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Smart Home

7 proven ways to get better sleep

Not getting enough sleep? Staying up too late? Try these smart home tips to help you sleep better.

While new technology has propelled our daily lives forward at breakneck speeds, making many parts of our lives simpler, ostensibly, it's affected us in other ways, as well. For instance, you might not get the same quality of sleep as you once did. Maybe you're up later or find yourself yawning more at work.

The upshot is that while technology has caused a handful of sleep problems for a lot of people, it can also be the solution. Here's how.

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Dim lights at dusk

One of the biggest culprits of your lack of sleep is the blue light emitted by the screens you're constantly staring at — your phone, computer, tablet or even TV. This blue light tricks your brain into thinking it's still daytime, which over time, will inevitably affect your circadian rhythm.

Scheduling blue light filters — like Night Shift or f.lux — on a schedule with the local sunset times can help by reducing the amount of blue light your eyes see after sunset. But if you have smart bulbs in your house, you can do the same. After sunset, try minimizing the time you stare at device screens, but also dim the overhead lights and lamps and switch them from harsh white to a much warmer tone.

Play audio games to give your eyes a rest

Whether it's binging YouTube videos or playing games, we often look to our phones, tablets and televisions for late-night entertainment. Try giving your eyes a rest.

Instead of using your phone, use your smart speaker to listen to an audiobook or podcast. You can even play games with your Alexa or Google Home speakers, such as choose-your-own-adventure stories, trivia or even blackjack.

White noise

When you're finished and ready to doze off, try using your smart speaker as a white-noise machine. Google Home and Alexa speakers are capable of playing all sorts of nature, city or other relaxing sounds. Just say something like, "Play thunderstorm sounds."

You can even follow it up with a sleep timer command. Say, "Alexa, stop in 20 minutes," or "OK, Google, stop in 45 minutes."

Leave your phone out of the bedroom

Many of us now rely on phones at our bedside to wake us up in the morning, check all those overnight notifications and so much more. If you're supplementing your evening entertainment with audiobooks or games from a smart speaker, you might as well take it one step further.

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Try using your smart speaker as your alarm clock and for your morning routine.

If you do this, you can leave your phone out of the bedroom altogether, which will keep you from browsing Twitter until you doze off (an hour or two later than you would have) or waking up and checking those late night notifications.

Smart speakers have come a long way and handle alarms with ease. You can wake up to your favorite song or playlist or, if it's your thing, wake up to the weather and news of your choice.

Track your sleep

You may be getting enough sleep, but that sleep might not be quality rest. Fortunately, these days, there is no shortage of ways to track it.

In addition to counting steps, wearable fitness trackers like newer Fitbits also track your sleep. Just wear it to bed and it will track you through the night to tell you how much deep sleep you actually got, how many times you were awake and how long you were restless.

There are even mattresses or that can track the quality of your sleep.

Automatically change to comfortable sleeping temperature

You may find it difficult to fall asleep if you're too warm or too cold. With your smart thermostat, you can set a schedule to begin warming or cooling just prior to bedtime. Pair this with dimming the lights and you'll know when it's about time to head to bed and you won't have to worry about feeling uncomfortable when you finally lie down.

Wake up naturally

One of the quickest ways to ruin a great sleep session is to be yanked out of a deep sleep by a loud, annoying alarm. Instead, try switching to a calm alarm noise and pairing it with a smart bulb near your bedside. When it's time to wake up, you can slowly fade the light on as the alarm sound rises.