Let the LARK Help Make You a Better Sleeper


The LARK has a number of amazing feature, but when I first head about the innovative sleep monitor, one thing really stood out: no more waking up to that obnoxious, loud iPhone default ring. I have serious disdain for alarm clocks, which is why the LARK “UN-alarm” clock is so perfect. It uses a gentle wrist vibration to subtly, but effectively, nudge you awake. This is especially great if the person you sleep next to is a late riser and is about two alarm clocks away from throwing it at your head.

As if this weren’t enough of an incentive, the LARK also uses a 7-day assessment which I recently completed to teaches you how you sleep through the night. It’s like having your own private sleep coach. While I knew I wasn’t exactly a great sleeper, some of the things I found out from my own assessment were astounding. For example, I wake up an average of 16 times per night, and I get more sleep than 30 per cent of the population not quite the greatest stats.

It’s no wonder I seem to hit a wall by the time the day is over, which could also be the reason it only takes me an average of ten minutes to fall asleep at night. Read on for some other interesting things I learned about my sleep type. You can get your LARK and begin your assessment by visiting an Apple Store and then downloading the free app to your iPhone or iPad.

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The Rookie

You may not always get as much sleep as your body needs, and this results in chronic sleep loss. Sometimes life throws you unexpected deadlines, birthdays, or crises that keep you up late. Other nights, you get less sleep because you felt like watching another rerun of Mad Men, catching up on news blogs, or crafting the perfect business presentation. Maybe you reason that 6 or 7 hours a night is good enough. It might be adequate for some people, but definitely not for most.

Even with 7 hours of sleep per night, people demonstrate slower reaction times on cognitive tests for alertness and focus compared to those who obtain 8 or 9 hours of sleep. In this study, performance declined for 3 days before stabilizing at a lower level. Even more interesting, is that most of us are poor judges of how impaired our functioning is. We get accustomed to our sub-par performance and think that we’re not significantly affected by daytime sleepiness when, in fact, we are.

Additionally, chronic sleep loss can impair decision making and mood causing you to become more irritable and of course, fatigued. Especially when you have to make critical decisions whether for your job, driving on the road, or with relationships, you can’t afford a lapse in focus or judgement. So the next time you find yourself with road rage at the driver in front of you or breaking your diet, a contributing factor may be getting inadequate sleep.

It’s not that you can’t survive on less sleep than your body needs, but imagine a day where you are refreshed when you wake up, you are fully energized and happy throughout the day, and you are efficiently productive. Sound too awesome to be true? This is how every day should be with healthy and adequate sleep.

The Erratic

Life’s unpredictable and so are you. You never know when you have to catch an early morning flight, when a deadline will sneak up on you, or how late the party will go. Sleep is squeezed in between the adventures. Some days you collapse exhausted at four in the afternoon, and some mornings you sleep in til noon.

You schedule your sleep around your activities instead of scheduling your activities around your sleep. It’s easy to think that sleep is an inconvenient chore you have to do when you could be working, playing frisbee, or reading your favorite blogs. Wrong. Sleep is critical for proper daily functioning and an erratic sleep schedule can rob you of time by keeping you from sleeping when you want and decreasing the amount of sleep you actually get.

Erratic sleep throws your body clock out of whack – the all important circadian rhythms which regulate your body’s daily sleep and wake patterns. You may be be a spontaneous, fun-loving will-o-the-wisp, but your body is like a stubborn toddler. It knows exactly when it wants to be sleeping or eating, and it gets cranky when you change the schedule. So with a more regular sleep schedule, your won’t continue to fight against your body clock. Instead, you’ll begin to anticipate and wind down in preparation for sleep, and you will sleep better and more soundly.