Sleep Trackers & Tech: Do they Help or Hinder our Sleep?

Sleep Trackers & Tech: Do they Help or Hinder our Sleep?
30th March 2020 James Brooke

Sleep Trackers & Tech: Do they Help or Hinder our Sleep?

Tempur suggests going back to basics for the best night’s sleep.

It’s a well-known fact that poor sleep has numerous negative effects on our health, happiness and wellbeing. From increased stress and anxiety, to poorer concentration and feeling irritable, lack of or poor-quality sleep can cause a wide range of ailments and problems.

Many of us can relate to the occasional night of broken sleep, however poor sleep for prolonged periods can lead to serious health issues, including heart disease and high blood pressure.

The overall state of the nation’s sleep patterns makes for worrying statistics – with only 30 per cent of Brits having the recommended seven hours’ sleep per night(1).

Fuelled by our relentless quest for better sleep, it comes as little surprise that the sleep tech industry is booming, with an estimated net worth of $30-40bn(2).

From wearable apps, bedroom accessories, special light fixtures and even sleep-aiding robots, the sleep tech world is ever-evolving and deemed by many as the answer to curing the global issue of sleepless nights.

However, when it comes to good sleep hygiene practices, some experts believe that far from helping us sleep better, sleep tech is a hindrance.

Tempur UK Managing Director, Tobin James, believes we should adopt a ‘back to basics’ approach for better sleep, rather than pinning our heavy-lidded hopes on an app or digital sleep aid.

Tobin says: “Falling asleep should be the most natural thing in the world as we spend around a third of our lives asleep. However, for many of us, achieving good sleep can be far easier said than done.

“The occasional poor night’s sleep is not usually cause for concern, but if you find yourself waking frequently in the night or suffering from poor sleep for prolonged periods, you may find yourself turning to sleep tech as a solution.

“With sleep however, unfortunately there is no quick fix, and sleep tech aids can sometimes do more harm than good. I always encourage clients to look first at their bedroom environment, diet and sleep routine before turning to technology. Often, it’s these simple adjustments to our lifestyle that can make a huge difference.

“Ask yourself, is my bedroom suitable for sleep? Is it dark enough and quiet enough? Have I exercised enough during the day to feel naturally tired? Have I spent the evening worried about work and scrolling through social media? Or have I made time to wind down with a book and hot drink? These may sound like simple steps but can make the world of difference when your head hits the pillow.

“Sometimes it’s as simple as stopping trying to sleep so much and giving yourself time and space to properly relax. Sleep is sacred and we all need it to function at our best, but often, gadgets can unwittingly keep us awake by emitting blue light and stimulating the brain – not ideal when you’re trying to drop off.”

Here the sleep experts at Tempur provide a guide to achieving the all-important goal of sleep.

Create a bedroom ‘sleep cave’

For good sleep, your bedroom environment should mimic a cave: dark, quiet and cool. Our body heat peaks in the evening and drops to its lowest levels while you’re asleep. Ensure your room is well equipped with a warm duvet and extra blankets if you’re prone to night-time chills, invest in blackout blinds to prevent any chinks of light getting in and wear earplugs if your street is noisy.

Banish blue light

Blue light emitted from gadgets, computers, phones and screens is an instant signal to our brains and bodies to stay awake. Place these items in a different room and use a traditional alarm clock rather than a phone alarm. When it’s dark, we release the chemical melatonin, which is crucial to trigger sleep as it makes the body relax and feel naturally drowsy, so don’t let blue light prevent you from dropping off.

Routine is everything

Our bodies crave routine, so the golden rule is to stick to the same time of waking up and falling asleep every day. Adults should ideally get a minimum of seven hours of sleep per night, so work out when you should be going to bed based on when you need to be up. If you know it takes time for you to drop off once in bed, then factor this in too.

Get moving

Incorporate exercise into your daily routine to increase your natural tiredness. Take a walk during your lunch break rather than eating at your desk or get off the bus a few stops earlier to increase your step count. Try different exercise classes to find one that suits you; yoga, boxing, and dance are popular choices for those that get bored with jogging or the gym. Get outside at the weekends for a dose of fresh air and exercise – your sleep quality will only improve.

Day sleeper

There are different schools of thought when it comes to sleeping during the day. Random naps can disrupt our overall sleep pattern and have an adverse effect, however there are instances when napping or sleeping during the day can’t be avoided, such as working a night shift.

If this is the case, it’s best to incorporate napping into your daily routine on an ongoing basis. Make sure naps take place around the same time and for the same length of time. A good sleep routine is everything, after all.

Natural sleep-aids

A warm bath with essential oils and a hot drink before bed can do wonders to help the body relax and unwind pre-sleep. Stick to herbal teas rather than caffeinated or alcoholic drinks (chamomile is sleep-inducing). Try adding Magnesium powder to your hot drinks as this aids relaxation and supports GABA, a neurotransmitter that promotes sleep and regulates the body’s stress-response system. Magnesium supplements are available in many health stores.

It’s essential that your diet includes magnesium-rich foods such as dark leafy greens (kale, spinach), legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains to absorb plenty of magnesium for better sleep.

Invest in a good quality mattress that suits your needs

We spend up to a third of our lives asleep, so investing in a quality mattress can really make all the difference to your sleep quality. A good mattress will gently support your entire body while keeping your spine in a neutral position. This will not only help improve your quality of sleep – the more comfortable and supported you are, the less you will toss and turn – but will also help muscles recover overnight and alleviate any aches and pains.

For more information on Tempur, visit www.tempur.co.uk

-Ends-

Notes to editors:

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About TEMPUR
TEMPUR researches, develops, engineers, manufactures and distributes mattresses, pillows and other sleep products to improve the sleep experience worldwide.

TEMPUR mattresses and pillows are made from a formulation of the brand’s proprietary pressure absorbing TEMPUR material, originally developed by NASA in the 1970s to support and cushion astronauts during lift-off.

TEMPUR mattresses offer maximum quality, comfort, support, durability, value for money and aid a restorative night’s sleep.

TEMPUR products can be purchased direct via the TEMPUR UK website, from any of eleven TEMPUR brand stores and outlets, or from leading retailers including Dreams, John Lewis, Bensons for Beds, Furniture Village and leading independent retailers.

Trusted and promoted by medical practitioners around the world, TEMPUR is the only mattress product recognised by NASA and certified by the Space Foundation.

TEMPUR is a subsidiary of TEMPUR Sealy International Inc.

www.tempur.co.uk

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