You cannot ignore nature.
All animals need to sleep. Some more, some less, some in special ways – but they all snooze. If it wasn’t crucial to our survival and well-being, evolution would’ve ruled out the vulnerable, unproductive state we enter once a day.
However, getting enough slumber isn’t just about how long you sleep – but also how well.
If you wake up feeling groggy, it’s hard to perform at work, laugh with your friends, and show up for your family.
The modern world has artificial lights, noisy streets, and shift work, but there are a few inexpensive gadgets that may help you offset these factors.
If You Can’t Get Off Your Phone, Buy A Second One
Smartphones have become an integral part of our lives.
Unfortunately, we don’t always use them in the smartest ways. Late-night scrolling keeps your brain riled up and causes feelings of dissatisfaction. It also makes you stay awake much longer than you want because dopamine-driven apps keep you scrolling way past your bedtime. I’ve eliminated the risk with a simple one-time purchase that helped me fight fire with fire.
A few months ago, I bought a second smartphone – the cheapest one I could find. Then, I went through the following steps.
- Delete all apps
- Download the ones I need in the morning and evening (Spotify for music and podcasts, Insight Timer for my meditation)
- Install an app blocker to keep me from using any apps I couldn’t delete
- Set the screen to black and white.
This is now the perfect phone because it’s boring and I can only do with it what’s beneficial to my sleep – evening meditation, soothing music, and good-night audio books. To complete the magic, I moved my first phone’s charger into the kitchen so I couldn't see it and scheduled an automatic shut-off for 9:30 pm. I designed my environment to make it as hard as possible to be on my phone in the evening.
It has massively improved the amount and quality of sleep I get.
These Are The Best Two Items That Helped Me Eliminate Noise
Creating a great sleep environment isn’t easy.
Keeping the windows open lets in fresh air – and noise. I’ve lived next to a busy street for years, which is poison for your sleep quality, especially if you’re a light sleeper.
However, noise isn’t always bad. Studies show background white noise can help people sleep better because it drowns out other distracting sounds. All you need is a Bluetooth speaker and a white noise playlist on YouTube or Spotify.
If having sounds played on repeat isn’t your cup of tea, you can do what I did and get custom-made earplugs.
I’ve tried foam, wax, silicone, and cotton, but none came even close to custom-made ones. You won’t feel them at all. Due to the custom fit, they integrate seamlessly into the ear canal and block out noise.
All it took was a trip to an audiologist, who performed a quick check-up and took a mold. Two weeks later, I received them in the mail – and have been sleeping soundly ever since, even with the window open.
Eliminate noises, whether by drowning them out or blocking them altogether.
We all use blankets at night – but did you know they can do much more than keeping you warm?
In several studies analyzed by UCLA, researchers found participants who used a weighted blanket were able to fall asleep more easily, woke less frequently during the night, and even felt calmer during the day.
Even though weighted blankets were initially developed for people suffering from anxiety and similar conditions, they can help to reduce your heart rate and slow down your breathing, which makes falling asleep easier.
They consist of a normal blanket with small, sewn-in pockets filled with tiny spheres made of glass, plastic, or metal, or natural materials such as rice, grain, beans, or sand. Choose one that is no heavier than 10% of your body weight. If you suffer from Type 2 diabetes, asthma, sleep apnea, low blood pressure, or other circulatory problems, consult with your doctor first.
Simulating Daylight Helped Me Feel Less Groggy
Our brains and bodies are still stuck in the stone age.
Back then, alarms didn’t exist. Natural sunlight woke us up in the morning. It’s why you often feel like a truck hit you when your loud alarm rips you from dreamland.
If you’ve ever slept outside and woke up with the sunrise, you’ll have noticed how much smoother the whole experience is. While you’re still asleep, light penetrates your eyelids and hits your receptor cells, nudging you awake. You can simulate this experience in your own home.
I’m not a morning person – for the first twenty minutes, I have trouble remembering my name. But when I got a daylight alarm clock as a birthday present, it changed. Every morning, it bathed my room in naturally increasing sunlight until I slowly woke up – bird songs optional.
Instead of groggily sitting on the edge of my bed contemplating life choices for half an hour, I feel like I’ve already been awake for a while when I finally open my eyes.
These Gadgets Helped Me Sleep Like a Baby
The modern world has messed up our sleep patterns – but you can try to use technology to help you increase the quality of your slumber. Try these gadgets to see if they work for you:
- A second phone can help you avoid late-night and early morning scrolling, both of which disrupt your sleep patterns.
- Custom-made earplugs can help you eliminate outside noise. If they aren’t your cup of tea, try a bluetooth speaker with white noise to drown out distracting sounds.
- Weighted blankets can help reduce your heart and breathing rate, which may make falling asleep easier and slumber deeper.
- Daylight alarms can help with waking more smoothly and naturally instead of getting jolted out of a deep sleep phase.
The better you sleep, the better your days will be.