portable goLITE BLU Energy Light emits a blast of blue light and is stronger than a smartphone light.

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