Sleep Light

Click here to download the TWM Sleep Light, a software designed theoretically to help a person fall asleep.

Instructions:

1. Open program, and turn your computer screen’s brightness all the way up.

2. Enter the desired number of minutes for which you want the program to run.  Theoretically, this is how long it will take you to fall asleep, but bear in mind that if you enter too small of a number, it probably will not work because your body still needs some minimum amount of time to fall asleep.  Therefore, I would suggest 15 minutes as a reasonable cycle length, as this is the approximate time it takes the average person to fall asleep.

3.  Your computer screen will pulse with a blue light at a slowing frequency.  Lie down, and watch the reflection of your screen a near by wall–ideally in an otherwise dark room.  WARNING: DO NOT LOOK AT THE SCREEN ITSELF, AS THIS WILL LIKELY DELAY SLEEP; INSTEAD, WATCH THE SCREEN’S LIGHT SHINNING ON A WALL.  Synchronise your breathing with the blue pulses to help yourself fall asleep.

4.  After the amount of time you entered, the program will begin to pulse at a constant rate for two minutes before turning the whole screen black and leaving it that way indefinitely.  When you wake up, press COMMAND – Q on a mac or ALT – F4 on a windows to exit the program.

The theory behind it:

This idea is based off of a rather silly product called the “Night Wave,” which, as exciting as the name sounds, is really just the sort of thing that one might find in a very long and tacky infomercial.  The Night Wave is an expensive blue light that blinks.  The idea is that by synchronising your breath with a slowing pulse, one should be able to relax and fall asleep easier.  It is largely agreed by most sleep scientists that the body needs to lower its respiratory rate in order to fall asleep, so this idea seems to make good sense.

I made the program begin pulsing at the average human respiratory rate for an awake person at rest (about 18 breaths a minute), and then it slows down to what was found, in one study I came across, to be the average human respiratory rate for a person asleep (7.66 breaths per minute).  It does this throughout the time length entered by the user, and then continues to pulse at the latter frequency for an extra two minutes.

I have not tried this myself, so if you do decide to use it, realise that you are a guinea pig.  Comment, and let everyone know how it works. (It’s okay if it doesn’t work, you can write that too.)

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