Thursday, February 6, 2014

Future of Sleep Technology

The growing list of capabilities attributable to technological devices is growing at an exponential rate. Recently, health tracking apps have become very popular. There are many different ways in which apps can track you health, whether it be by tracking the amount of food you have eaten in a day, the amount of steps you have taken in a day or the amount of calories that you have burned in a day. These are all interesting app types, however, the sleep monitoring app gene has remained relatively undeveloped, until now.

Over the past two years there has been a rush, amongst technology start-ups, to develop sleep tracking apps. Sleep Matters has mentioned in the past post popular devices that monitor sleep, with both SleepRate and Aura by Withings being the examples. So, as a result this trend has inspired us to show you some of the coolest devices,currently on the market, that are able to track your sleep. 


Up by Jawbone is a device that you wear around your wrist. As it is located on your wrist, it uses your heartbeat to monitor your sleeping patterns. This device has capability to both monitoring when you toss and turn in your sleep, and while also detecting the length of you time you spend in different stages of sleep. After a night of sleep you will check the mobile based app, and then you can attempt to pinpoint what is effecting your sleep negatively. It is easy to use, and all you must do is wear it on the wrist. Up by Jawbone costs $130.

Sleep Cycle

Sleep Cycle is an interesting app. It does not require you to put anything on your body. All you must to do is download the app and put you IPhone onto your mattress before going to sleep. The app uses the accelormeter within you mobile device to track when you transition between different stages of sleep.

Studies show that the movements you make in your sleep are correlated with transitions between sleep stages. If you are looking for an app that does not require you to wear anything, go with Sleep Cycle. However, take into consideration that an app such as this will not be as accurate as an app that requires you to wear something on your person. The best part of Sleep Cycle is that it is FREE! 

Sleep Bot

Sleep Bot is very similar to Sleep Cycle, however, it is only offered for Android phones. Sleep Bot has a leg up on Sleep Cycle, though, because it is capable of monitoring sound. The apps ability to
track the sound of its surroundings while you are sleeping
enables it to tell you if and when you were snoring. It can also
diagnose you with Sleep Apnea, a diagnosis which would be
based upon the patterns of you breathing as well as your snoring.

The app is has the ability to make recommendations based upon the data it collects while you are sleeping. You can then, based upon the recommendations it makes, turn off a fan that may have caused you wake up during a cycle of light sleep. If you are an Iphone user and are starting to like the sound of the app, sorry but the Sleep Bot app is only available for Android users. This app does have more features than Sleep Cycle, the most popular of which is its sound tracking, a highly rated feature of the app amongst its users. Sleep cost comes at a price of free.99. 

Which sleep tracking device do you like best?
Aura by Withings
Sleep Cycle
Sleep Bot
Jawbone UP
Poll Maker

Thursday, January 30, 2014

10 Tips for Better Sleep

Do you feel groggy today? Do you feel that your brain is not operating at optimum efficiency? Well, this may mean that you are not sleeping enough. If you are looking for a solution or solutions to these issues, look no further than your current sleeping habits. If you are looking to improve your health, regardless of whether or not you are feeling tired on a regular basis, you should follow these 10 tips so that you can improve your health.

#1) Maintain a Consistent Sleep Schedule

#2)Drink Less Caffeine, Especially after 2 p.m.

#3) No TV, Computer, Tablet or Cell Phone 
        Immediately Before Sleep

#4) Do Not Go to Bed on an Empty Stomach 

#5) Do Not Go to Sleep on a Full Stomach

#6) Exercise as Often as Possible

#7) Limit Drinking before Bed  

#8) Keep Your Bedroom Dark and Quiet

#9) Investing in a Comfortable Mattress and Pillow 


#10) Attempt to Wake Up with your Internal Sleep Clock 
(waking up without an alarm clock) 


Friday, January 24, 2014

Caffiene, It is Disrupting Your Sleep


Caffeine is currently the stimulant most widely used by Americans on a regular basis. However, most Americans do not think about the potential ramifications that a 2 p.m. cup of coffee, consumed at to get through an afternoon lull, can have on their quality of sleep. Caffeine has a half life of 8 hours, meaning that it takes 8 hours for its effects on you alertness and wakefulness to ware off. So, if someone was planning on going to sleep at 11:00 p.m. , then they should not drink a cup of coffee, or consume any substance with caffeine for that matter, after 3:00 p.m.

Several studies have been conducted, including one which was done by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, to study the effects that caffeine has on humans. This study, done by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, took 24 test subjects, 12 men and 12 women, and separated them into three groups.  These group were allowed to drink coffee between 0 hours, 3 hours and 6 hours before going to sleep. The study found that that effects of caffeine disrupted all three of the group's sleeping patterns. The test results showed that caffeine did have a detrimental effect on the quality of the test participants sleep, suggesting that in order to prevent difficulty in falling asleep, people should attempt to cut off all consumption of caffeine 8 hours prior to going to sleep. If you are one of those people who feels they need to drink coffee in order to keep yourself going during the day, and there are plenty of us who do feel that way,  then you should attempt to replace that afternoon cup of coffee with a cup of tea.

