A good night’s sleep is extremely important for a number of health functions, such as cognitive ability, immune activity, body weight maintenance, and overall mood and mental performance.
With an essential purpose for the body and mind, sleep provides “downtime” or “recharging” of critical functions that help us perform in daily life. A restful respite aids the body by staving off diseases and allowing us to think clearly and process information more effectively, while also helping to avoid feelings of anxiety and depression.
Oftentimes the stresses of daily life inhibit one’s ability to enjoy a refreshing, uninterrupted night’s sleep and you wake up feeling foggy or groggy, or perhaps a bit “off”. Although insomnia may have a basis in other health issues, a majority of sleep deprivation cases are the result of not being able to turn off our brains and relax.
Stress about work, school, finances, health or family can keep your mind in an overly active state at night, making it difficult to fall sleep. Stressful life events or trauma – such as the death or illness of a loved one, divorce, or a job loss – may also lead to the inability to fall asleep or stay in a restful state throughout the night.
Before resorting to pharmaceuticals to address difficulty falling asleep at night and other symptoms of insomnia, be sure to look into the myriad of alternative innovations that have entered the market to address this very common malady.
Products fall into one of two categories: Wearables or Ambient Enhancers.
Apollo Neuro makes a mood enhancing, haptic device that can be worn as either a bracelet or an anklet, the latter being preferred per the company. Developed by neuroscientists, the product is based on the principle of haptic or touch stimulation of the parasympathetic side of the autonomic nervous system, which controls the functions of the body’s organs and glands.
As the Apollo is the result of scientific work that studied the impact of touch to reduce stress, the founders believe that gentle waves of stimulation could increase parasympathetic nervous system activity and thus improve Heart Rate Variability (HRV) during stressful situations.
Parasympathetic activation calms the body by slowing the heart rate and breathing to create relaxed conditions. This non-invasive method of treating stress and other psychological sleep disorders has promise, as it steers patients away from harmful, often deadly and addictive pharmaceuticals to treat the same disorders.
Benefits & Features
- Reduces Stress
- Improves Sleep
- Helps You Focus
- Restores Balance to Your Nervous System
- Has 7 Adjustable Modes
Dreem 2 Headband
Using similar Polysomnography (PSG) sleep monitoring technology as that found in academic sleep laboratories, the Dreem 2 Headband has sensors that measure various biomarkers in order to get a precise scientific reading of your sleep state. By monitoring brain activity, Parisian scientists behind the product believe that auditory stimulation or “pink noise” transmitted directly into the inner ear will improve slow-wave or deep sleep.
This sleep quality tracking and sleep enhancing headband uses cognitive behavioral therapy and movement to improve sleep disorders and promises to get you to sleep faster. As with most sleep devices, there is a wake up function or smart alarm.
Benefits & Features
- Improves Deep Sleep
- Helps You Fall Asleep Faster
- Provides Precise Tracking of Brain Activity & Key Biomarkers
- Uses Auditory Stimulation to Improve Slow-Wave Sleep
Promoting itself as “The #1 Wearable”, the company behind Cove believes that activating a critical brain pathway, the interceptive pathway, via patented vibrations can improve sleep quality and duration. Cove is a head-wearable device – think sunglasses put on backward, down toward the nape of your neck that provides cognitive behavioral therapy.
For just 20 minutes a day, day or night, you can control stress with specific vibrations, after one month of daily use. Progress can be tracked on the Cove app which is downloadable on any tablet or phone.
Benefits & Features
- Improves Sleep Quality and Duration
- Helps You Manage Stress
- Validated by Scientific Research
- Safe with No Side Effects
- Can be Worn Before Bed or During the Day
- Taps into the Natural Relaxation Systems in the Brain
The Muse Headband is an electroencephalography (EEG) based device that provides real time feedback on brain activity and teaches the wearer the art of focus and relaxation. With advanced signal processing to interpret mental activity, Muse translates brain activity into the sounds of weather.
The immersive soundscapes guide the wearer to a specific desired state: to hear peaceful weather when the mind registers a specific brain state of calm, neutral or active. Muse is based on the principle that the brain can be trained into a calmer state that is more conducive to relaxation and thus sleep.
Benefits & Features
- Trains the Brain to Relax
- Teaches the Art of Focus & Relaxation
- Helps You Refocus During the Day & Recover Overnight
- Tracks Sleep Positions
- Provides Personalized Sleep Efficiency Score
- Has 500+ Guided Meditations
Smart Nora Snoring Solution
If your sleep disorder is not really about you, but in fact your bedmate, then we suggest the Smart Nora Snoring Solution! Unlike other wearable solutions, such as mouth guards, nose strips, or face straps, the Smart Nora is a device that is placed in your pillowcase that is operated by a mouse-like device that sits on your nightstand.
The science is simple: snoring is caused by relaxation of the neck and throat muscles, which decreases the airway’s size and causes vibrations or snoring. The expander within the pillowcase, causes a slight movement of your head which stimulates the head and next muscles causing them to open up and allows for normal breathing. The expansion is so gentle, you will never feel the movement and it doesn’t matter which side of the pillow you rest your head. Your partner will thank you!
Benefits & Features
- Non-Invasive Snoring Solution
- Does Not Require Wearing a Device
- Easy to Setup & Use
- Device is Triggered Before Snoring Becomes Too Loud
- Seamlessly Works with All Sleeping Positions
- Works with Your Existing Pillow
Smart Nora Links
Philips SmartSleep Connected Sleep & Wake Up Light Alarm
When travelling internationally, we are always amazed at airplane innovation designed to help passengers overcome jet lag as quickly as possible. Advances in circadian-rhythm based cabin lighting allows passengers to fall asleep more quickly and to awaken more refreshed by stimulating or suppressing melatonin, the sleep hormone, to aid in regulating relaxation and wake cycles while onboard.
