To try and help mitigate the damage to our collective brains, York Vision has brought together some of the best modern sleep aids, how the function, and how they can help.
Sleeping is hard. Every student, from fresher to PhD begins to realise this at some point of their studies, whether it’s due to being in Kuda until 4am or hearing your flatmates go out. Again. For the 4th time this week. And your room is next to the kitchen.
Calm, who offer meditation, sleep and relaxation services, is one of the most downloaded sleep apps available on the Google Play Store right now. It also offers a range of services not directly related to sleeping, such as meditation and relaxation tips. For all you anxious people out there (of which I count myself a lifelong member) this might be a good shout, as whilst it doesn’t allow you to directly track your sleeping pattern, it will probably help with the basic action of falling asleep in the first place. You can contrast this service with Headspace, which comes free with a student membership of Spotify Premium. Headspace offers similar services, although more specifically focused on mindfulness hints and tips. A ten minute meditation session, before you fall asleep, has in my experience been very useful, especially in the run up to exams or other stressful times. These services can be life changing, but can also be hit and miss.
If you’re feeling that the phone isn’t going to help, what with it’s pernicious screen and annoying aspect of having the entire world’s information at the tap of a thumb, most modern smartwatches such as the Fitbit Versa offer various sleep tracking services. Whilst this, unlike Calm or Headspace, doesn’t offer some active sleep aid, it can easily track how you sleep, how your sleep pattern cycles and many other fun and interesting pieces of information. This can be easily used to figure out what’s going wrong (too much caffeine one day, Salvo being way too fun the next) so you can fix it yourself. The benefit of it being on your wrist, and therefore tracking your sleep via movement as opposed to most apps, which monitor breathing sounds, allows increased accuracy and makes sure you don’t sleep next to the one thing probably preventing you from sleeping the most. All that is aside from all other things a smartwatch can do. I strongly recommend such pieces of wearable technology, even if you do have to add another thing to charge to your daily routine.
Sometimes, tech isn’t the answer. One of the best methods to improve your sleep is effectively a total body de-radiation, removing all tech from your surroundings turning the lights way down low. This presents obvious difficulties to those amongst us who get separation anxiety from twitter unless it’s being checked once every conscious hour. But it’s undeniably true that light given off by phones can disrupt the body’s circadian rhythms, sounds from it can wake us up, and the content, well that can be downright terrifying. Putting your phone out of reach before you sleep is a golden tip for better nights and brighter days.