On Sunday, November 6, Daylight Saving Time ends at 2 a.m. ET. Most of us love this day as we settle into bed on Saturday night knowing we will get an extra hour of sleep.
According to the World Association of Sleep Medicine, Canadians are increasingly sleep deprived and sleep problems affect up to 45 per cent of the world’s population. It is estimated that 60 per cent of Canadian adults feel tired most of the time and get, on average, 6.9 hours of sleep a night which is less than the ideal of eight hours. Research indicates that 30 per cent of adults get fewer than six hours a night.
Sleep deprivation leads to increased incidence of car accidents, industrial disasters, as well as medical and other occupational errors. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that people who lack sufficient sleep are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as from cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity.
Technology can play a large role in sleep – both helping and hindering. Consider these top 4 tips to get you back to quality sleep every night as we head into Daylight Savings:
Turn off all electronic devices and limit screens time at least one hour prior to sleeping. Smartphone screens emit a blue light so you can see them at the brightest times of the day. This same light can confuse your brain at night and actually disrupt your sleep cycles. If you’re an iPhone owner with iOS 9.3 or higher, you can turn on a new feature called Night Shift, which automatically adjusts your phone display at a chosen time to given off warmer, less blue light. Cool, right?
Keep your sleep schedule consistent. Use built in alarms on your smartphone to fix a bedtime and an awakening time. Routine is the key to success; keep your night and morning within a 30 minute range.
Track and measure your sleep cycle. Technology can be used to create better habits in our lives. Most of us are aware that tracking our steps with wearable tech – like Fitbit and Withings – motivates us to move more. But, did you know that these same devices can measure the length and quality of our sleep, motivating us to adjust and improve our pre-sleep routines? If you’re not in the position to splurge on new equipment, you can also download a mobile app like Sleep Cycle.
Set a comfortable temperature for sleeping. Consider using a programmable thermostat, like NEST, which automatically adapts as your life and the seasons change. After just one week of use, it will program itself based on your daily routine and know just the temperature you like when you hit the pillow. Keeping a room well ventilated and cool is generally helpful for a sleep-filled night.
Losing even one hour of sleep can affect your ability to think properly and respond quickly, but the quality of sleep is important – REM sleep best! REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep is when you do most active dreaming; your eyes actually move back and forth during this stage.
Good luck – and let us know in the comments if you have any other technology that helps you sleep better at night.