Social Media For New Year’s Resolutions – Part Two: Using Social Media to Get More Sleep

*Note* This entry is part two of my blog posts in the 2010 series, Social Media For New Year’s Resolutions, as explained in this post.

Another popular New Year’s Resolution is to get more sleep.* It may seem counter-intuitive that social media can help you get more sleep; after all, doesn’t staying up and playing on the Internet actually prevent you from going to bed and getting that sleep you need? (Especially you – estivator – who commented on my resolution introductory blog post past midnight!) In reality, it may not. A recent study, as highlighted in this University of New Hampshire news release shows that social media use does not affect students’ sleeping habits — so why should it affect yours?

Not only does social media NOT hurt your sleeping habits, but it can actually HELP you get more sleep. Here’s how:

1.  Social media can provide the education you need to get more sleep: If you look carefully, there are plenty of sources of information about what exactly a good night’s sleep is, how to get it, etc. A good resource that I like is The Insomnia Blog, by Dr. Michael Breus, who also has a Twitter Account. Another informative sleep account to check out on Twitter is the Sleep Foundation.

2.  Social media holds you accountable! If you make it a goal for yourself to get more sleep and share this goal with others – wouldn’t you feel like you’re letting them (and not just yourself) down when you reported a failure? Take, for example, what Arianna Huffington from the Huffington Post and Cindi Leive from Glamour are doing – they’re taking their New Year’s Resolution to get more sleep to the next level by blogging about it and calling it the Sleep Challenge 2010.

Arianna introduces her challenge on her latest blog post (an excerpt of which I’ve included below):

As women, we make a lot of New Year’s resolutions — “lose 10 pounds” and “finally write that novel” and “lose 10 pounds — seriously.” But this year, the two of us (that’s HuffPost‘s Arianna Huffington and Glamour‘s Cindi Leive) are suggesting you make a New Year’s resolution that could improve the status of all women in this country, starting with you … If you ask us, the next feminist issue is sleep. And in order for women to get ahead in this country, we’re all going to have to lie down and take a nap …

We’re saying no to the zombie side of things and, as of January 4, resolving to get a full night’s sleep every night for a month … Inspired? Then join our one-month sleep challenge. We’ll be blogging on glamour.com and the Huffington Post every Monday and Thursday about how our quest for more sleep is going. You’ll get tips from health experts like Dr. Michael Breus and answers to some of your own personal questions about how to work more sleep into your life.

3.  Social media provides the tools you need to make sure you’re getting a better night’s sleep. I haven’t been able to look too deeply into any of these, but would love to check out:

  • Yawnlog: This site tracks the number of hours you sleep each night and charts your progress for you so you can look at patterns over time (and relate it to how you feel each day/week/etc.). It also lets you log and tag dreams. If you want, you can also use the site to see how many hours your friends are sleeping and what they’re dreaming about too.
  • iPhone Apps: There are so many cool apps for your iPhone (and hopefully soon, Droid!) to help you sleep better. The Sleep Cycle App (via LifeHacker) supposedly can tell how deep of a sleep you’re in so that you’re only awoken from a light slumber, therefore feeling more rested. A Good Night’s Sleep iPhone App (via iPhone Application List) provides a series of sounds and music for you to fall asleep to and also has a feature to “gently awaken users,” to ensure a “gradual, peaceful start to each day.”
  • Another new add-on for your iPhone: Check out the iHome+Sleep: This “social music alarm clock” was just announced at the recent CES. It’s an iPhone app that works with a whole new line of home music players. It has some really cool features, including “Sleep Cards,” which let you set different alarm templates with their own settings, such as certain settings for weekends, etc. Another cool feature for us social media geeks – you can wake up to your favorite RSS feed, or a list of what your Facebook and Twitter friends were doing during the night (thus allowing you to sleep soundly knowing you’re not missing anything!). Another way the iHome+Sleep helps you sleep better? According to Macworld.com, think of the product as “the Nike + iPod Sport Kit, except, you know, for sleeping.” Its unique feature, Sleep Stats, lets the user “view a running record of the times you sleep, naps you record, and average hours of bedtime and per-night sleeping. If you’re find yourself dragging and exhausted every now and then, this might be a great way to help track down a possible reason.”

If you find any other cool ways to use social media to help you get a better night’s sleep, let me know.

*Disclaimer: I work for a client in the sleep industry. While they’re not related to any of the services mentioned above, they still lead me to know of and want to stress the importance of a good night’s sleep!

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