Can we really use technology to send us to sleep?

Mobile & tablets

by Ben Sullivan| 01 May 2014

New insomnia-busting app might have the answer, but we keep getting told otherwise.

A new app for smartphones and tablets has launched that claims to help insomniacs get a better night's sleep.

The app, developed by Dr Kirstie Anderson, was created with help from Teesside University's DigitalCity.

Anderson said: "I'm a neurologist that specialises in sleep disorders, there isn't a great deal of us that work in sleep medicine. The most common sleep disorder is insomnia, which many of us will suffer from at some point in our lives.

"But the people who have chronic insomnia dread climbing the stairs and going to bed. It's a life-altering condition that has a massive health and wellbeing impact."

But haven't we just been told that smartphone use is the number one cause for sleep deprivation? A study from Michigan State University found that people who use their phones after 9pm were more tired and less productive the next day, compared to colleagues who didn't use digital devices after 9pm.

Russell Johnson from MSU, told the Telegraph: "Smartphones are almost perfectly designed to disrupt sleep."

"Because they keep us mentally engaged late into the evening, they make it hard to detach from work so we can relax and fall asleep."

The blue light emitted from smartphone screens is the crux of the problem. It interferes with the level of melatonin in your body and thus messes up your natural sleeping pattern.

So how is configuring an app on your mobile right before bedtime going to help? Anderson said that "most doctors can suggest good sleep hygiene and while that is good advice it is not in itself going to cure insomnia."

"The key thing about the Sleepstation is that it's personalised for each user. If you put a particular pattern into your diary it will change the programme to make it fit your sleep pattern.

"It works very well and 80% of the people who use it end up getting better sleep.

"There are a lot of online digital health apps out there but a lot of them aren't very good. For an app to be effective it's got to be responsive, interactive and it needs to support and screen the people using it."

Here at CBR Towers, we're not exactly sure how the app works, so we're not entirely convinced. Do you ever think technology can be the furture for getting your forty winks? Or is a good book and a cup of herbal tea the best solution.

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