The best sleep apps: how modern smartphone technology helps you fall asleep

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Sleep is such a frag­ile thing. Some­times it can be dif­fi­cult to fall asleep despite being tired, and even hard­er to wake up despite the urgent need. But if we are not talk­ing about seri­ous sleep dis­or­ders, but about com­mon dis­or­ders asso­ci­at­ed with the hus­tle and bus­tle of life and stress, then you can deal with them with the help of impro­vised means. Almost every­one owns a smart­phone these days – and there are plen­ty of mobile apps designed for peo­ple with sleep prob­lems. Healthy­in­fo shares the results of the analy­sis of the “sleepy king­dom” of mod­ern dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies.

Sleep problems worldwide

Sleep problems worldwide

Accord­ing to experts from the US Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion (CDC), one in three adults suf­fers from insom­nia.

In Rus­sia, this fig­ure is even high­er: doc­tors talk about 45% of the adult pop­u­la­tion who reg­u­lar­ly encounter sleep dis­or­ders. More­over, 20% of cit­i­zens expe­ri­ence sleep prob­lems reg­u­lar­ly and are unable to cope with them by any means. Sci­en­tists point out that the increase in “sleep­less” peo­ple in our coun­try has occurred over the past 25 years. And 70% of peo­ple sur­veyed suf­fer­ing from insom­nia point to the main rea­son for this — stress.

Women expe­ri­ence sleep prob­lems 1.3 times more often than men. Old­er peo­ple over 65 fall asleep 1.5 times hard­er than young peo­ple, and the qual­i­ty of night sleep in old­er peo­ple is 3–4 times worse. And even against the back­ground of these fright­en­ing fig­ures, some doc­tors believe that we should talk about the under­diag­no­sis of sleep prob­lems, since many peo­ple do not con­sid­er it impor­tant to con­sult doc­tors, unless we are talk­ing about chron­ic and dead­ly lack of sleep for the psy­che and body.

Often, such patients try to solve the prob­lem on their own, buy­ing insom­nia reme­dies at the phar­ma­cy lit­er­al­ly at ran­dom. The inept use of drugs with­out a doc­tor’s rec­om­men­da­tion can cause the devel­op­ment of addic­tion and, as a result, the man­i­fes­ta­tion of var­i­ous neg­a­tive side effects. These include: day­time sleepi­ness, dete­ri­o­ra­tion of cog­ni­tive process­es (mem­o­ry, think­ing, abil­i­ty to con­cen­trate, etc.), the “recoil effect” after drug with­draw­al, affect­ing the REM sleep phase.

But the prob­lem of insom­nia asso­ci­at­ed with stress and exces­sive fatigue of the body can be solved even with the help of impro­vised means. For exam­ple, using a smart­phone, a gad­get that the major­i­ty of the pop­u­la­tion has today.

Smartphones, sleep and health

Smartphones, sleep and health

Mod­ern gad­gets allow you to use all pos­si­ble ways to influ­ence the human ner­vous sys­tem, improv­ing his sleep. These are visu­al and audio effects, and con­trol over cir­ca­di­an rhythms — every­thing that will allow you to set up your body for a sweet, strong and pro­duc­tive sleep.

Music and sleep sounds

Music and sleep sounds

Such appli­ca­tions are col­lec­tions of relax­ing music, under which sleep will come by itself. Relax­ation music is often com­bined with the sounds of nature. One of the most effec­tive sound com­plex­es for sleep is the so-called “white noise”.

White noise is a con­stant noise effect across the entire spec­trum of sound fre­quen­cies, as if a per­son is lis­ten­ing to all sounds at the same time. This cat­e­go­ry also includes such every­day sounds famil­iar to us as the noise of rain, a hair dry­er, a wash­ing machine, a busy high­way, and even the hiss of a radio when turn­ing the tun­ing knob between sta­tions. White noise lev­els out any exter­nal sounds, dis­solves them in itself, there­by not allow­ing the brain to “catch on” to the sound that falls out of the gen­er­al noise back­ground. White noise is often used to rock babies — stud­ies have shown that they fall asleep 3 times faster.

A life hack for young moth­ers: if a child falls asleep and needs to be trans­port­ed, for exam­ple, from home to the street, you can put a mobile phone in a portable cra­dle that plays a record­ing of white noise. This will pro­tect the hear­ing of a sleep­ing baby from the sound con­trast between a qui­et apart­ment and a noisy street.

Relax Melodies Source: play.google.com

One of the most pop­u­lar mobile appli­ca­tions with relax­ation music. Con­tains a vari­ety of col­lec­tions of melodies, sounds and nois­es designed to relax the brain and relieve ner­vous ten­sion. The pro­gram also allows you to cre­ate your own soporif­ic com­bi­na­tions from your favorite “sleepy” melodies and sooth­ing sounds includ­ed in the appli­ca­tion’s selec­tion.

Sleep Timer Source: play.google.com

This appli­ca­tion allows you to use any melody or noise com­po­si­tion that best lulls a per­son to fall asleep. And so that the gad­get does not turn it all night, you can install an appli­ca­tion that turns it off after a cer­tain spec­i­fied time.

