Why You Aren’t Sleeping Well

You never appreciate sleep as much as when it’s 6 AM on Wednesday, the alarm clock is blaring and you know there’s two more dreadful mornings ahead in the week.

We know that sleep directly affects cognitive processes and memory. Whether we want to increase performance in our work, school or social lives, we should do better to get the right amount of hours each night.

Usually we feel groggy in the morning because our sleep schedules are off. With the help of modern mobile apps, along with some simple changes to your lifestyle, you can get to bed earlier and sleep longer!

App: F.lux

That beautiful glare from your smartphone and computer is actually designed to mimic sunlight — and your eyes are smart enough to adjust accordingly. They’re so smart that staring at the blue light in the evening can destroy your body’s melatonin levels.

This app alters the light levels on your devices according to the time of day, adjusting seamlessly so you don’t even notice. All you have to do is calibrate it once according to the light fixtures you have in your home and never worry again.

And if you don’t want to take up anymore of your memory space, wearing these glasses while looking at your screen has a similar effect.

App: Gentle Alarm/Sleep Cycle

How you feel in the morning has to do with sleep cycles. If you wake up in the middle of a deep sleep cycle you will feel awful, no matter how much you slept. The app tracks your tossing and turning with the sensors in your phone; you don’t move when you’re in REM, but move around a little in light sleep.

According to a review, if you’re prone to hitting the snooze button, Gentle Alarm’s optional lock system forces you to repeat a complex unlock pattern — similar to the Android lock screen — to make sure you wake up.

The ‘Gentle Alarm’ app gets an idea of your specific cycles, and then tries to wake you up during the right cycle… that is, if your bladder doesn’t give you a much-needed wake-up call.

Speaking of which:

Chug Water

As a carbon-based machine, your body should never be dehydrated. Drink a glass of water before and after sleeping — beforehand to make sure you have something in the tank while you slumber, and immediately afterwards to get your gears turning and metabolism running.

No scrolling in bed

We get it: the endless stream of memes, nighttime tweets, Facebook posts and blogs can be too much to not swipe that phone open before you go to bed. We have a second-nature tendency to catch up with social media and the news before we hit the hay.

But other than the blue-light problem we discussed above, this erodes the association your mind creates between pillow — head — sleep. You want to eventually train yourself to use your bed only for sleeping so that you aren’t tossing and turning and thinking of how much of a zombie you’ll be in the morning.


There are many sleep-hacks to learn, but the key (with most things in life) is to find consistency across all seven days of the week. To quote a piece from the New Yorker:

Theodore Roethke had the right idea when he wrote his famous line “I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow.” We do wake to a sleep of sorts: a state of not-quite-alertness, more akin to a sleepwalker’s unconscious autopilot than the vigilance and care we’d most like to associate with our own thinking. And taking our waking slow, without the jar of an alarm and with the rhythms of light and biology, may be our best defense against the thoughtlessness of a sleep-addled brain, a way to insure that, when we do wake fully, we are making the most of what our minds have to offer.