Modern life is pretty hectic. We’re working longer hours than ever, and even when we do get some downtime, we spend it addicted to Snapchat and Instagram, growing more anxious that our lives don’t match those perfectly airbrushed ones we see on screen. No wonder we’re currently suffering through an epidemic of sleeplessness.
But help is at hand, and it comes in the form of tech. We know, using tech to solve a problem that it largely created is like downing whisky in an attempt to sober up. But hear us out. The same Californian companies who made their fortunes keeping us addicted to their apps and devices are pouring their considerable resources into helping us sleep. And that’s a very good thing.
So put on a mug of cocoa, slip into your Spider-Man PJs and get comfortable, as we run you through the 14 most soporific gadgets around. Night night.
Nokia Sleep (£99.95)
Worried you might be snoring? If you don’t have a significant other to tell you, this gadget will. The Nokia Sleep also offers sleep cycle analysis (including deep, light and REM), heart-rate tracking so you can see whether your dreams get your pulse racing, and syncing to the Health Mate app for an incredibly detailed analysis of your night’s kip.
One of its coolest features is its IFTTT (If This Then That) integration. This can dim the lights when you get into bed, or crank up the heating the moment you wake. Now that’s how to start the day.
Zeeq Smart Pillow (£199)
This pillow has a snore alarm built in. As soon as the built-in microphone detects you sounding like a blocked vacuum cleaner, it will vibrate gently, just enough to get you to move onto your side without waking you up. Well, it’s got to be better than an elbow in the ribs.
It can also play music from the integrated speaker, letting you doze off to a lullaby, and you can programme the music to stop after a certain time, so it won’t wake you up. It analyses your natural sleep movements too, and wakes you at the ideal moment in your sleep cycle. So – hopefully – you won’t need five coffees just to open your eyes.
Matrix Mattress ($800)
Chances are, your mattress is one of the most-used items you own, so it’s worth investing in a decent one. This smart mattress tracks your heart rate, breathing, movement, stress levels and sleep cycles, so if you feel groggy all day, you’ll know why.
Like some other devices here, it wakes you during the optimum part of your sleep cycle, leaving you bright eyed and bushy tailed. Add memory foam and the innovative, cool-to-the-touch fabric, and you’ve got a chariot to slumberland.
Sleep Number 360 Smart Bed ($899)
This bed has an innovative anti-snore system. As soon as you – or your partner, it’s definitely always them, right? – start snoring, the head of the bed on that side rises slightly. The raised position will make their airways less congested, which should shut them up.
But it’s not the only trick this bed has in store. Responsive Air tech senses your movements and automatically adjusts the mattress’ firmness, comfort and support to keep you and your partner snoozing.
Each side of the foot of the bed can also be pre-heated to keep your toes toasty (supposedly it helps you fall asleep) and of course there’s an app for delving into an insane number of stats for each night’s sleep. Which might well put you to sleep…
Philips SmartSleep ($399.99)
We would all like to get more sleep, but what if that’s just not possible? The Philips SmartSleep is here to help.
It promises to improve the quality of your sleep, so you feel more rested without sleeping through lunch. Which should mean you have more energy and feel more alert and less sleepy during the day.
So how does it work? Two sensors detect when you’re in deep sleep and triggers quiet audio tones to boost the slow brain waves that characterise this stage of sleep. But yes, it does look a bit like a silly hat (note: beard not included).
This headband promises to help you fall asleep faster, get deeper sleep, wake up refreshed and to analyse and improve your sleep.
When it’s time to see the sandman, it plays one of four “sound-based sleep induction features” to help him on his way. These are: breathing, cognition, meditation and ambiance. Once you have nodded off, it uses sound stimulations to increase the power of your slow brainwaves to aid deeper sleep.
The smart alarm wakes you during the lightest stage of your sleep cycle so you don’t feel too groggy, while the app gives you all kinds of stats on how you slept. It also looks slightly less silly than the Philips.
Renu Nucalm Performance or Clinical Pack ($4,9995)
How much?! Personally speaking, we would lose sleep over spending that much cash, but if you really value your sleep and nothing else works, it could be worth a shot.
