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Sleep time is an app developed by Azumio Inc. that serves as an alarm, a white noise generator, and a sleep cycle tracker. It uses your phone’s built-in accelerometer to track your movements and sleep phases as you sleep; in the morning, it shows you graphs to help you understand the quality of your sleep each night. It also uses this same technology to help judge the best time to wake you, keeping you from feeling groggy when you wake up.
Other great features include a variety of white noise options, alarm noises (including your favorite songs from your music library!), and a “no-glasses-required” display. For Apple users, you can integrate the data into your Apple Health app.
The Sleep Time app is available for free in the app store for
Sleep like an Athlete!
Many professional athletes are prioritizing sleep to give them a leg up on the competition. Researchers believe that sleep may help athletic performance because during sleep is when growth hormone is released and when memories are consolidated, which are both important features of recovery. Growth hormone helps with bone building, fat burning, and muscle growth and repair. Sleep experts recommend seven to nine hours of sleep for adults each night, but some athletes set aside time for even more.
According to Olympic gold medalist Usain Bolt, he sleeps about eight to ten hours each night, saying, “Sleep is extremely important to me – I need to rest and recover in order for the training I do to be absorbed by my body.” Tom Brady sleeps about 8 hours each night and makes his sleep environment a priority by creating an optimal space to snooze that is both cold and dark. Basketball Allstar LeBron James reportedly sleeps twelve hours a night, leading the pack in nightly hours.
Although many athletes sleep long periods of time for recovery, many also take frequent naps for the same reason. It isn’t unusual to hear of a pre-game or post-workout nap. Take a cue from the professionals and get the sleep your body needs to function optimally.
Alcohol and Sleep (or lack thereof)
Contrary to popular belief, alcohol is not a solution to sleepless nights. In fact, alcohol has been shown to reduce the amount of quality sleep following consumption. The graphic below outlines the stages of sleep that occur while we sleep. Alcohol affects these stages, oftentimes delaying the onset of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and causing an increase in sleep disruption in the second half of sleep.
REM sleep is when dreams occur and when your body restores itself, providing energy for daytime performance. When you do not get enough
REM sleep, you will feel drowsy, you will not have energy, and you will find it difficult to concentrate. So, even though
alcohol gets you to fall asleep faster, the quality of the sleep is greatly diminished. The more alcohol you drink, the
greater the sleep disruption.
Sleep deprivation can affect your ability to adhere to your health goals by affecting
appetite, energy levels, and decision making. Getting enough sleep is important
to help keep your mind and body rested and strong. Here are some tips that can improve your sleep:
- Begin rituals that help you relax each night before bed. (warm bath, light reading, decaf tea).
- If you are not asleep after 20 minutes, get out of the bed. Your bedroom should be where
you sleep, so find something relaxing to do until you feel sleepy, then go back to bed.
- Get up at the same time every morning. Doing this even on weekends will help you stick to a
sleep schedule, improving overall sleep quality.
- Make your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool to create a sleep-inducing environment.
- And finally...Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and large amounts of food before bedtime.
So remember, to get a good night’s sleep, keep the alcohol to a minimum. Try to keep alcohol consumption to 1-2 servings to ensure feeling rested in the morning.