Why you should care
Because sleeplessness is a national epidemic.
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People need to get more, better quality sleep. That’s a scientifically proven fact, as medical organizations around the world have found that poor sleeping habits can negatively affect you in any number of horrible ways. It can make you fatter, uglier, sicker, angrier and even sadder. And the problem seems to affect everyone, from kids to senior citizens. The reasons for lack of sleep are vast and complicated, from our decreased activity levels as modern, overworked cubicle-dwellers to, some say, too much screen time while vegging out in front of LCD screens. So what the hell do we do, then? Are we doomed to a life of tiredness? Not really. It turns out that a healthier approach to sleep can help you.
Many doctors advocate making your bedroom more conducive to sleep by removing TV screens, as watching on your bed makes your brain associate it with wakefulness. So move that flat-screen TV to your living room! Another tip is to stop eating hours before you hit the sack, to avoid the digestive process that can get in the way of catching some z’s. And some experts are even advocating the use of all-new gadgets focused entirely on making you a healthier sleeper. Our OZY reporters have profiled some of these gadgets recently, so read on about them. We hope you’ll sleep better!
We’ve all heard that if you get enough sunlight, your circadian rhythms even out and help you sleep better at night. The science is solid: When light hits our eyes, the brain gets a signal to shut down the production of the sleep-inducing melatonin hormone. But many people have a hard time getting sleep because they either stay inside too much for work, where inconsistent lighting conditions permeate, or live in cloudy corners of the world. A couple of inventors have come up with a gadget called the Ayo (“eye-oh”), which they say improves the management of sleep hormones. How does it work? You wear it like Google’s Glass on your face as it shines a frequency of blue light onto your eyes, in 20-minute sessions. They claim it can fight symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. Read OZY’s story on the Ayo, excerpted here:
Dimitrov and co-founder Branislav Nikolic came up with the idea after experiencing sleep issues while working on their university degrees in the Netherlands. During the short, gloomy winter days, waking up and “keeping my energy levels high during the day” was a problem, Dimitrov recounts, and the pair found light boxes not easy to use. So, after two years of development at Bulgaria-based Novalogy, the Ayo — which looks curiously like the infamous Google Glass — was born.
The environment you sleep in, as mentioned above, is so important that some companies are going beyond light triggers. The Sense, a Nest-like spherical bedside device that analyzes your bedroom’s temperature, humidity, noise and air particles, aims to create an ideal, comfortable place. It comes with a companion gadget called the Sleep Pill, which is a tiny sensor you clip to your pillow to track movement. The system combines the data in an app that tracks your habits and scores them on a scale from 0–100. So if you are moving about too much at night, it docks points and gives you some advice about how to improve. That’s smart! Read OZY’s story on the Sense, excerpted here:
Couples can use the system with a second Sleep Pill so they can track their own sleep and find out if or how much they’re disturbing each other’s sleep. At last, an objective third party to back up complaints about snoring and cover stealing!
One somewhat secret reason people are losing sleep is because they don’t have the same schedule as their partner. The intelligent alarm clock Wakē (pronounced “wake-ee”) aims to solve that problem with an infrared heat sensor that focuses a beam of light onto your face, without bothering the loving snoozer right next to you. Read OZY’s story on the Wakē, excerpted here:
Sounds a little creepy, but here’s how it works: The sensor, which can accurately read temperatures to within a tenth of a degree, locates its intended target sleeper. A small motor swivels the Wakē so that it’s pointed at the sleeper’s head. At wake-up time, a bright white LED slowly illuminates, while the parametric speaker creates a cone of sound that only one person can hear. Settings and sounds are controlled by a free app. And there’s no need to turn the device off — that same sensor knows when you’ve left the bed.