Today is World Sleep Day so it’s time to remind ourselves of the value of a good night’s kip — and of the damaging consequences of not getting enough of the stuff, whether that be poor health, lower productivity and impaired memory, or stress and daytime drowsiness.
Just ask a chronic insomniac or sleep-deprived parent.
Because, let’s face it, sleep doesn’t always come easy.
As many as 36% of UK adults struggle to get to sleep on a weekly basis.
But help is at hand in the form of gadgets and gizmos given the official nod from sleep scientists.
So tuck yourself in and check out these ways to increase your chances of some decent shut-eye.
Hotel slumber party
Hotels are the one place you can go for quality sleep. Of course, that depends on where your room’s located, whether blackout blinds are included, how ear-splitting the air con is and whether you’ve got very loud neighbours.
One hotel putting a decent night’s rest at the heart of its guest experience is the recently opened Pan Pacific London in Bishopsgate.
The five-star hotel has launched a tech-infused sleep programme — Rest, Recharge And Rejuvenate (from £595 per night) — which includes access to its infinity pool, sauna, steam room and relaxation pods, alongside the help of innovative sleep aids.
The relaxing experience also includes Mela’s cosy and heavy Weighted Blanket (from £71.40), which studies have shown can significantly reduce levels of anxiety and insomnia.
Mela’s stress-reducing properties come from anti-rustle glass pellets that give it that weight for deep pressure therapy, which experts say mimics the feeling of a hug or being squeezed. The result? Moulding to the contours of your body, it leaves you feeling cocooned from the world.
Other techie touches include the Ooler Sleep System (from £639, chilisleep.co.uk) from ChiliSleep, which is probably best described as an air conditioner (or heater) for your bed.
Designed to maximise deep, restorative sleep and optimise your circadian rhythm — or internal body clock — the temperature-controlled pad connects to a shoebox-sized control unit.
The box then cools or heats water that is pumped out at between 13C and 43C through tubes interwoven through the mattress pad. Once covered with a fitted sheet, things looks less science experiment and more conventional — bar the rubber tube protruding from your bed and the gently humming white box.
The idea is to control your bed’s surface temperature, either in real time or with a timer, via an iOS/Android app or by prodding its buttons.
You can even heat the pad to gently wake you up or warm the bed on frosty winter nights. Admittedly, the design isn’t optimised for all bedroom styles, but it sure beats getting up in the middle of the night to crack open a window for some air.
Google Nest Hub (2nd gen)
Google has made a beeline for your bedside table with its 7in device, which uses Soli chip-powered sleep-sensing superpowers without the need for a camera.
A recent update dishes out a more detailed look at the quality of your Zs, with its Sleep Staging chart tracking your various stages of sleep. This includes how long you were awake or experiencing REM, light or deep sleep.
Updated sound detection also tracks coughs and snores. Digital duties still include answering audible commands and controlling smart home gadgets.
Withings Sleep Analyser
This sensor-loaded pad sits underneath your mattress to dive into your sleeping habits. Data is delivered to an app that produces an easy-to-understand in-depth report into your sleep duration and cycles, heart rate and snoring.
This produces an overall sleep score, alongside tips to improve it. Its latest Sleep Diary feature turns its health-monitoring capabilities up a notch by automatically collecting and analysing sleep data.
It then wraps in info about your behaviour and displays the results in an easy-to-understand format so you can track your sleep over time or hand the data to doctors.
Zeez Sleep Pebble
This sleep-inducing pebble is essentially a neuroscientific solution to prevent our minds from moving at 100mph.
A poor sleeper’s brain activity is dominated by higher-frequency signals associated with light sleep.
Switch this thing on and it emits an extremely low-power electromagnetic signal at similar frequencies to those generated by the brain of a good sleeper.
The Zeez helps by pulsing out the missing frequencies at appropriate times, calming the nervous system, slowing the heart rate and ultimately coaxing you out of bad sleep patterns.
Garmin Venu 2
Here’s a smartwatch that’s as concerned about your exercise stats as it is your sleep data.
Advanced Sleep Monitoring measures heart-rate variability, which lets you know when you’re in REM or non-REM and displays all such data in an app.
An accelerometer indicates whether you’re a wriggler or when you wake up in the middle of the night for a trip to the loo, and you’ll get a breakdown of sleep and a summary of the night on the watch.
From £349.99, garmin.com
Groov-e Light Curve
Sleep issues can be caused by a disruption to our circadian rhythm and light is a critical factor.
Groov-e’s wake-up light promises to help you wind down before bedtime with a gradual 30-minute sunset simulation that triggers a natural cue in your body to increase the production of sleep hormones such as melatonin.
When it’s time to get up, it simulates sunrise using its ten levels of brightness until you’re no longer reaching for the snooze button.
Renpho Eye Massager
The Renpho Eye Massager applies gentle rolling pressure to your eye area while lightly massaging your temples to help you relax.
The heat option is designed to feel like a warm compress to relieve dry and tired eyes and boost circulation.
Built-in music or the option to stream your own soothing sounds is a welcome addition that you’ll likely want to crank up to block out the 50dB buzz emitted by the cushions as they inflate and deflate.
This faceless tracker doesn’t just track steps, gym sessions and calorie burn, it features a Sleep Coach to help you establish a nightly routine by determining the optimum time to sleep and wake up.
It does this with the help of haptic alerts rather than the sound of your alarm.
From £44 for a SuperKnitband and membership is from £30 per month
Beurer LA 40 Aroma Diffuser
Essential oils can help with relaxation and sleep by creating fragrantly calming environments.
This one complements its soothing scent dispersal with a colourful light show.
There’s no remote or sound effects but a handy timer function enables you to set the diffuser to run for one, three or seven hours.
HoMedics SoundSpa Rejuvenate Sleep Aid Machine
If you’re after an ideal way to block unwanted racket, improve your sleep cycles or create the perfect calming environment, this white-noise machine delivers soothing, room-filling sounds to drown out noisy neighbours, the incessant buzz of a busy road or relentless barking.
Kokoon Nightbuds in-ears
These smart earbuds sit in the ears and effectively replace unwanted external noise, such as traffic or freight train-style snoring, with intelligent noise-masking.
Treat your ears to a selection of 50 soothing, sleep-inducing in-app sounds, with sensors that adapt your audio to your sleep.
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