Pros, cons and tips for your best rest

When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, you’ve probably heard that it’s best to keep your device out of it. With that in mind, it might seem a little contradictory to turn to technology for a good night’s sleep.

Tracking your sleep and learning from the data may help you sleep better.

Smart beds are one of the newest ways to do that.

Like smartphones, smart beds vary from model to model. Usually they are equipped with sensors that measure things like sleep duration and quality.

This information is then available to view on an app and can be used to adjust your routine.

Certain models offer features such as temperature control, position control and the ability to adjust firmness. Some can even prevent snoring by gently elevating your head.

“While expensive smart beds are becoming increasingly popular,” says Rosey Davidson, infant sleep consultant and CEO of Just Chill Baby Sleep. “They use technology embedded in the mattress to measure how we sleep, and they adapt to our sleeping position.”

Davidson says some models will use your sleep data to provide sleep-related tips, while others will make the adjustments for you.

For example, some models automatically adjust the firmness and temperature of your mattress to better suit your needs.

These adjustments not only ensure a better night’s sleep, but can also have a positive impact on your health.

Peter Polos, PhD, a sleep medicine specialist for Sleep Number, says smart beds could be key to connecting the dots with potential health concerns.

Polos says smart beds can measure biometrics such as:

These statistics are combined with an algorithm to estimate when your sleep stages occur. This can help you understand what’s keeping you from sleeping well.

You then create an optimal sleeping environment that is tailored to your needs.

What could that mean for your long and short term health? Let’s look at some of the benefits of smart beds.

Smart beds can help you identify sleep patterns

For most of us, the level of fatigue we feel in the morning is the only indication we get of how well we slept the night before. A smart bed can help you identify sleep problems that you were previously unaware of.

Some examples are:

  • awake during the night
  • experience restless or restless sleep
  • insomnia
  • sleep apnea

Smart beds can help you detect health problems

Having statistics about your sleep statistics can be helpful in identifying certain health conditions.

“Research from Sleep Number has shown that smart beds may be able to detect and track the development of symptoms for COVID-19 and flu,” says Polos.

Another example is restless leg syndrome.

“This diagnosis is usually made based on the patient’s history. However, the available statistics can be used to strengthen diagnosis and also monitor response to treatment,” he says.

Smart beds can help increase your productivity

Few of us function well when we are tired.

“Disorder [to our sleeping habits] can often affect how we feel the next day — and can make us feel sluggish and have trouble staying awake or even paying attention during the day,” says Polos.

When it comes to short-term health, not sleeping well can affect our cognitive abilities. In addition, Polos says the brain’s metabolic activity is greatest during the REM sleep phase.

“To learn and maintain what we need, the right amount of sleep and sleep stages are important,” he says.

Smart beds can help you determine how much time you spend in each sleep stage, and some can suggest ways to make sure you’re getting enough sleep in each stage.

Smart beds can help improve hormone balance

How well you sleep affects many aspects of your health, including your hormones.

“The circadian rhythm affects hormone release,” says Polos. “For example, growth hormone (HGH), which is crucial in muscle repair and growth, is released in slow-wave sleep.”

Polos notes that disruption or reduction of this phase has a direct effect on HGH release.

Another important hormone regulated by sleep is insulin, which points to a link between diabetes and sleep.

While they offer many benefits, smart beds have a few drawbacks.

Tracking can get unhealthy

However, Davidson warns that there’s a risk you’ll become obsessed with the numbers.

“We can become so obsessed with the idea of ​​a good night’s sleep that it becomes unhealthy, and the more we worry about sleep, the worse it can get,” she explains. “Maybe you wake up rested and then when you look at your data and see the numbers, you might get disappointed.”

Technology can be distracting and overstimulating

“A smart mattress can remind you of the importance of healthy sleep habits and encourage you to prioritize rest. However, no technology will ever be able to replace the complex architecture of our sleep biology,” says Davidson.

She says the best conditions for sleeping are:

  • darkness
  • a fairly cool temperature
  • an environment that is technology-free

“If we have a lot of technology in our sleeping space, we can get distracted and stimulated,” she explains.

Some smart beds also have a TV that extends from the end of the bed and emits varying levels of light that can disrupt your sleep, she adds.

Self-regulation may be a better option

“We want our bodies to be able to self-regulate without external input,” says Davidson. “Personally, I prefer the old-fashioned way, where you can just kick your blankets or comforter off when you get hot.”

Davidson believes smart beds can improve comfort and benefit those with injuries or long-term chronic pain.

However, she says that with a few simple tweaks, you can mimic most of what a smart bed does.

“Use cotton, breathable bedding and bedding so your body can regulate its own temperature,” she advises. “If it’s hot, open a window or use a fan. If it’s cold, add a layer or use one [thicker] duvet.”

Other daily habits that can help include:

  • get fresh air
  • exposure to natural light, preferably in the morning
  • participate in physical activity
  • dimming the lights before going to sleep
  • sleeping near plants

Smart beds are not affordable for everyone

With their high price, smart beds are not easily accessible to everyone.

Implementing healthy habits as mentioned above can go a long way toward deep, restful sleep. Plus, they’re usually free!

If you’ve decided to get a smart bed, you might be wondering what to do with all that sleep data. Although you may be able to identify some patterns yourself, it is best to consult a specialist.

“If a person finds they’re not sleeping well and is trying different methods, I usually recommend seeing a sleep specialist who can evaluate your sleep and help you work through the challenges you’re facing,” says Polos.

In this case, sharing your smart bed sleep data can be a great asset.

“It can help healthcare providers get an accurate, real-world, longitudinal picture of your sleep health over time,” says Polos.

While this data won’t replace a formal exam, Polos says it can aid diagnosis and clarify the need for additional testing.

If a smart bed is out of your budget or, like Davidson, you prefer the old-fashioned way, there are plenty of tweaks you can try for a better night’s sleep.

Polos recommends the following:

  • Evaluate your bed, pillows, and bedding to make sure they are cool and comfortable.
  • Have a regular sleep routine with set times to wake up and fall asleep.
  • Make sure you have enough time to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Turn off electronics 60 minutes before bed to avoid exposure to blue light.
  • Avoid stimulants (such as caffeine) and alcohol within four hours of bedtime.
  • Make sure your room is dark, quiet, and cool (the sweet spot for temperature is between 67-69 degrees Fahrenheit or 19-20 degrees Celsius).
  • Perform each exercise at least an hour before bed to allow your body to unwind.
  • Relax and unwind with music, reading, herbal teas or meditation before going to sleep.
  • Reserve the bed for sleep and sex. Do not use it for eating, working or watching TV.

A good night’s sleep is essential for long- and short-term health. It can affect everything from your energy levels and concentration to your hormones.

A smart bed can help you understand sleep-related data such as sleep quality, movements, heart rate and more.

However, smart beds are not a panacea. Some users may find technology in their sleeping space distracting, and implementing healthy sleep habits, as mentioned above, may work best.

Victoria Stokes is a writer from the United Kingdom. When she’s not writing about her favorite topics, personal development and well-being, she’s usually with her nose in a good book. Victoria lists coffee, cocktails and the color pink as some of her favorite things. Find her on Instagram.

Pros, cons and tips for your best rest

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