Fed up with counting to 873 sheep only to find yourself staring wide-eyed into the dark abyss of your bedroom at 3am?
For many people, a good night’s sleep has been one of the casualties of lockdown and, according to a recent survey by CBD brand Trip, a staggering 85 per cent of the UK is struggling with shut-eye.
With feelings of stress and anxiety key factors in wrecking the nation’s slumber, this could have major implications for our health.
‘Prolonged sleep loss can weaken the body’s immune system and render it prone to infections,’ says Vitality GP Dr Roshane Mohidin. ‘It can also increase the risk of serious conditions like heart disease and diabetes.’
The good news is that help is available in tech form. So make yourself a cup of hot cocoa and slip into your Star Wars PJs as we show you some of the best soporific gadgets around for a little at-home R&R.
The headphones: Kokoon Relax
These headphones are a saviour for insomniacs. They’re crammed with all kinds of noise-reducing tech, including active noise-cancelling and active white noise to block out distractions.
With a companion app featuring soundscapes to lull you to sleep, as well as a series of guided meditation exercises and relaxation techniques used in cognitive behaviour therapy, these remarkably soft silicone headphones deliver a relaxing solution to sleepless nights.
They also boast sensors to record movement and track sleep habits, and step into neuroscience territory with EEG (electroencephalography) sensors in the earcups to monitor brainwave activity, helping you understand your sleep patterns better.
As you’d expect from flanking your face with audio cups, wearing them to bed takes a little getting used to, especially if you’re a fidgety sleeper.
If that sounds too disruptive to your bedtime routine, you could wait for the forthcoming Kokoon Nightbuds in-ears, the world’s smallest sleep headphones, which intelligently adapt audio as you drift off, with insights and coaching.
The light blocker: Simba Graphene Mask
Simba’s heat-based mask makes for a brilliant bedtime companion. Softly moulded to rest gently on your face, it does a great job of blocking out almost all light.
With three relaxing heating options, just plug the included USB cable into a power bank, kick back and you’ll soon be in the land of Nod.
The sleep tracker: Withings Sleep Analyzer
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to wearables loaded with some form of sleep-analysing tech.
But if you’d prefer to go to bed naked (ahem) and dive a little deeper into your sleeping habits, the Withings mains-powered Sleep Analyzer does it by lurking underneath your mattress.
Developed with the help of sleep scientists, it’s a pad no thicker than a pea so unless you’re a literal fairy-tale princess you won’t feel this thing. Packed with sensors, it monitors your rest in real time, then sends that data to an app for an in-depth and easy-to-read report that tracks sleep duration and cycles, heart rate, breathing and snoring, providing an overall sleep score and ways to improve it. So if you feel groggy all day, you’ll know why.
Its headline feature is its medical-grade detection of sleep apnea, which if left untreated can lead to high blood pressure, strokes, heart failure and other serious complications.
The app also puts this information into PDF form to share the results with your doctor if medical help is required.
The stress tracker: Fitbit Sense smartwatch
Fitbit’s most advanced health smartwatch focuses on electrodermal activity (EDA), which is measured by electrical pulses in your sweat, as a reliable indicator of stress.
You perform an EDA scan by placing your palm over the metal bezel — the Sense will then gently vibrate and measure EDA responses over two minutes, with subsequent mood and stress logging that can be reviewed in the app. The fewer EDA responses, the calmer you (probably) are.
Stress management tools including meditation sessions and mindfulness tutorials are available only on Fitbit Premium (it comes with a six-month free trial). But with heart-rate and blood oxygen (SpO2) tracking technology, an electrocardiogram (ECG) for heart health and a skin temperature sensor, not to mention a six-day battery life, it’ll prove particularly beneficial during any ‘woosah’ moments.
Want to know more? Check our our full review of the Fitbit Sense right here.
The mattress: Brook + Wilde Ultima
You spend a third of your life in bed so it’s worth investing in it. Brook + Wilde’s made-to-order Ultima mattress will immediately upgrade your bedroom to sanctuary sleep status.
Delightfully soft yet firm, it offers the kind of dreamy horizontal experience that comes with cloud-like comfort, filling ten layers with 6,000 nano and large pocket springs, and pairing that with breathable premium memory foam.
Available in soft, medium, firm or extra firm, it’s suitable for all kinds of sleepers. Although we must warn you, getting out of bed in the morning will become a lot harder.
From £1,799, brookandwilde.com
The sweat blanket: MiHigh Infrared Sauna Blanket
Stress can adversely affect your quality of sleep, which explains why portable infrared sweat contraptions like MiHigh’s Infrared Sauna Blanket are being lauded for their calming benefits.
That’s down to the release of mood-boosting chemicals including dopamine, serotonin and endorphins, which can alleviate stress and improve sleep.
By sliding into this high-tech blanket-cum-oversized sleeping bag you cocoon yourself from the shoulders down, with proven health benefits including better sleep, decreased muscle soreness and enhanced recovery, and stress relief.
The idea is to take 30 minutes to an hour to sweat it out up to three times a week, using the remote to adjust the temperature from 25C to 75C. Step out and you’ll immediately get that relaxed spa-like feeling.
The In-Ears: Bose Sleepbuds II
If you can’t wait for Kokoon’s Nightbuds, Bose has lent its audio expertise to the noise-masking Sleepbuds II. They sit practically undetected in the ears and effectively replace unwanted external noise such as traffic or freight train-style snoring with soothing sounds, helping you nod off faster and snooze for longer.
The aim is to prepare you for a good night’s sleep through a selection of 50 soothing in-app sounds and audio tracks. Use the case for additional charges and you’ll have around three or four sleeps before they need refuelling.
The Massager: Myo Touch
If your other half’s had enough of providing the at-home spa experience, GTech has a solution. The Myo Touch offers an automated rolling massage. Whether you’re suffering from poor posture and irritable back pain or simply can’t resist a robotic rub-down, the automated foam roller crawls up and down the plastic track, obediently easing tense, tired muscles while relaxing your mind. If you need help, a 27-page guide with tips on how to get the most out of the functions ought to do the trick.
And relax…a few more unusual ways to doze
HoMedics Ellia Adore Diffuser
Over the past year, 13,200 people searched for mist diffusers on Google. That’s because essential oils help wellbeing by creating fragrantly calming environments. This one’s super stylish, plus it’s got a remote to control settings, light and sound.
Renpho Leg Compression Massager
If you want to improve circulation, relax and reduce muscle tension, this brilliant and bizarre-looking contraption goes to work on your legs. There are six massage and four compression modes to choose from via the remote control.
Simba Orbit Sleep Weighted Blanket
Studies show weighted blankets reduce anxiety and induce calmer sleep. The Orbit’s stress-solving properties come from nano-beads for deep pressure therapy to help you relax. The result? Firm but gentle pressure that soothes you to sleep.
Beurer Stress ReleaZer
This bean-shaped stress reliever offers a unique way to relax using sounds, heat, light, vibrational therapy and breathing exercises. It’ll guide you through relaxation techniques, alongside calming sounds, while low-frequency vibrations help lower blood pressure.
HoMedics Gel Shiatsu Portable Pillow
If floor space is an issue, HoMedics’ battery-powered massager might be suitable for you. Its dual-directional and heated gel massage nodes immediately get to work on your legs, lumbar, shoulders and neck to soothe aching muscles.
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