Tools To Help You Sleep
If you’ve ever experienced insomnia or a night of interrupted sleep, you know that lack of sleep impacts everything from your brain power to your mood. On the other hand, indulging in seven to eight hours of deep Zzzzs will oftentimes leave you calm, peaceful and loving. Needless to say, sleep is important. The time we spend lingering in a dream state is vital for resting and restoring our bodies and minds.
And yet, we’re not getting enough. Beyond mood swings and fatigue, ongoing sleep problems have lasting consequences. Poor sleep has been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease; has been shown to increase weight gain; and inadequate sleep makes your heart work harder. What’s more, there are costly social and economic ramifications to our sleep deprivation: Research shows all those tired people miss an estimated 1.2 million estimated working days, costing the US ~$400 billion a year.
Sleep aides aren’t reinventing the wheel: They’re designed to help you breathe deeply and rhythmically, an action that stimulates your parasympathetic nervous system—think rest and digest—and reduce distractions from the outside world. So, before cluttering your bed with gadgets, see what lifestyle adjustments you can make so breathing easy will be a little easier.
If you’ve already tried the basics—like reducing screen time before bed (nope, Netflix should not be your bedmate), journaling to ease anxious thoughts or an overactive mind, and avoiding stimulants like sugar and caffeine—and you’re still having trouble conking out, an herbal blend or the innovative tools listed below could be a lifesaver.
THE HERBAL OPTION
Like any imbalance, insomnia or trouble sleeping should be addressed at the root. An herbal blend like Deep Wave Sleep works by supporting our internal circadian rhythms and helping to restore natural sleep cycles. Easy on the system, the herbs in this blend work to support your entire system for a better night of sleep.
Given the importance of sleep, we’re in favor of anything that will help you get more of it. Try a combination of lifestyle tweaks, a course of botanical herbs, and / or some of the tools listed here to help you make the most of your down time.
INNOVATIVE TOOLS TO HELP YOU SLEEP
Philips Smart Sleep helps you enter deep sleep or slow-wave sleep, which has been shown to play a critical role in reseting brain function, leading to improved mental focus.
The Smart Sleep is a soft headband worn while sleeping. Once the sensors pick up signals that you have entered slow wave sleep, it uses bone-conduction technology to enhance the depth and duration of your slow-wave sleep. By using bone conduction speakers, your partner won’t be affected by the customized audio. But buy wisely: Although Philips claims the Smart Sleep has been clinically tested, they have yet to release that data.
Dreamlight is a mask that wraps around the eyes and ears with a thick, plush band. The mask includes an internal orange light to help relax and guide your breathing as you fall asleep, and sends out a green light to wake you up. There are multiple sensors to develop a sleep profile aimed at helping you understand your sleep, including infrared lights to decrease inflammation around the eyes and speakers that play a variety of soothing sounds throughout the night.
The Somnox is a plush robot pillow designed to give you comfort while lulling you to sleep. The Somnox simulates slow deep breathing that you will feel while snuggling the pillow. You will naturally synchronize your breathing to the slow, deep pace of the Somnox, which can help you fall asleep faster. The Somnox will also play any sound you desire; upload your own or choose from the selection of soothing choices. Sensors in the Somnox will turn the robot off when it detects that you have fallen asleep.
2breathe was adapted from medical technology that was developed to reduce hypertension. It’s a device that wraps around your chest to monitor your breathing patterns. Users of the medical device reported improvement to their sleep; as a result, the 2breathe was created for the general public. It uses an app that connects via bluetooth to the sensor worn around the torso. The sensor picks up the pattern of your inhalation and exhalation; and the app uses that information to guide you into deeper slower breathing through the speaker of your phone or connected device.
Photo by Sarah Gray on Unsplash
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