Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Sleeping with your phone

Smartphones are huge distractions when you try to sleep. Though this is the case, people have actually used smartphone apps to track sleep durations in many countries. One way is an app called Entrain. Using the app, Olivia Walch, Amy Cochran, and Daniel Froger were able to gather data on the sleep schedules of people.

Sleep is important
People are getting less and less sleep. We are distracted by work, social media, and the internet. This can affect our health negatively. If you don’t sleep enough, over time you increase your risk of getting a stroke, heart attack, high blood pressure, and obesity, among others. Olivia Walch et al. invented ENTRAIN to find out how sleep deprivation can be avoided.

Sunlight helps you sleep
They also found out that people who spend more time outside tend to go to bed earlier than people who spend their whole day inside. Even being out for 30-60 minutes improves your internal clocks, helping you sleep earlier than if you were inside the whole day.

Just go to bed early!They discovered that it’s not the time we wake up that predicts how long we will sleep, but the time we go to bed. This means the odds of you having a good night’s sleep aren’t affected by your morning schedule, but your nightly schedule. You sleep more if you don’t sleep late!

One and one is two
With this knowledge, it’s quite easy to ‘solve’ the sleep deprivation problem. If people spend more time in the sunlight and go to bed earlier, they will sleep longer and be healthier in general, considering all the health benefits of sleep. If we all try to get out more and go to bed earlier, humanity as a whole can become healthier and more productive. This is what the researchers tried with their app. ENTRAIN provided the users of the app with recommended bed times based on their age, gender, location, time spent outside, and other factors. All that advice with an app on the biggest sleep-killer in the world: the Smartphone.

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