Cool Tools to Improve Sleep

Most of us don’t get quality slumber, with 43 percent of Americans saying that they never or rarely get a good night’s sleep on weeknights, according to a recent survey by the Sleep Foundation. Technology is often blamed for America’s exhaustion epidemic, but the right gear can also help you catch more Z’s and wake up easier and more refreshed. 

Some of these high-tech snooze gadgets track slumber patterns and clue you in to habits that rob you of rest; others enhance comfort to make bedtime more blissful. Here’s a guide to 10 cool tools that help you get the healthy sleep you need to wake up feeling great.

10 Natural Ways to Sleep Better

Chillow Cooling Pillow  

 If you repeatedly flip your pillow during the night, looking for the cool side, the Chillow is for you. Great for people who sweat at night, women with hot flashes, and headache sufferers, this cooling pillow is filled with a special gel. Top it off with water, and it stays comfortably cool all night.

Lights Out Sleep Mask 

 This ultra-soft, cushioned Lights Out sleep mask is molded to allow your eyes to move during REM sleep. Available in four colors, it blocks out light particularly effectively due to the contoured nose. And for a fun project for kids’ sleepovers--or to add designer touches to your slumber shades--check out these instructions on how to make Stylin’ Sleep Masks from Family Fun.

Sleep on It App 

 To rest assured that you’ll wake up on time, the Sleep on It app for iPhone and Android combines a virtual alarm clock with a variety of clever features to monitor how your sleep duration and quality is impacting your health and mood. Handy charts let you see details of your sleep cycles.

The Healthy Sleep Learning Center

Pzizz Sleep Software 

Need a “bubble bath for your brain”? Well, there’s an app for that. Unlike other relaxation software for the iPhone that plays the same soundtrack over and over, two Pzizz apps generate dynamically changing instrumental music, songs, and sounds to either sooth your mind into sound slumber (Pzizz Sleep) or offer short-term stress relief (Pzizz Energizer) for a power nap. 

Anti-Snoring Nightshirt 

Snoozing on your back is a risk factor for both snoring and sleep apnea (bouts of interrupted breathing during sleep that can increase the threat of heart attack and stroke). One unique solution is a pajama top with a pillow attached to the back that encourages side sleeping. You can also make your own version by sewing a pocket large enough to hold a tennis ball to the back of your pajama top.

The Bedfan Cooling System 

 Featured on the Dr. Oz show, the Bedfan provides a cooling breeze while you slumber. The curved shape is designed to be tucked under the sheets, at the foot of your bed. As an added bonus, many people, including me, find the soft whir of a fan at night promotes better sleep by blocking out nighttime noises.

Zeo Sleep Manager 

Tired of waking up exhausted? The Zeo Sleep Manager brings the science of a sleep lab to your bedroom by using a lightweight headband to track your sleep stages during the night and transmit them wirelessly to your smart phone. The manufacturer also offers online tools to help you identify “sleep stealers” that are disrupting your rack time. An optional SmartWake alarm identifies your optimal wake-up time in the morning.

Dawn Simulator Wake-Up Light 

 An official light therapy product of the Sleep Foundation, the Philips Wake-Up Light mimics sunrise by providing light that gradually increases in intensity to gently wake you up. The light starts about 30 minutes before your wake-up time and is combined with a choice of natural sounds, such as chirping birds, or your selected FM radio station.

Clocky Alarm Clock on Wheels

If you have trouble getting up because you hit the snooze button over and over, this ingenious alarm clock is guaranteed to get you out of bed on time. You’ll never oversleep again, because Clocky jumps off your nightstand up to three feet high and zips around your bedroom in an unpredictable pattern, beeping and flashing like R2D2 in Star Wars. 

SleepTracker Pro Sleep Watch 

 Rated as one of the best inventions of 2005, SleepTracker tracks your slumber cycles with accelerometers inside a watch to wake you during light, non-REM sleep, so you feel refreshed. You can also download the data on your computer to create SleepTracker Analytics and get tips on improving your sleep score.

The Health Benefits of Napping

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