Dealing with insomnia? If you are looking to maximize your restful sleep or improve your sleep in general, here are some things you can try. This is not direct advice, but rather a menu of things for your consideration. You can then see how your lifestyle changes might be affect your sleep with your SleepWatch results.
- Reduce blue light exposure before bed time. Use Apple's "night shift" feature after 7pm.
- Use "theater mode" on your Apple Watch. By using theater mode, your Watch's screen will illuminate with a press of a button, instead of triggering from wrist motion. This can help ensure that the watch screen does not arouse you while you wear it during sleep.
- Do not disturb. Use do not disturb on your phone and watch to keep those pesky notifications from arousing you during sleep hours.
- Get 20 minutes of physical activity in daily. If you can be active for at least 20 minutes a day, it may help you rest better that evening. This tip may also be helpful for improving your nightly heart-rate dip.
- Improve Sleep Rhythm. Try to get to bed at the same time every night. Improved Sleep Rhythm may help you shorten sleep onset latency and may also help improve the quality of sleep. “Indeed, stability of the bedtime and rise-time is considered to be key for proper entrainment of the circadian system and, as such, structured sleep schedules are a central target of behavioral treatments for insomnia.”
- Consider a nightly ritual to start winding down for sleep. Target to start your wind down routine about an hour before your planned bedtime. Devote that time only to relaxing and stress-reducing activity such as meditation, breathing exercises, listening to relaxing music, reading a book, or taking a warm shower.
- Dark environment. As Dr. Gene said, "Don't Be Afraid of the Dark." If you can safely reduce the ambient lighting, it may help you achieve that deep recuperative slumber associated with “deep sleep”.
- Temperature. Try to set the temperature between 60F and 67F. If this is too cold for you, you can complement with a blanket.
- Reduce ambient sounds. If you sleep in a noisy neighborhood, or hotel, grab those ear plugs.
Waking Tips & Alarms
- Avoid shock from Alarms. Alarms with snooze, in particular, can be harmful over time. Alarms can cause sudden increases in heart-rate. If you cannot do without one, try to find one with pleasant sounds that start out quiet and increase volume over time.
- Use temperature as a soft alarm. If you have a Nest thermostat, consider raising your bedroom temperature to 74F 30 minutes before your desired wake up time. You can always complement with your regular alarm as a fail safe, if you have a hard deadline for waking.
About Sleep Cycles
- Psychology today writes that we should not worry about optimizing a sleep cycle or waking up during the right stage of sleep.
- Instead focus on sleep rhythm as “your body likes predictability”.
- From our Previous blog: Melatonin, often called the "sleep hormone", is released when cells in our retinas observe darkness as the sun is setting. Melatonin levels rise in the early evening, peak around 3AM and then decrease to a low by 7:30AM. While morning light stimulates us and gets us going, exposure to light in the evening may depress the production of melatonin and make it harder to fall asleep. Think of the hormone (melatonin) as a messenger letting the brain know that it is time to physiologically wind down. Melatonin is not a sleeping pill.
Sleep Watch Population
Many of our users ask, "What is normal restful sleep?" While we cannot evaluate what is normal for any individual physiology, we do know how the SleepWatch population sleeps in aggregate. For example, we selected a subset of users and applied qualifying filters to see how that sample sleeps. The data shows that, on average, SleepWatch users get an estimated 7 to 8 hours of Total Sleep Time each day, while the average (mean) percentage of Restful Sleep is 65% for those users using the default sleep detection sensitivity level of SleepWatch.
Hours Slept Across Population
Restful Percentage Across Population
If you are a SleepWatch user and would like to see how you compare to the population, or others like you (in terms of age, sex & BMI), you can check out our Premium features.
While these are not explicit recommendations, we hope that you will find some of these worthy of your own selection of things to try. We all want our best sleep. Using Sleep Watch to track your results may help you see if your choices have an effect on your sleep.
Last but certainly not least: please use SleepWatch appropriately. SleepWatch is designed to help you build better sleep habits. All SleepWatch results are estimates only. Do not rely on SleepWatch for medical advice or diagnosis. Contact your doctor if you have any health concern, such as sleep apnea or insomnia. If you would like to read more about insomnia, sleep apnea or recommendations for sleep, please see the CDC website on sleep.