Most apps are a complete waste of time. But others; not so much. By downloading the following apps to your smartphone, you’ll be able to identify changes you can make to improve your brain health and performance.
Researchers have determined that any bright lights at night can prevent your body from releasing the sleep hormone melatonin, which then disrupts your sleep. Blue lights in particular are the most disruptive. By making a small change to reduce the amount of bright white and blue light that goes into your eyes before bed, you can improve your health and overall quality of life.
Unfortunately, your smart phone and computer are the sources of this light. So checking Facebook before bed actually hurts your sleep.
I don’t expect people to stop using their phones or computers when it’s dark outside. Instead, you should use a circadian screen adjustment app like f.lux.
This free app controls your screen and reduces blue light colors after the sun goes down. It is pretty much unnoticeable when you’re using your computer, but it helps your body know when it’s time to go to bed. Since your body won’t make melatonin for up to four hours after you stare at your laptop, this can be a very helpful application.
Android users can use a very similar app called Twilight.
2. Sleep Cycle
Sleep Cycle is an amazing app that analyzes your sleep patterns and wakes you up when you are in the lightest sleep phase.
All you have to do is put your phone into airplane mode, start the app, then place the phone on your mattress. It uses your phone’s microphone to measure how much you move around, which is a great way to determine how well you have slept.
It uses an algorithm to figure out when you are close to waking up so it can trigger the alarm clock then, instead of jolting you from deep sleep, which can significantly change how you start your day and how you feel all day.
You can also add your daily habits to the app and it will draw graphs telling you whether these habits are beneficial or detrimental to your sleep. For example, I've learned that I consume caffeine any time before 10 am without it affecting my sleep. But any time later than 10 am, and my sleep will suffer.
So there you have it – two simple, easy-to-use programs that you can use to improve your mental performance every day.
Let me know how they work for you in the comments. What other things do you do to improve your sleep?