First of all, why should you care about sleep? Because your energy levels, immune function, appetite, weight and many other processes in your body depend on it! In our personal coaching program, we continually emphasize the importance of all aspects of health: sleep, stress, exercise, and last but not least, of course, nutrition. 🙂 That’s because our clients come to us with various goals (a common one being weight loss), and we’ve found that it’s essential to focus on a lot more than just the food they’re consuming in order for everything to fall into place so they can reach their goals. Whether you’re getting enough sleep or not has an impact on your hormones, hunger level, cravings and metabolism and that’s why you should care.
Secondly, what does technology have to do with it? Researchers have known for a while that exposure to blue light (that special light that screens emit) before you go to bed disrupts melatonin production which can interfere with sleep. I’ve learned this from experience. My solution was always to take more Pure Magnesium, MyoCalm Plus, and/or Melatonin, which are all surely effective, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized I was using these remedies as a band-aid. This approach was the opposite of our signature “find the root cause” mindset! I’ll also point out the obvious: a no-brainer solution to this late night technology dilemma would be to TURN. IT. OFF. But, as lovely as that sounds, with my current role, it's just not realistic for me. I know that you might be in a similar situation, so I’m thankful to have found and excited to share with you the following three apps… that have seriously saved my sleep!
Third, what are the three apps and how do they help!?
The apps I personally use are:
1. F.lux (for my Mac)
2. Twilight (because I have an Android phone)
3. Sleep Cycle (on my phone—available for both iOS and android devices)
Here's how I use them: F.lux and Twilight are both free apps that make the color of your screen adapt to the time of day by filtering the blue light emitted by your device after sunset. I won’t pretend to be a sleep expert, so you can read more on that here. You might be surprised that you don’t even notice these apps gradually changing your screen’s color, however, if you disable or pause it, you’ll be shocked at how bright your screen gets! I love that both of these apps give you the option of pausing or disabling them. I do this when I’m editing photos since the apps alter the color too much for me to do this type of work.
The F.lux website states that "an average person reading on a tablet for a couple hours before bed may find that their sleep is delayed by about an hour.” Replace “reading on a tablet” with “working on a computer” and that was me for way too long! I knew my evening use of technology was having a negative effect on my sleep but didn’t truly realize how much until I kept reading about the negative impact of blue light on sleep and set out to try something to fix it. I started with my amber goggles which worked just as well, but I would find myself not wearing them (I don't know why, actually. I’m sure it wasn’t because of how attractive they are…) Before, being on my computer or phone would keep me up at night and now I actually get tired like I should—even when I’m still using my devices!
Sleep Cycle is $0.99 and worth every penny. It tracks your movements to analyze your sleep patterns and wakes you up when you are in the lightest phase of sleep. This is supposed to help you wake up feeling more rested (instead of being jolted out of bed when your alarm clock goes off like too many of us do!) It’s become sort of a game for me when I wake up in the morning—I consider how rested I feel and guess the percentage of sleep that was actually quality, then I compare my guess with the analytics on the app.
We tell our clients that it’s not just the time they “clock in” to their bed that counts, but the quality of their sleep that matters (similar to our approach to calories, yes!?). This app encourages awareness as it shows you how much of your time in bed was actually quality.
These apps saved my sleep as a supplement to my existing bedtime regimen, which consisted of winding down a couple hours before bed, having a balanced bedtime snack a half hour before laying down, taking Pure Magnesium and keeping coffee, alcohol, and exercise all as far away from bedtime as possible.
Click the button to grab my free guide to make sure you have all your ducks in a row so that you can sleep well and feel rested, energetic and excited about life!