Useful tools to help improve your sleep

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Photograph: Andrew Roberts

f.lux

Price: Free     Platforms: Windows, Mac OS, Linux

If you are the type of person who uses their computer/laptop late into the night, for either studying or procrastinating purposes, you may often complain to yourself or others about not being able to get to sleep properly. The main cause of this is likely to be the ‘blue light effect’ which is when your brain remains active even after using electronic screens at night. This is because computer screens are, by default, designed to light up like the sun. Obviously ‘looking into the sun’ at 11pm isn’t the greatest idea. For anyone interested the website for the program lists relevant academic research which aided the developers in their creation of f.lux.

What f.lux (or Flux) does is ‘warms’ your computer’s display to help counteract any potential ‘blue light’ effects. The ‘warming’ of your computer’s display is a gradual process and is in direct relation to when you want to wake up the following morning. It is an incredibly useful program for students because it makes late night article reading or essay writing much easier, and will help improve the quality of your sleep. F.lux is more than worth checking out and using, I found it an amazing tool to help me get through my final year so go and have look now; you won’t regret it.

 

Sleep Cycle

Price: 0.79/0.99p    Platforms: Android, iOS.

For a lot of, if not most, people, students especially, waking up and getting out of bed is the biggest struggle of the day.  Sleep Cycle is an app which you can use to help out in this process. The app is extremely useful for two reasons. One, the app allows you to track your sleeping habits and provides you interesting and useful data relating to your sleep. The data is presented in easy-to-understand graphs which allow you to see where you may need to make potential changes with relative ease.

Two, the app’s alarm clock will wake you at the optimum point during the time period you as the user decide on when you want (or need) to get up. Sleep Cycle uses your phone’s (or tablet’s) microphone to track your movements so it will know to wake you when you are at your ‘lightest’. Meaning you are much more likely to avoid waking up during the deepest part of a sleep cycle; which is when you would feel extremely groggy.

Alongside using Sleep Cycle it might be worth your time to go and visit sleepyti.me. This useful web page asks you to input the time you are wanting to wake up and identifies a list of ideal times for you to fall asleep. It takes 14 minutes, on average, for people to fall asleep once in bed so don’t forget to take that into account.

 

Hopefully these suggestions will help retain quality sleep throughout your year of study (and everything else).