The monitors we use all day and the tablets and phones we use at night are ruining our sleep patterns. The lights, sounds and activity on our devices engage our brains before bedtime, making it hard to fall asleep.
But now, ironically, the cause of the problem -- technology -- is helping us alleviate it. Several new products have been designed to coax us into sleep, to monitor whether we are tossing and turning and even to adjust the mattress to make sure we sleep soundly. Here are my top picks to help you get more Zs.
1. Beddit Sleep Monitor ($149)
The best feature on this sleep monitor is that it’s so easy to set up and use. Place a thin strip under your mattress that connects to your phone over Bluetooth and it measures your heart rate, breathing, sleep cycles (light sleep and deep sleep) and how long you slept. There’s a bit of a gaming angle, because you can see your sleep score each morning. How do you use the data? You can adjust caffeine intake, behaviors and when you go to bed.
2. Withings Aura ($300)
This thin white pad slips under your mattress to track sleep patterns, but there’s also a clock radio/night light that sits next to your bed. A red aura shines to help you doze off, and then gradually fades; in the morning, you’ll see a blue light that grows more intense. Both are thought to help reduce (for sleeping) or increase (for waking) the melatonin in your body. The Aura knows when you should wake up based on your sleep cycles. Sounds resembling an ocean wave or a choir help you fall asleep. Sensors track sound, room temperature, and lights during the night to give you more details about sleep patterns and restlessness.
3. ResMed S+ ($150)
An unusual bedside sleep aid, the ResMed S+ plays natural sounds, like an ocean wave or a gurgling brook, that match up with your breathing rhythms. Breathe loudly as you fall asleep, and the music will fall into the same pattern. In my tests, it worked like a charm. Before bed, you can record a memo to yourself to clear your thoughts. The app tracks how well you sleep based on your breathing and provides a sleep score, charts for sleep cycles and tips. There are sensors inside the device that use radio-frequency signals to track movements, sound, light and room temp.
4. Epson Pulsense PS-500 ($200)
One way to track sleep is to wear a fitness watch like the Epson Pulsense PS-500. The watch tracks your movements and heart rate to help you determine whether you are sleeping deeply enough. Unlike the other products in this roundup, you can sync the watch to your computer and track sleep (and other fitness variables) over time. During the day, you can also count steps, calories and your heart rate as you run or exercise.
5. Kingsdown Sleep Smart Intuitive ($10,999)
The Kingsdown Sleep Smart Intuitive mattress doesn’t just monitor how you sleep, it makes sure you actually sleep better. There are 21 air chambers that position the bed for the best posture and comfort based on how much you toss and turn. Over time, you’ll move around less because you’ll be more comfortable. The bed has a massage mode and lets you adjust the head and feet position. It also comes with a Samsung tablet that lets you adjust firmness. Each morning, you can see how much you moved and how you slept.