How well do you sleep?  I have no problems falling asleep.  But I absolutely struggle to get out of bed in the morning.  For a while now, I’ve convinced myself that it’s for two reasons: 1) I’m getting old, and 2) I have too much going on in my life.  Are either of those accurate? Well, I used to be able to get up at any hour of the day and immediately be “awake”.  Now, I hear my alarm and immediately want to roll over and go back to bed.  Which isn’t really an option most days.  What I have tried is going to bed earlier.  Which isn’t helping, because I find myself awake at 4 or 5 am, and awake… but still tried.  I would appreciate any kind of feedback on how you think I can rest up.

But in the mean time, I want to explore some innovative ways that technology is revolutionizing the way we sleep.  The first thing that caught my attention is the Phillips Wake-Up Light.  As I mentioned, I hate waking up in the morning, but what this does is allow you to wake up gradually.  The wake up light gradually increases the amount of light in your room for 30 minutes until your room is filled with bright yellow light.  This process is intended to stimulate your body to wake up in a more natural way.  In addition to the light, a chosen sound will alert you that it is time to wake up.  The theory is that your body responds to the light.  But it doesn’t necessarily wake you up right away.  I wonder how well it works?

In addition to waking you up, I wondered how this might be helpful for someone with Season Affective Disorder (SAD)?  Those who suffer from SAD are heavily impacted by the lack of light in the winter months.  Perhaps this type of light would help them, especially in the morning.  Most of the time my desire to stay in bed is sheer laziness.  However, if I’m even the least bit emotional or have any kind of stress in my life, this can make it worse.  Perhaps a natural light simulation would give me the boost I need.  Or maybe I just need to slow down?

What I find extremely interesting, though, is the lack of apps or devices to help people with this issue.  There are tons of apps to help you fall asleep.  Think of the typical white noise app.  Or whale sounds.  Or the sound of falling rain.  There are so many apps out there to help you to fall asleep, but not that many to help with the waking up situation.  I myself am exhausted by 9 pm, so falling asleep typically isn’t an issue.  But the harsh reality of 6 am is another matter.

In addition, there are several apps and devices that help you track your sleep.  So how well are you sleeping?  I’m pretty sure that I’m not sleeping “well”, but I think my sleep has improved over the last year.  I do a heavy workout every night from 6-7, so by 9 pm I’m exhausted.  I don’t always fall asleep that early, and typically try to stay awake longer.  But the point is – falling asleep and staying that way until 2 or 3 isn’t the challenge.  I often find myself waking up early and unable to get back to sleep.  I will usually get up and start doing laundry or cleaning the house until I’m tired enough to fall back asleep.  But I don’t always have that option.

So aside from the alarm clock, why aren’t there more helpful tools out there to help you wake up in the morning?  You’re probably thinking – because the alarm clock has been around for a million years (not literally) and is tried and tested.  But is it?  We rely so heavily on “things” when we run into issues.  Some people take sleeping pills to help them fall asleep.  Is that any better than an app?  While I’m not a doctor, I would wonder if listening to whale noises would be a better option (from a health perspective) than popping a pill every night before bed.

I’ve said this many times.  Technology is changing at such a rapid rate that it’s only a matter of time before we are more reliant on our devices for these types of “fixes”.  I don’t necessarily know that it’s a good thing, but only time will tell on that front.  The Phillips Wake Up Light is by no means new.  But I think the technology that it represents is pushing us into a direction that can provide us with more benefits. We don’t necessarily know what the health benefits will be.  Or if there are any, for that matter.  Sure, an app that makes rain sounds is not necessarily going to cause you any damage, but maybe you’re sleeping too close to your phone?  I wonder if we are too reliant on “things” to help us fall asleep.  And subsequently wake up.  Alarm clocks are pretty low technology, but have been around forever, and keep us on track.  Where would we be without them?

By Staff Writer

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