Apps

4 tricks to help you sleep better at night

Your gadgets are making it hard for you

Photo by Kate Stone Matheson

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Most of the time, I find myself struggling to fall asleep even when I’m exhausted. This proves to be problematic especially when it interferes with my work, by being late in meetings and important presentations. Lack of a good night’s rest could also make an impact on the quality of your output.

Since I’ve been doing my research and tested them for weeks now, I can finally say I found a different way to shift my lifestyle so I can sleep better at night. I’m not going to say it will be 100% effective for everyone, but it’s worth a try.

Adjust your smartphone’s exposure

If you’re having trouble falling asleep at night, your smartphone might be the reason why. Smartphones emit blue light that made it difficult for our eyes to fall asleep. To combat this effect, we need to increase bright light exposure and reduce blue light exposure.

Photo by MJ Jucutan

This can be done through your smartphone’s display settings. Some smartphones let you adjust the white balance, color mode, and temperature. Others have specific modes to help you sleep by filtering out blue light.

Fix your bed and bedroom environment

Some people sleep better in hotels, mostly because of the comfortable experience when it comes to bed and the room’s temperature. Sleeping is difficult if it’s hot, adjust your temperatures accordingly. Additionally, improving your bed quality such as getting new bedding, a comfortable mattress, and fluffy pillows can enhance the quality of your sleep.

Photo by Christopher Jolly

In certain occasions, I’ve experienced lower-back pain due to my mattress and an extreme abundance of pillows. Of course, this is purely subjective, as everything will be based on your preference. But if you can upgrade your bed, then do it for the sake of a good night’s sleep.

Relax and clear your mind

Another thing that you can do is to try out a relaxation technique that works for you. Clear your mind by listening to relaxing music, reading a book (that’s not a thriller), meditating, or doing yoga.

Photo by Aaron Burden

If these don’t work for you at all, try taking a hot, relaxing bath or shower. I find it easier to fall asleep faster and deeper whenever I cleanse myself and my thoughts in the shower.

Use a sleeping app

I used to listen to music at night as I overthink about my regrets, mistakes, wrong decisions and scenarios with my crushes until I fall asleep. However, that used to keep me up until 4 o’clock in the morning so I don’t recommend doing that. In my quest to sleeping better, I found an app that helps.

Photo by The Harmony Project

The Harmony Project is an app providing computer-generated music that you can rate if it helped you sleep better. Through artificial intelligence and user feedback, the app will determine which sound helped users sleep better, combining highly rated tracks to produce an even better track that will help us fall asleep faster.

The app recently launched last August after several beta testing and continues to be an evolving system. Take part in studying and developing the fastest way to better sleep. Download the app on the App Store and Play Store.

SEE MORE: SleepPhones lets you comfortably listen to music in bed

Apps

Hong Kong protests: Apple succumbs to pressure from China

Trying to please both the sides

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Every international company, whether based in China or the US, is now stuck in the middle of the Hong Kong protests. While the people want pro-Democracy ideals to govern their city, China refuses to back down and continues its passive-aggressive push.

Apple has reportedly removed the Quartz app from the App Store at the request of the Chinese government. Quartz’s Investigations editor John Keefe confirmed the app has been removed from the App Store and even the website has been blocked in Mainland China.

The publication has been covering the Hong Kong protests in detail and this hasn’t gone down well with the government in Beijing. China has a long history of suppressing free speech and it’s not surprising to see them block off content that doesn’t suit their narrative.

Though, users are furious at Apple for not taking a stand and bowing down to pressure. A few days back, the Cupertino-based giant removed the Taiwanese flag from its keyboard for some users to please the Chinese officials.

Apple was also in the news this week due to its initial rejection of an app that kept a tab on police movement in Hong Kong. Back in 2017, Apple removed the New York Times app from App Store after the Chinese government requested its removal because it was “in violation of local regulations.”

It is necessary for Apple to stay on good terms with China because of its business interests. Almost every other product designed by Apple will find its roots back in China, where everything is built — components as well as finished iPhones.

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Instagram is finally getting a dark mode

Out on iOS, beta on Android

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The spookiest and scariest month is upon us! A week into October, we can’t wait to sink our teeth into Halloween. While we wait for our monsters to wake up, the tech world is slowly paving the way for a scary month. For one, Instagram, Facebook’s popular photo-sharing social media network, has started embracing the dark side.

The app has released a much-awaited update for its iPhone variant. The update includes a dark mode, in collaboration with the newly released iOS 13’s native dark mode support. Finally, Instagram turns off the lights on its iconic (and sometimes obnoxiously bright) white theme. We can now browse throughout feeds in eye-pleasing darkness.

Sadly, the new dark mode is not accessible using a normal on-and-off switch. The mode switches on based on your own iPhone’s settings.

In addition to iOS, Instagram is also slowly rolling out the update for Android users. Unfortunately, the update is available only for Instagram Beta users. Even then, the Android update is only starting to trickle down to users worldwide.

Regardless, Instagram’s dark mode is a welcome addition to our growing list of dark mode-friendly apps. It’s getting easier to distract yourself from startling jump scares during those inevitable horror movie marathons on your couch this Halloween.

SEE ALSO: Facebook Dating is now live with Instagram integration

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This is Huawei’s alternative for missing Google Play services

Filling up the vacuum

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2019 has been an awfully difficult year for Huawei. While the US and China are embroiled in a trade war, the Chinese telecommunication giant is stuck in the cross-fire. Like every other phone maker, it relies on Google’s Android operating system and services to deliver a complete experience to the end user.

However, President Trump has barred American companies from doing any business with Huawei, which means the brand can no longer leverage Google Play services. Google has been banned from China for the longest time, so this won’t have any effect on Huawei’s sales in the country, but it will completely derail Huawei’s plans of global domination.

To counter these missing Google apps, Huawei has released a plethora of in-house apps that will ensure the user doesn’t feel left out. AppGallery is will replace the Google Play Store and can be used in 170+ countires. Launched way back in 2011, it was initially released for users in China only. In 2018, it was shipped to non-Chinese users and became a pre-installed package on all new phones.

Similarly, Huawei Browser replaces Google Chrome, Huawei Mobile Cloud replaces Google Drive, and Huawei Music replaces YouTube or Play Music. There’s also an addition of Huawei Themes, Huawei Assistant, and many more.

Thanks to the open-source nature of AOSP, Huawei is not completely barred from using Android on its smartphone. The recently launched Mate 30 series runs on Android, but doesn’t come with Google apps out-of-the-box, including Google Play Store.

This reminds us of Samsung’s Galaxy phones that usually ship with Google apps as well as Samsung’s own suite of apps. They are pretty much meant to do the same job, but come from two different vendors. Ultimately, offering more options to the user.

Will you be fine with these replacements or are Google apps necessary? As Plan B, Huawei has already announced its Harmony OS and we expect it to be ready for phones in the coming years. But, that’s still a long way down the line.

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