"Clap On, Clap Off" for the 21st Century
Whether you read in bed before going to sleep, or have a habit of crashing with the lights on, getting up to hit that light switch can seem insurmountable once you're cozily wrapped in the covers. Consider Lutron's remote dimmers, which let you adjust lights from across the room via remote control. Many of their switches use IR and can be controlled by your home theater remote, which is especially handy if you have a TV in your bedroom. With a Logitech Harmony programmable remote, you could shut everything down with one touch, ensuring a dark, calm sleeping environment.
Don't Glow in the Dark
We're connected to some sort of screen almost constantly — phone, laptop, television, desktop, tablet, etc. We're often told to put away our gadgets for the sake of etiquette, but there may be another reason to escape the pervasive electronic glow: quality of sleep. In their 2011 poll of sleep habits, the National Sleep Foundation found that using electronics in the hour before sleep may interfere with our sleeping patterns. Excessive exposure to artificial light after dusk can trick one's brain out of its normal circadian rhythm. The press release is a great read full of fascinating information and helpful advice. I can't help but agree with this tip: "Treat your bed as your sanctuary from the stresses of the day."
Though this may sound obvious to some, I still know many who manually set their alarm each night. To avoid a needlessly stressful morning, set a daily repeating alarm on your phone or alarm clock. Many smartphones even allow for alarms that only trigger on weekdays. Not only will this reduce the likelihood of error, but having a consistent sleep schedule can also lead to a more restful night and more energized day.
Even Tweets Need Some Rest
Push notifications are a great way to keep up on your favorite sports teams or twitter feeds, but a constant stream of buzzes and beeps throughout the night is no way to relax. Many apps, such as Tweetbot, have customizable nighttime sleep modes, which temporarily turn off notifications during a set period. Take a look through your favorite apps to see if they have such a feature!
Don't Miss Your Stop!
For early morning commuters, the train offers one last chance to catch a few winks. If you're an iPhone 4S owner, try using location-based reminders to avoid oversleeping and missing your stop. Just ask Siri, "remind me to wake up when I get to Grand Central Terminal." This can also be accomplished manually on older models (as long as they're running iOS 5) using the Reminders app. Your phone will beep and display "wake up" when the GPS detects that you've reached your destination. Just remember to account for lack of service or GPS signal in underground train stations. Perhaps you should ask Siri to disturb your slumber a couple of stops back, just in case!
These are my tips for using tech to sleep soundly. Do you have any favorite apps, gadgets, or techniques for aiding in sleep? Share your solutions in the comments!