When we don’t sleep enough, pretty much everything in our bodies starts to slow down and work less efficiently. You struggle to get things done because you don’t have any energy and you’re so tired you can’t focus. When we’re sleep deprived our memory gets worse, our immune system weakens, and it even stresses your heart. All different parts of our body need that sleep to regulate everything and keep the complicated system of your body balanced and healthy.
Very few people really get all of the sleep they actually need to function well. Sometimes it’s a scheduling problem. Our lives are so busy and there’s always so much to do that it’s hard to set things down and find the time to just lie down and sleep. But maybe you crunch the numbers and set aside the time for sleep, but then you toss and turn all night or you just lie there wide awake, staring at the ceiling. Maybe you even fall asleep, but then the next morning you wake up feeling drowsy and exhausted, even after a full 8 hours of sleep!
“There are a lot of different possible explanations for chronic sleep issues, and persistent ones may require a medical professional to diagnose and treat them,” says Laurence Green, attorney and co-founder of Berger and Green. “But that doesn’t mean there aren’t improvements in their sleep people can make on their own.” If you’re ready to make some changes and try to start sleeping better, try some of these apps to help you figure out your problems and address them.
Monitor Your Sleep With SleepCycle
Apps like SleepCycle are a good first step toward helping you not only sleep better, but wake up better. You turn on these apps and leave them on the bed, and they’ll listen and analyze your sleep patterns throughout the night. These apps will help you find out if you’re really sleeping restfully or not, and they might pick up on issues you’d want to follow up on with a doctor. By tracking your sleep cycles, this app and others like it will try to wake you up at the optimum time to reduce grogginess and make your morning easier.
Dimming the Lights With F.lux
Using your phone and other electronics keeps your mind active and may stop you from fully relaxing in time to sleep when you want to, so many doctors recommend turning off the phone at least an hour or two before it’s time to get in bed. That’s not always a realistic expectation though, so one thing you can do to help, if you’re still going to be using your phone or computer before bed, is to download an app like f.lux. Apps like this one change the color of the light used in your computer or phone’s display setting, adapting it to the specific time of day. Some research suggests the blue light used in a lot of technology displays helps keep our brains active and awake, so this is a way to fight that tendency and help you relax.
Relax With Deep Sleep
Often the biggest problem for people when they want to sleep but can’t is that they’re too busy worrying and stressing about everything they have on their plate. You won’t be able to get to sleep right when you want to if you can’t get your mind off of work and the latest crisis. Luckily there are many apps out there like Deep Sleep to help you more effectively calm down and transition from work mode to sleep mode. Apps like this one can guide you through anxiety-reducing meditation to prepare you for sleep. Some apps include white noise generators or music to help you start breathing deeply and letting yourself relax.