Pulmonary Science: Sleep Apps for Improved Sleeping

Posted June 17, 2013 | By csponline

sleep appsSleep is an important element to our overall wellness. When we aren’t getting enough sleep, our health can suffer. However, you aren’t alone if you have trouble getting a full night’s sleep. According to Alex Adams, a Concordia University, St. Paul instructor within the Bachelor of Science in Pulmonary Science program, 30 to 48 percent of adults reportedly had symptoms of insomnia sometime in their life, with insomnia symptoms and daytime sleepiness currently present in 10 to 15 percent of the population. These numbers show insomnia to be a significant public health concern, and Adams reports it can create a significant psychological, physical, personal and economic burden on individuals and society.

“The psychological consequences of insomnia include decreased quality of life and impaired daytime functioning,” Adams said. “The personal health consequences include impaired cognitive function and increased incidence of chronic medical problems and an increased utilization of health care services.”

Adams also suggests that insomnia has a major economic impact, with an annual total cost of $92.5 to $107.5 billion.

“In addition to the cost of medical treatment and drugs, other costs of insomnia include reduced productivity, increased absenteeism, accidents and hospitalization as well as medical costs due to increased morbidity and mortality, depression due to insomnia and increased alcohol consumption,” Adams said.

Are you a respiratory therapist thinking about getting your Bachelor in Pulmonary Science?

While insomnia can cause a serious case of sleeplessness, many people also suffer from restless or disrupted sleep. According to Adams, 8 to 18 percent of the population report being dissatisfied with their sleep quality and quantity. If you are feeling sluggish and tired throughout your day, you might be among those who are not getting a good night’s rest. So what can you do to improve your sleep and get enough “Zs” to feel ready to start your day? Adams suggests that creating a quiet, peaceful environment while limiting exercise, meals and caffeine directly before bedtime is key to falling asleep. The Mayo Clinic, located in Rochester, Minn., has identified strategies for better sleep. Here are a few:

  • Stick to a sleep schedule: Make it a point to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Your body will likely respond to this routine, and you will be able to have a more restful night’s sleep.
  • Watch what you eat and drink before bedtime: Like Adams mentioned above, ingesting meals or caffeine directly before bed can keep you from being able to fall asleep. It is important to note that you don’t want to go to bed hungry as those pains can also hinder the quality of your night’s sleep.
  • Add exercise to your routine: Regular exercise can help you sleep longer and better; however, be sure to avoid exercise too close to bedtime as it can make you too energized for sleep.
  • Reduce your stress: Stress is a hot trigger for a restless night’s sleep. Try to limit or even eliminate the things that are causing you stress. Some stress can be unavoidable. Practice stress relief techniques such as getting organized and developing a routine to help you sleep better.

If you are wondering if you are getting enough sleep to fuel your day, you can take advantage of new smart phone apps and gadgets that are breaking into the market that can measure your sleep quantity and quality. These tools are able to monitor your sleeping habits and provide valuable information that can show you when you are at your most restless and how long you are in deep sleep. To get a clearer picture of your sleeping habits, consider one of these sleep apps:

  • FitBit One: Designed as a step counter, this device helps to monitor your overall activity, including sleep. To monitor your sleep, users must put FitBit One on the provided wristband and set it to sleep mode. The device tracks your movements during the night. Users can generate easy-to-understand reports that provide feedback on your activity level and illustrate the fluctuations in your sleep cycle.
  • Jawbone Up: This fitness tracker comes in a sleek wristband that can be worn comfortably all day. It tracks your overall activity, including sleep, and allows you to keep track of your diet through a food and drink log. It will monitor your sleeping habits and produce a report that helps you to identify the points in the night when you were sleeping deeply versus sleeping lightly.
  • Sleepbot: This Android app includes a variety of tools that work together to create a snap shot of your sleeping habits. The app can detect your movements throughout the night and includes an auto recorder so you can hear any nighttime breathing problems like snoring.
  • Sleep Cycle: This is an iOS app for your smart phone that monitors your sleeping habits from your nightstand. The app costs $1 and generates easy-to-read graphs for a fluid record of your sleeping patterns.

A restful night’s sleep is important to your overall health. If you are having difficulties falling asleep, staying asleep or waking up, you could have an underlying sleep disorder that could affect your wellness. Sleep apps and devices will help you to see if your sleep is disrupted and some may even be able to help you identify the causes of a restless night’s sleep. Consider using a sleep app or device so you can stop counting sheep and start sleeping.

Concordia University, St. Paul’s diverse online and hybrid degree offerings respond to the realities of the marketplace both now and in the future. Concordia’s degrees use relevant curriculum to position graduates for real-world opportunities and success. Employers seek students who have relevant skills to contribute to both the workplace and the community, and Concordia’s degrees offer a robust education to expand students’ knowledge base and skill set. Concordia provides a valuable investment for lifelong career success.

Also published on Medium.