Counting Virtual Sheep: The Best Technology to Help Sleep
Experts warn against staring at a phone, tablet or other screen before heading to bed. Why? The blue light emitted from those screens may keep you awake by messing with your body’s natural circadian rhythm.
While grabbing that screen may be convenient, the nightmare that it could wreak on your sleep just isn’t worth it. So what do you do when you can’t sleep, want a deeper/better sleep or need help falling asleep quicker?
If you just can’t stay away from those gadgets, reach for technology that will actually help you doze off into a happy dreamland.
Ready to count virtual sheep? Here are the best gadgets to help you sleep!
1. Noise Machines
Does the sound of rain make you drowsy? There’s something about the rhythmic tapping that makes the body feel ready for a nap. Maybe the ocean sends you into a daydream of seaside relaxation, or a babbling brook makes you long for a night by a campfire.
While soothing sounds might not be right outside the window every night, you can bring them into your bedroom with a noise machine. These gadgets usually arrive pre-programmed with a variety of nature-infused sounds. Pick the ambient noise that soothes you!
Noise machines come in a variety of sizes and prices, so there shouldn’t be an issue finding at least one that fits in your budget!
2. Blue-Light Glasses
Do you absolutely have to grab your phone at night? Maybe you prefer reading on a tablet versus a book. While the light from the screen may throw off your body, there are ways to block those sneaky blue rays.
Blue light glasses are designed to filter out the blue light that keeps us up at night. These glasses let you stare at the screen without any worry about having a sleepless night. Just remember to keep them by your bed so you can grab them before queuing up Netflix!
3. Blue Light Reducing Settings & Apps
Good Housekeeping writer Gina Tomaine wrote about wearing blue light glasses for a week—and what she learned during the experiment. Tomaine noted that Apple allows users to set the iPhone screen brightness to “Night Shift” for less blue light (although it does not eliminate it completely).
Don’t have an iPhone? Tomaine also stated that those with other phone models can utilize apps that offer similar features. GooglePlay offers many blue light filtering apps; just choose the one that’s right for you (and your device).
4. Noise Cancelling Headphones
Does your partner sleep with music playing? Can you hear traffic outside your window? Maybe the crickets and every other tiny noise keeps you awake. Erase all the sound with noise cancelling headphones.
These headphones allow those who love quiet to enjoy the absolute silence they need for sleep. There are many options and brands, and you may have to do a bit of research to find the right one for you. Also, opt for wireless headphones (if/when possible) as wires and sleep just don’t mix.
Check out some of the reviews and recommendations via Sleep Advisor.
5. Weighted Blankets
Weighted blankets aren’t the kind of technology that requires you to plug in or log on. They are, however, an amazing invention that could help you sleep.
Weighted blankets are exactly what the name suggests—blankets with weight. Some people may relax easier with a little bit of pressure on the body, and these blankets offer just the right amount of soothing comfort.
According to The Sleep Doctor, you can find blankets in a variety of weights. Some are lightly weighted, others are quite heavy. The perfect weight, per The Sleep Doctor, is 12 pounds. Again, though, opt for a weight that feels best to you and your body.
6. Fitness Trackers that Log Sleep
Many people have a smartwatch or fitness tracker that allows them to easily see their fitness goals each day. Trackers and watches log steps, heart rates and maybe even calorie burn. Many of them also log your nightly sleep patterns.
How does this help your sleep? Understanding how long you sleep can clue you into any issues. If you review your tracker data and see that you’re only actually sleeping for six hours each night, then you can take proactive measures to address the sleep deprivation.
We’ve all woken up in the middle of the night, tossed and turned for what feels like hours and then woken up groggy. Sleep data lets you see your exact hours of nightly rest.
7. Personal Assistants (Siri, Alexa, Etc.)
“Alexa, sing me to sleep!” Ok, maybe this isn’t a command that will actually work, but Alexa, Siri and other digital personal assistants may help you lull you to sleep or help you find sleep aids. One of the Alexa Skills is dubbed “Help Me Sleep,” and the skill will guide you to sleep.
If you don’t have a noise machine, you also could try asking Siri or Alexa to play ocean sounds.
8. Books on Tape
Books on tape are not new technology. They’ve been around forever. Listening to a story on tape could help you fall asleep faster, and, yes, you can queue them up on a favorite device (just turn off the screen).
The Lully Sleep Guardian is geared for kids who suffer from night terrors. The device emits soothing vibrations to help rouse kids from experiencing a night terror.
For parents, the Lully Sleep Guardian gathers data about nightly sleep, including any night terror occurrences.
10. Light Shows
Lights can help you sleep. Sounds contradictory? One device called the Moon Beam Sleep Aid helps you fall asleep by displaying lights on the ceiling. Remember those movies where swirling lights entranced people? Maybe those movies weren’t so off the mark!
According to Sleep.org, you also could just try changing out your regular light bulbs in the bedroom…for red lights! That’s right, turning on the red light is better for sleep.
When you’re having trouble sleeping at night, put down those devices and reach for other types of technology that will aid your sleep quest.
Try weighted blankets, sleep apps that decrease the blue light on your screen, or wear blue-light filtering glasses. Tune out the world with noise-cancelling headphones or escape to the tropics with a noise machine that brings the ocean into your bedroom.
If you embrace old-school reading at night, and can’t wait to grab a book before bed, don’t shine a white incandescent light on those pages. Instead, turn on the red light and read beneath a rosy glow!
No matter what tech you choose to help you sleep better at night, the ultimate goal is to wake up feeling rested and ready to face the morning. Ultimately, a good night’s sleep leads to an even better day.
Infographic: Counting Virtual Sheep: The Best Technology to Help Sleep
Win 10 Free Pillows!
Enter to win ten free pillows worth $1,000 and give them away to friends and family. Drawing held 30 November and winner will be notified by email.