March is certainly the month of wellness. Not only is it National Bed Month, next week (11/03-17/03) also marks National Sleep Awareness Week. Chris Price celebrates the importance of a great night’s rest with six sleep gadgets designed specifically to help you get 40 winks
The Sleep Council’s 2017 ‘Great British Bedtime Report’ revealed that more than a third of Brits have suffered from sleeping problems for more than five years and a fifth for more than 10 years.
So what are we doing to solve the problem? Turning to technology, it seems (even though it seems that in some instances, especially mobile phone use, it’s the technology that’s keeping us awake).
New research into Britons’ sleeping habits carried out by interiors etailer Furniture123.co.uk has revealed that 51% of the UK population has used technology-based sleep-aids in order to help get the perfect sleep while almost 1 in 3 (31%) say they use them every night.
Sleep tracking apps are the most commonly used sleep-support technologies (43% claim to have used these). Other top gadgets include wearable sleep trackers (36%), specialist lighting such as a wake-up light or sad lamp (23%), and noise-based technology such as white noise devices or headphones (18%).
Here we pick some of our favourite gadgets designed to help you get a good night’s rest.
Many people have air conditioning for their car, some even for their home (though not so much in the UK for obvious reasons). But how about air conditioning for your bed? That’s pretty much what the Bedjet is (albeit without the chemicals). Available via Bedjet (UK/Australia users) or from Amazon US for around £250/$339, it’s billed as the world’s first ultra rapid cooling, heating and climate control system made just for your bed. Not only is it super quiet, it can also be controlled via smartphone app. Heating mode gives instant warmth in just seconds and is a much safer alternative to old fashioned electric blankets. The new version two model even boasts an Aromatherapy diffuser kit so you can enjoy the soothing effects of scented aromatherapy while you are resting.
Enjoy music, audio books or ambient sounds in bed without having to wear uncomfortable headphones. Just plug the 3.5mm stereo jack plug into your audio player and start listening to sound through the speaker beneath your head. Designed so there’s no need for a high volume that will keep your partner awake, the hollowfibre filling ensures that you’ll never know there’s a speaker beneath your head. In particular, many tinnitus sufferers choose the Soundasleep pillow, as soft background noise at the right frequency will often reduce the ringing effect in their ears. Costing under £20, the hypo-allergenic pillow can be sponged clean, and the audio lead removed should you wish to use it as an ordinary pillow.
Here’s a sleep gadget with a difference. It’s a metronome with a built in light system that’s designed to help you fall asleep naturally – the digital equivalent of counting sheep. Simply tap the touch-sensitive surface once for the 8-minute mode and twice for the 20-minute mode and Dodow projects a soft blue light onto the ceiling. Open your eyes and watch the pulsing light, then gently synchronise your breathing with the light, breathing in when the light glows and out when it disappears when it goes. Dodow’s soft blue light (brightness is less than 1 lux) allows your body to relax, without inhibiting melatonin production with Dodow claiming that its users fall asleep or get back to sleep 2.5 times faster on average. Currently retailing for just under £50 on Amazon.
Having trouble sleeping because of distracting background noise? The AVANTEK White Noise Machine has been designed to produce soothing, natural sounds that drown out unwanted noises. The device offers a wide range of volumes with 30 levels, up to a maximum of 115 dB so you should find the right volume setting for you. The auto-off timer means that you won’t need to manually switch it off. Instead the sound fades away gradually without disturbing you. The next time you power on the device it will automatically adjust to your last set volume, sound track, and timer. Available in black or white versions, this white noise machine is currently on sale here for around £30.
Rather than having to put electrodes or straps on your head as with some sleep monitors, the Beurer sleep monitor is a slim disc that goes at shoulder height between your mattress and bed frame, so you won’t even notice it’s there. Just plug it into the wall with the 3 metre long power cable provided, download the SleepExpert app switch on your phone’s Bluetooth and you’re ready to start learning about your sleep habits! The Beurer SE 80 shows you the exact length of all of your sleep cycles, allowing you to see what quality of sleep you’re getting each night. This means you can identify common waking patterns which may indicate an environmental disturbance you were previously unaware of, or you can identify unhelpful lifestyle habits which may contribute to poor sleep, such as dietary factors, or other issues such as irregular breathing. One useful feature is called Fresh Wake which uses this information to wake you up during light, rather than deep, sleep so that you always feel well rested, energised and ready to start your day! The only downside is the cost. Currently retailing for around £150, it’s not exactly cheap. You can buy from here.
And finally one gadget to help you wake up!
From the inventors of the original wake up light, comes Lumie’s wake up clock. Instead of being jolted from sleep by an alarm, Bodyclock wakes you up gradually and more effectively with a slowly brightening light over a period of 30 minutes. There’s also a sunset option to help you relax for sleep with the light slowly fading to off over a period of 30 minutes. Other features include dimmable bedside light, optional alarm beep, snooze and power failure back up. Costing nearly £50 on Amazon and other online retailers, it’s not the cheapest on the market but it’s certainly more desirable than being woken up by a shrill iPhone tone!