What color is the night: light applications

What color is the night: light applications

It is best to sleep in com­plete dark­ness, so that no light sources inter­fere. But about falling asleep, every­thing is not so sim­ple. The most harm­ful light for peo­ple suf­fer­ing from insom­nia is blue. It sup­press­es the pro­duc­tion of the sleep hor­mone mela­tonin. That is why it is rec­om­mend­ed to turn off all the “blue screens” in the room for the com­ing sleep: tablets, TVs and even elec­tron­ic devices with blue LEDs.

But the red light, on the con­trary, soothes and induces sleep. It has been proven to reduce anx­i­ety, relieve stress, and even, accord­ing to some stud­ies, reduce headaches and clear a stuffy nose. It affects the pro­duc­tion of mela­tonin — and thus is extreme­ly use­ful for a per­son who wants to fall asleep quick­ly. Where do you get the red light from? You can just buy an infrared light bulb. Or you can use the mobile app.

Twilight Source: play.google.com

This pro­gram, after sun­set, fil­ters out the blue spec­trum radi­a­tion on the smart­phone and expos­es a red fil­ter instead. As the sun ris­es, the pic­ture returns to its usu­al col­ors. The time of sun­set and sun­rise is deter­mined auto­mat­i­cal­ly via the Inter­net, based on the area where the smart­phone is locat­ed.

Night Light Source: play.google.com

An appli­ca­tion for those who do not like black nights. It can play the role of a night light and allows you to choose the desired light. The pro­gram com­bines both the sound com­po­nent and the visu­al one. That is, in addi­tion to the gen­tle illu­mi­na­tion of the select­ed shade (and we remem­ber the ben­e­fits of red light!), It can also play the select­ed sleepy music and sounds of nature.

Sleep Cycle Management

Sleep Cycle Management

For good sleep, it is impor­tant not only to fall asleep quick­ly and eas­i­ly, but also to wake up on time. Dur­ing the night, a per­son “wakes up” sev­er­al sleep cycles, each of which lasts an aver­age of 1.5 hours. It is believed that we should get at least 4–5 sleep cycles per night.

Each cycle con­sists of two main phas­es:

    Slow-wave sleep, which occupies 75–80% of the total sleep duration. At this time, the body accumulates energy for the next day, and also stores the so-called conscious “declarative” memories in memory.
    REM sleep, which immediately follows a slow one and lasts only 10–15 minutes. It is believed that at this time there is an exchange of data between the subconscious and consciousness of a person and the processing of the information received during the day. Numerous bodily functions are activated during REM sleep. Vivid dreams are observed at this time.

It is impor­tant to under­stand: it is bet­ter to wake up between cycles or dur­ing REM sleep. It is bet­ter to get up ear­li­er than to sleep an extra half an hour, and then painful­ly shake your­self out of bed in the mid­dle of the phase of non-REM sleep. It is believed that in this case, in order to ful­ly recov­er, you need to spend at least an hour. So the extra, break­ing the cycle, half an hour will only increase the feel­ing of lack of sleep.

To learn how to con­trol your sleep, you must first enter indi­vid­ual data into the appli­ca­tion. For this, for exam­ple, a built-in micro­phone can be used, with the help of which the pro­gram mon­i­tors sounds and deter­mines in which phase of sleep a per­son is. To con­trol the move­ments of the sleep­er, an accelerom­e­ter is used, also built into the phone — the method of ana­lyz­ing sleep and wake­ful­ness is called actig­ra­phy. But fit­ness bracelets work best, allow­ing you to track sleep cycles by chang­ing your heart rate.

Sleep Cycle Source: play.google.com

This appli­ca­tion ana­lyzes a per­son­’s sleep using a mobile phone micro­phone and deter­mines sleep cycles based on the results. You can set a 30-minute inter­val — and the pro­gram will deter­mine at what point in the spec­i­fied time it is best to wake up its user, with min­i­mal dam­age to his rest. Record­ing data allows you to keep sleep sta­tis­tics and, as a result, choose the most opti­mal sched­ule for falling asleep and wak­ing up. By the way, the pro­gram at the same time mon­i­tors and mea­sures the lev­el of snor­ing.

Sleep as Android Source: play.google.com

This is exact­ly the kind of appli­ca­tion that ana­lyzes night activ­i­ty using actig­ra­phy. It is enough to put the smart­phone under the pil­low so that it con­trols the move­ments of a per­son and cal­cu­lates sleep cycles based on them. For awak­en­ing, the most suit­able inter­val is also indi­cat­ed, dur­ing which the return from dreams to real­i­ty will be min­i­mal­ly uncom­fort­able. The pro­gram allows you to make sleep sched­ules to find out the opti­mal dai­ly rou­tine. It also responds to snor­ing — and even gives a “spy” abil­i­ty to record every­thing that the user talks about in a dream.

ai generated, woman, robot
ai generated, woman, flowers
ai generated, woman, paint
ai generated, woman, mysticism
ai generated, clown, joker

Pillow Source: itunes.apple.com

And in this appli­ca­tion, all the sen­sors of the smart­phone are involved: the pro­gram mon­i­tors both sounds and move­ments. In addi­tion, it is inte­grat­ed with the Apple Health app, which means it uses the fol­low­ing data: blood pres­sure, weight, heart rate, calo­rie intake, and even the effects of alco­hol and caf­feine. As a result, you can get a visu­al­iza­tion of the influ­ence of all these fac­tors on the sleep of a par­tic­u­lar per­son.

By Yraa

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