How Home Design and Tech Impact Sleep
Design and technology aren't always a good match for sleep. For example, big and bright open windows, or using screen time too late at night can confuse your circadian rhythm. But with home automation and other design technology, you can make your sleep environment healthier and more convenient.
Consider these ways to use home design and technology to improve the quality and quantity of your sleep.
Dim the Lights
Bright overhead lights at night can be too stimulating and keep you up past your bedtime. You could remember to turn them down as the sun goes down, or, your home could do it for you. Set a timer that turns lights down once you get closer to bedtime hours so you'll have an easier transition slowing down and getting to bed.
Turn up the Lights
Conversely, bright lights in the daytime can help you wake up and feel more alert. If you wake up with the sun, getting bright light exposure first thing in the morning could be as easy as just opening your curtains each morning. But that's not always possible depending on weather and the time of the year. Again, you can put lights on a timer so you have lights gradually getting brighter as you wake up. Or, there are also wake up lights you can keep on your nightstand that will gradually increase the light to simulate sunrise.
Get Reminders to Power Down
Late night screen time can be a problem for sleep. It's best to avoid screens, including mobile devices, laptops and TVs, within about an hour of bedtime. Of course, it's easy to get wrapped up in what you're doing and not realize you should have put down your phone hours ago. A built in reminder on home devices could be helpful. You can set a timer, or if you want to be especially strict about it, you can set your Wi-Fi to turn off at a certain time each night.
Track Your Sleep
Wearable devices and other tools have made it easy to stay on top of how well you're sleeping. They can tell you how many hours you're sleeping overall, and the quality of your sleep as they note any tossing and turning in the night. You can also take note of other activities that could affect sleep. This can be helpful in finding patterns of poor sleep. For example, if you have a tough night sleeping, but it was after a big meal or you had coffee late in the day, tracking your sleep and activities could help you figure out that those things probably contributed to difficult sleep.
Noise can be distracting and could keep you up at night. But a white noise machine could block out noises so you're able to rest well at night. You can also use a sound machine (including smart home devices) that can guide you through meditation just before bed.
Set the Right Temperature
Along with lighting, set your home's temperature for sleep each night. Ideally, your bedroom should be about 68 degrees during sleeping hours. That allows you to feel cool, but warm up when you're actually in bed under the covers. Program your thermostat so it gets to that temperature each night as you're sleeping, and you don't have to remember to set it each night.
Good design and technology can be helpful for sleep. It's especially helpful to use technology to automate your home and create the perfect sleep environment each night.