Simulated sunrises and sunsets align with the time zone of the passengers’ destination making it easier to adjust en route and overcome jet-lag more efficiently.
The Philips SmartSleep line of sleep & wake-up products is based on a similar concept of creating a simulated sunset and sunrise to augment the body’s circadian rhythms to provide a more natural method of regulating the sleep-wake cycle. The SmartSleep has a sunset-style bedtime mode that gradually dims and can play soothing sounds or guide you through breathing exercises.
The built in AmbiTrack sensor measures your bedroom’s temperature, noise, light, and humidity levels and suggest ways to improve your sleep environment for a quicker more successful slumber.
Instead of a jarring alarm, the SmartSleep products turn on a soft light, 30 minutes before your set alarm time. In intervals that mimic a natural sunrise, the alarm’s increase in lumens works by easing your body out of deeper sleep phases. However, should you require a bit more impetus to actual get out of bed, an actual audible alarm can help wake you from a light sleep phase.
SmartSleep Connected Sleep and Wake-Up Light
Benefits & Features
- Customizable Sunrise & Sunset Simulation
- Light-Guided Wind-Down Breathing
- Personalized Settings with Multiple Options
- Environment Tracking to Improve Sleeping Conditions
- PowerWake Feature to Wake You Up on Time
- Clinically Proven to Work
Headspace Relaxation App
Headspace is a guided meditation app that can improve sleep, reduce stress and strengthen focus, downloadable to any iOS or Android tablet or phone. For novices not familiar with the art of meditation, Headspace can coach you with structured courses that simulate an in-class experience and help to incorporate meditation into your daily routine.
Meditations can vary in length and there are even “emergency meditations”, when you just need to focus or wrangle your sudden anxiety or extemporaneous stressors.
Why Modern Life Needs Sleep by Headspace: Put Your Mind to Bed
The Hatch Restore Smart Sleep Assistant’s mission is to “find your routine and rise rested”! It is focused on personalized routines to help you fall asleep, stay asleep and wake up refreshed. With a variable selection of soothing sounds and lights from which to personalize your routine, the smart sleep assistant prepares you for sleep with wind-down content that enlists your entire body. It even has a Reddit reader seal of approval who declares “No lies, the Hatch Restore really does help you sleep better!!!”
Benefits & Features
- Combines a Sound Machine, Sunrise Alarm, Smart Light, Meditation app, and an Alarm Clock into a Single Smart Sleep Assistant
- Personalized Routines to Fall Asleep, Stay Asleep & Wake Up Refreshed
- Create Different Moods from a Selection of Soothing Sounds and Lights
- Soft-Glow Reading Light without Eye-Straining Blue Hues
- Wind-Down Content to Prepare for Sleep
- Optional Sleep Membership enabled for unlimited access to sleep content
Lo-Fi and Other Auditory Relaxants
For a full review on the various lo-fi auditory productivity solutions see our full article on How LoFi Music Can Improve Your Focus When Working From Home. Many of these same solutions have a sleep channel that works on the same principles as those for focus. Endless loops of certain beats are helpful in creating a repetitious, predictable and soothing sound that allows the body to reach a calm, relaxed state suitable for attaining a full night’s rest.
Lavender Oil Aromatherapy Diffuser
Should you opt for a simpler, less technical solution, we suggest placing lavender plants in the bedroom or purchasing an essential oil diffuser. Lavender Oil (Lavandula) has been used in hospital settings as an effective remedy in improving patient sleep quality, relaxation, anxiety and disorders associated with sleep and stress.
A study published in October 2017 revealed that reflexology massage treatments with lavender essential oil offered psychological benefits by decreasing both anxiety and depression. Lavender works by transmitting messages to the limbic system, the region of the brain that influences the nervous system and helps regulate emotion.
Sleep Number VariaCool and True Temp Cooling Product Lines
Temperature plays an important part in obtaining a decent, relaxing night’s rest. Sleep Number has invested in temperature-balancing technology with both its VariaCool temperature-balancing memory foam mattress layer and pillows, and its True Temp product lines. VariaCool is a gel-infused memory foam, which provides temperature balance and soothing comfort with enhanced airflow.
True Temp pillows and sheets have temperature balancing technology that adapts to your body temperature throughout the night. With unique active-particle technology, sheets and pillows remove moisture vapor to resist humidity build-up.
Additional Sleep Tech Products to Consider
- DreamOn Wearable Sleep Aid
- Dodow Breathing Sleep Aid
- Happiest Baby SNOO Smart Sleeper
- Homni Smart Sleep Solution
- Itamar Medical Home Apnea Testing
- ReST Smart Bed
- Somnox Sleep Robot
- Timeshifter Jet Lag App
- Weltiss Mind PEMF Wearable Sleep Device
Additional Sleep Resources
- National Sleep Foundation
- Sleep Review Magazine
- Sleep Foundation
- Sleep Research Society
- Sleep Junkies Podcast
- The GoodBed Mattress Finder Quiz
- Improve Your Sleep with Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams 100% Organic Linen Bedding Collection
- How LoFi Music Can Improve Your Focus When Working From Home
- How Acoustic Panels Can Help Mute “Loud” Interior Designs
- How to Reduce Harmful Sunlight & UV Rays to Protect Your Health & Furnishings
- Products to Turn Your Bathroom into a Health & Wellness Spa
- Wellness Tips & Resources for a Healthier Home
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