Facts to Know

  • Caffeine 6 hours before bed will reduce sleep by at least 1 hour 
  • Cut off caffeine at 2 p.m. to assure restful sleep 
  • Deep, restorative sleep will be prevented if you consume caffeine after 2 p.m.

Caffeine Alternatives 
  • Apples --> an energizing fruit due to its high fructose content, which increases blood sugar and alertness
  • Vitamin B12 --> Increases blood melatonin levels, a naturally occurring chemical that facilitates healthy sleep

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Studying Your Sleep

Typically, it is required of a test subject to look like the man below in order to study that individual's sleep stats

Fortunately, if you are interested in obtaining this information without having eight monitors taped to your face, a company by the name of Withings has developed a minimally invasive product for you. It is called the Aura Smart Sleep System. Earlier this week, this system was put on display at the CES technology conference in Las Vegas. A video has been placed below depicting the functions of this system. It is cool for sure, check it out!

Let us know what you think about this system. Use #SleepMatters

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

New Years Resolution

A New Year, of Sleep

Today starts a new year. It is a time to reflect both upon the year that has passed, and upon the new year that is ahead of us. We also take it upon ourselves at this time to make a new year's resolution. A suggestion from us here at Sleep Matters would be to restructure your daily sleeping habits. It has been scientifically proven that a great night's sleep has drastically improves your performance both mentally and physically. Better sleeping habits can assist you in avoiding the negative effects of sleep deprivation. Improving you sleep habits can be simple. Try to set a regular sleep and wake time for yourself during both the  week and weekend. Check what time you wake up naturally without an alarm, so that you can asses how much sleep your body truly needs to restore itself.

Sleep is the golden ticket to a better life, however, it is severely undervalued. If you are looking to improve one aspect of your life than can create a positive influence on everything else you do, you should try consistently getting a good night's sleep. All you need to do is create better habits for yourself and stick with them. Good luck! We here at Sleep Matters will be right there with you. Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Sleep and Performance

On this blog we post information about sleep, however, we have not posted much content regarding the data behind the information we are providing. So, in this post I will show you some of the most interesting statistics that we have found up to this point in time. I recently came across several sources of information that provided some interesting statistics found during various studies on human sleep patterns, the environments that influence those sleep patterns, and what effects those patterns have on your performance. 

Pre-Sleeping Habits

  • 9 out of every 10 Americans reported using a technological device in the hour before going to sleep
    • TV is the most popular device, at 60%,  used before sleep [2.]
    • Those under the age of 30 more likely to use cell phones [2.]
    • Using these interactive devices makes it significantly more likely to have difficulty falling asleep [2.]
    • Using devices also increases the likelihood that that person will have less restful sleep [2.]

  • Interactive technological devices are most strongly associated with sleep complaints 

Sleep Deprivation Effects 

  • This blog is a big fan of Dr. Charels Czeisler, who is lauded within the community of neuroscientists who study sleep, who was influential in a study regarding the effects sleep deprivation has on cognitive abilities. [1.]
  • Sleep deficiency is a “deficit in the quantity or quality of sleep obtained vs. the amount needed for optimal health, performance [1.]
  • Sleep deficiency degrades immune, cardiovascular and metabolic function [1.]

Benefits of Sleep


Achieving Better Sleep

These images were taken from a lecture given  by Dr. Charels Czeisler. If you would like to watch the video, the link is provided in the references section. I would recommend trying to adhere to some of these suggested sleep habits. They are useful, and trust us here at #SleepMatters, it works. If you want to be more alert during the day, just try a few, they work.

Below are the resources used to obtain the information provided in this blog post 


1. Pack AI, Dinges DF, Gehrman PR, Staley B, Pack FM, Maislin G. Risk factors for excessive sleepiness in older adults. Ann Neurol. 2006;59:893–904. [PubMed]

2. Dinges & Powell, 1985; Doran, Van Dongen, & Dinges, 2001; Wyatt et al., 1999

3. A Sleep Epidemic: Charles Czeisler at TEDxCambridge 2011

Friday, December 13, 2013

What Type of Sleeper Are You?


If you have never heard this term before, you should. The term Chronotype refers to a way that Chronobiologist, those who study the rhythms of sleep in living things, categorize sleepers. There are two groups of Chronotype, larks and owls.

Larks -->  If you consider yourself a morning person, then you are a lark. If you are the type of person who maintains the habit of falling asleep early and waking up early then you are a lark. If you typically fall asleep around 11:30p.m., you are a lark.

Owls  --> If you look at yourself as a night person, then you are an owl. If you know that you are more alert in the evening than you are in the morning, then you are an owl. If you find yourself late at night wondering why you are not sleepy, you are an owl.

There is nothing that you can do to alter your Chronotype, because this is determined genetically. You are born with your sleeping habits. You may come from a family of people who are up until the wee hours of the morning every night, or you may be part of a family who has all of the lights in the house turned out at 10:00 pm. Regardless of what Chronotype you fall into, there is not point in trying to combat your type, as it cannot be changed. So, embrace your Chronotype, whether you are a lark or an owl, embrace the lifestyle you have inherited.

Guess who fits into the respective chronotypes