Should you Consider Trying Sleep Apps?
Poor sleep is such a prevalent problem that insufficient sleep has become a full-blown health epidemic. Fortunately, the march of technology is helping to create solutions for problematic sleeping patterns.
Of course, insomnia is a complicated malady and no single approach can provide a magic cure for all. However, sophisticated smartphone and tablet apps could provide part of the answer to the puzzle of chronic sleep deprivation.
"Deep Sleep With Andrew Johnson" is just one Android app that could help provide relief for insomnia sufferers. Featuring the celebrated hypnotherapist Andrew Johnson, who also has a variety of MP3s and CDs, this app takes listeners on a guided meditation that can soothe, relax and usher in deep sleep.
For iPhone users, "Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock" can also create solutions. This popular app analyzes the user's sleep to present a realistic picture of one's sleep situation. Crucially, the app also wakes users during the lightest points of their sleeping sessions, times that are ideal for waking - resulting in a more rested feeling each morning.
"Sleepmaker Rain" is a very simple app that can prove useful for the chronic insomniac. Harnessing the soothing sounds of rainfall, this app provides users with multiple rain sounds that can facilitate restful sleep in many. The app has 25 recordings of real rainfall, storms, waves, streams and wildlife to satisfy a variety of sleep needs.
"Binaural Beats" is another interesting relaxation app that has potential for improving sleep. Harnessing the natural power of acoustics, binaural beats are simple tones that can create a mesmerized, utterly relaxed state. It is easy to see how an app like this could potentially lead to easier, more restful sleep sessions.
Outside of the bedroom, the advent of the digital age has introduced many additional benefits for insomnia sufferers. Apps and websites not only provide practical tools for inducing sleep; they also feature tips and education to demystify insomnia and other sleep disorders.
Even more promisingly, online networks can give people direct access to the opinions of certified medical professionals. Gains in convenience should be taken with a grain of salt, however; as a writer for the industry blog HealthITjobs.com notes, "with the digitization of medical records comes an inherent threat to privacy, but savvy hospitals are identifying this as a crucial aspect of their IT operations and protecting their patients in the process."
Digital forums, such as those found on Daily Strength or The Experience Project, provide communities where insomnia sufferers from around the world can share support and advice.
Of course, people with chronic insomnia should certainly always consult their real-life medical advisers and doctors. Modern apps can facilitate this dialogue by easing the collection of data about sleep habits.
Patients today can show doctors not only the length of time they’ve slept, but how often they become restless, enter into REM sleep, or wake up completely throughout the night. Apps that record sound might also shed light on sleep talking, night terrors or breathing difficulties.
While mobile apps and other digital aids can be useful for sleep improvement and insomnia education, it is crucial for patients to use these tools with care – and always see a healthcare provider for individualized sleep advice and treatment. After all, each case of insomnia is unique and blanket statements cannot be applied to this multifaceted problem.
This article on sleep apps was written by Beth Kelly, a Chicago, Illinois-based freelance writer for HealthITjobs.com.
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