The NuCalm system has four components. A topical cream or chewable dietary supplements counteract adrenaline, helping you to relax. Then it’s time to get to the meat of the meal: micro-current stimulation. This works to combat your brain’s natural stress response, re-establishing optimal neurotransmitter levels. In other words, it’ll help you stay calm whatever life throws at you.
The app plays relaxing sounds specially tuned to oscillate your brain wave functions between deep relaxation and recovery. Finally, there’s an eye mask. Not exactly the most high tech part, but still, it does the job.
Brain.fm (Free with in-app purchases)
This app plays music to get you in a variety of moods, including focus, meditation, relaxation, naps or night-time sleep.
In other words, slap on a pair of headphones and it’ll help you wind down, take a quick power nap, or drift off for the evening. It claims to use the most advanced AI music composer on the planet, developed with the help of auditory scientists to make it more effective. If only it could stop you dribbling.
Vollebak Relaxation Hoodie (£220)
Think of this as a wearable isolation tank. Zip it up all the way and it’ll cover your face, cutting you off from the outside world and letting you zone out all its stresses and strains.
The black visor doesn’t block your vision entirely, so you can still see out (which should stop your “hilarious” friends from pranking you). But it does dull even the brightest light, making the world look like a much calmer and more sedate place to be.
There’s even an internal phone pocket and headphone loops, and a downloadable soundtrack of pink noise to bring you down when it all gets a bit much. Plus it makes you look like a Power Ranger.
Bose Noise-Masking Sleepbuds ($249.95)
Neighbours drilling holes in the wall at 3am? You want the Bose Noise-Masking Sleepbuds. These fill your ears with noise-masking technology – basically soothing sounds that block out the noise of a hammer drill severing a water pipe in the wee hours.
Ten sounds come pre-loaded, some optimised to mask noise, others just to relax you. There are no wires to garrotte yourself with in the night, and the in-built alarm will only wake you, not anyone else in the room. Handy if you like to get up and at it while your other half dozes like a sloth on sleeping pills.
QuietOn Sleep (€136)
Another pair of noise-cancelling earbuds, these are optimised to block out snoring. Which could well save a marriage or two.
They last 20 hours before needing a recharge, which should be enough for two to three nights’ sleep. To juice them up, just pop them in their natty carry case. It too can hold some charge, so you can juice them up on the go.
There’s also a hearing mode – tap the side, and it opens the airwaves, so you can hear your what your partner’s saying. Whether you want to is another matter.
Like the earbuds above, Nightingale will also provide sound-masking noise, but because it’s a plug, it plays them to the whole room, rather than only individual wearers. Think of it as a blanket of sound.
Sounds from nature will help you drift off, as will the room light, which provides a calming environment. But best of all? It can be controlled by Amazon Alexa and Google Home, so you can just speak to activate it. “Alexa, send me to sleep…”
Suzy Snooze (£99)
This is a godsend for sleep-deprived parents: a nightlight for kids that also helps them sleep.
Connect it to your wi-fi network, push down its hat and it starts the sleep sequence. First is the soothing phase – playing relaxing sounds with soothing light patterns to help calm your child. This lasts 15 minutes, but can be restarted at any time by pressing down the hat again.
Next comes the sleep phase. Here it works as a standard nightlight, with a dim glow creating a calm and cosy environment. Finally, it wakes the child by lighting up, and the hat popping up. Train your kids to stay in bed until the hat comes up and who knows, you might even get a lie-in. Chance would be a fine thing…
Sleepy Bottle (£TBC)
Another one for the little ‘uns, and another possible marriage saver/sleep aid for parents. Sleep Bottle warms water and keeps it at the perfect feeding temperature for hours. That means it’s ready to go as soon as little Timmy wakes up.
It keeps the powdered formula dry, then when it’s feeding time, just twist and shake it to mix it with the warmed water. No hanging around, and no 3am trips to the kitchen to warm water.
You can even plug it in to a USB port – in the car, say – for heating on the go. Absolute life changer.