Does reading before bed help you to sleep faster?

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Does reading before bed help you to sleep faster?

Postby rook32 » Fri Oct 12, 2012 1:20 pm

I have been thinking of doing my project on, if reading before bed helps you to sleep faster. Do you have any suggestions on how I could measure this? Thank you!
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Project Question: Does reading before bed really help you to sleep faster?
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Re: Does reading before bed help you to sleep faster?

Postby microkts » Sat Oct 13, 2012 10:00 pm

Hi rook32,

This sounds like an interesting project. You could set up a video camera to record as someone is falling asleep. Then when you watch it later you can measure the amount of time until they fall asleep.

Kierstyn
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Re: Does reading before bed help you to sleep faster?

Postby dcnick96 » Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:08 pm

Hello. An interesting project. A couple of items to be sure to consider:

1. This would involve the study of human subjects, and there are strict rules concerning this. Be sure to check out this page for further information:
http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_src_safety_human_subjects.shtml

2. Many factors other than reading can affect one's ability to fall asleep. Eating / drinking just before going to bed, lighting, temperature, noise. Is the person reading from a book / magazine or from a phone / ipad, etc (producing light in the process)? You will need to control these other variables and make them consistent across your subjects. Comparing times between a person that drank a sugary drink right before bed and reading a magazine may not be a fair comparison to someone drinking warm milk and reading from an Ipad. Be sure to read existing publications to learn what has been studied already.

Of course, all of these variables could be a positive thing for you. You could choose one variable to change and compare results for your experiment.

Good luck!
Deana
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Re: Does reading before bed help you to sleep faster?

Postby rook32 » Mon Oct 15, 2012 9:11 am

That sounds great but how do you tell when they are asleep instead of just laying in bed with their eyes closed?
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Project Question: Does reading before bed really help you to sleep faster?
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Re: Does reading before bed help you to sleep faster?

Postby kerriackerly » Wed Oct 17, 2012 7:05 pm

Hi rook32,

This sounds like a great project! Determining when your test subject fell asleep is going to be an important part of your experimental design and data collection.

It would be great to track the length of time a person takes to fall asleep without reading for a few days and then compare it to the amount of time it takes them to fall asleep with reading. Setting up a video camera is definitely one great way to tell if a person is asleep. Another option would work if you have access to a smart phone. There are applications that you can download (with parent or guardian permission!) that actually track a person's sleep patterns for you. It will tell you when they fall asleep, the timing and length of a person's sleep cycles, amount of time a person spends in REM or light-sleep, and so on. I have used the Apple iPhone "Sleep by Motion X" application to track sleep before. This application actually was not free (it was 99cents), but there are definitely free applications that you can download to do similar things. The application works by tracking a person's movements as they sleep when you place the smart phone (with the application turned on) onto their bed before they go to sleep. Using an application like this one would allow you to determine the length of time it takes a person to fall asleep, and most likely a few other variables for each subject's sleep too!

Please let us know if there is anything else we can help you with! It seems like you're well on your way to a great project.

Best,
Kerri
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Re: Does reading before bed help you to sleep faster?

Postby rook32 » Tue Oct 23, 2012 4:05 pm

Thank you all for your help. I do not know how to track when a person falls asleep though. With the video camera i cant tell if they are asleep or laying in bed. And the app just tracks sleep phases. Is their a sleep lab or something near me?
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Project Question: Does reading before bed really help you to sleep faster?
Project Due Date: February 4th 2012
Project Status: I am just starting

Re: Does reading before bed help you to sleep faster?

Postby kerriackerly » Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:49 pm

rook32,

The app I was telling you about actually gives you the exact time that the person falls asleep. It tracks the person's movements as they lay in bed. So what you could do is start the app as the person begins reading, and then once they fall asleep the app will tell you at what time their movements in bed changed to movements that mean they're sleeping. For example, if your subject starts reading at 9:00pm, and then falls asleep at 9:30pm, the app will register that the subject actually fell asleep at 9:30 and it took them 30 minutes to fall asleep.

If you decide to use the video camera, you could decide on a specific signal that indicates the subject you're taping is asleep. For example, you could decide that once your subject's eyes have been closed for five minutes and their movements stop then they are asleep.

You could try a practice run of video taping a subject reading and trying to tell if you're able to figure out when they fell asleep, or using the app to see if it works for you.

Please let us know if you have any more questions!

Best,
Kerri
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Re: Does reading before bed help you to sleep faster?

Postby rook32 » Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:56 pm

Thank you soooo much the app works great. I was trying some free versions untill i could get a itunes gift card and they were the ones that i was talking about. To test should i have the kids in my class with a smartphone or i pod download the app and try it? Should their be a set time to go to bed and/or a set amount of reading time? I think they should not eat anything 1 hour before ben tand that they should try to make their room as dark as possible. I was thinking to test without reading for 2 days and with reading for2 as well. Thank You
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Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:11 pm
Occupation: Student 8th grade
Project Question: Does reading before bed really help you to sleep faster?
Project Due Date: February 4th 2012
Project Status: I am just starting

Re: Does reading before bed help you to sleep faster?

Postby kerriackerly » Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:09 am

rook32,

I'm so glad to hear it's working for you! You could definitely ask your classmates if they would be willing to participate. You could also ask other people living in your house to be test subjects too. Choosing subjects is an important part of your experimental design. Once you find out who is willing to participate in your study, it would be useful to give them all guidelines to follow for the experiment. Giving them specific instructions on what you would like them to do will give you a better chance of controlling more variables in your study. For example, you can give them all a checklist of some 'rules' during your study: no eating one hour prior to bed, make sure your room is as dark as possible, make sure you go to bed around the same time all nights, and whatever other things you can think of. You can also give them a chart to fill out as they participate in your study. You can ask them to write down things like the time they got in bed, the time they fell asleep, whether or not their were reading, what time they got up, the last time they ate, etc. Providing them with a chart or a checklist of what you'd like them to remember to do will also help remind them of being consistent throughout the study.

Having your participants do things exactly the same (well, as much as they can!) will help you once you start analyze your data.

Please let us know if you have any more questions, I can't wait to hear how it is all working out!

Best,
Kerri
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