Sleep is a vital part of health. Even one night of poor sleep can leave you feeling foggy-headed and less alert.
In a society where chronic sleep deprivation is a common problem, it's no surprise that we look for sleep technology to help us get rest. Sleep technology is a growing field that offers improved rest without the use of sleep medicine.
Here, we dive into sleep technology and list 11 types of sleep tech that can help you get the sleep you crave.
What Is Sleep Technology?
What, exactly, is sleep technology? It’s anything that works to help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and sleep better, without the use of medication or supplements. It ranges from apps to sheets and everything in between.
High-tech sleep technology can help you find patterns that hurt and help your sleep. Low-tech sleep technology will help you maximize your good sleep habits and provide simple solutions to help you get rid of the habits and environmental factors that are hurting your sleep.
11 Sleep Technology Options
If you’re interested in sleep technology, here are 11 options for you to check out. Each one will help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep, and get the best sleep you can.
1. Blue Light Glasses
Blue light glasses fall into the low-tech side of sleep technology. The blue light that our electronic devices give off acts as natural light and keeps our brains alert, making it harder to transition to sleep.
These glasses help decrease the effects of the blue light from your electronic devices, says an article in Medical News Today. By neutralizing blue light, you can use your devices at night while allowing your brain to prepare for sleep.
2. Weighted Blankets
Weighted blankets help you sleep through the use of deep pressure stimulation. With its roots in occupational therapy, deep pressure stimulation soothes your central nervous system by first slowing your breathing. Your slower breath signals your heart rate to slow too. Then, your brain releases the hormone serotonin. Serotonin helps you relax and feel calm. This means weighted blankets can give you the same relaxed feeling you have when a loved one gives you a really good hug.
Because slower breathing and heart rate is a signal to your body to go to sleep, a weighted blanket channels deep pressure therapy and uses it to help you fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply. Higher-quality sleep means you wake feeling refreshed and ready to go.
3. Cooling Sheets
There is not much worse than being ready to fall asleep only to feel yourself starting to get hot and uncomfortable under your sheets.
That’s where the sleep technology of cooling sheets comes in. Cooling sheets are made of high-tech fabrics like viscose bamboo, linen, cotton, or microfiber. These natural fibers pull moisture and heat away from your body and into the air. This means the air touching your body feels more comfortable, so you can drift off more easily.
4. Bed Temperature Control Systems
Bed temperature control systems use a mattress pad with cooling and heating elements. The pad is placed over your mattress but under your fitted sheet. Then, the pad is connected to a hub that monitors and controls the temperature of the pad while you sleep.
According to a recent study in Current Opinion in Physiology, a cooler body temperature acts as a circadian rhythm control. Our bodies warm up as we are active during the day and generally cool at night when we should be sleeping.
If you start to get too warm, the temperature control system activates to start cooling the pad. It can also help you warm up if you get too cold at night.
5. Sleep Masks
Sleep masks are another low-tech sleep technology option. When you use a sleep mask to block artificial light, you help your brain more quickly transition from daytime activity to night time sleep. For some people, even small amounts of light can disrupt their sleep, making it hard to catch enough snooze time.
Sleep masks are great for people who do shift work. Blocking out sunlight can allow for deep and restful sleep, even if it’s during non-traditional sleep hours.
6. White Noise Machines
White noise machines emit sounds that block or reduce the distraction of other sounds. This means that if you share your living space, or you live in a city, the white noise machine can help you block out these other sounds. You can stay asleep more easily because sounds that would have woken you before don’t get through.
Some white noise machines can also play soothing sounds, like waterfalls or a rainstorm in a forest instead of general sounds. This could appeal to someone who finds regular white noise a little harsh.
To be effective, the white noise needs to be at several frequencies at the same time. Using multiple frequencies means it is more likely to mask a broader range of sounds. For some people, though, hearing multiple frequencies at once bothers their ears. If you have sensitive ears, white noise machines may not be for you.
7. Anti-Snoring Technology
Maybe the reason you’re not getting restful sleep lies with your partner. If your partner snores, certain sleep technology options could help ease or eliminate it.
- Nose strips: Keeps nasal passages open to allow for optimal and even air flow
- Mouth guards: Keeps the mouth and tongue positioned correctly to stop snoring
- Muscle stimulators: Works the muscles in the neck and jaw to help prevent over-relaxation, which can cause snoring
- Reactive devices: Detects the beginning of a snoring cycle and changes the snorer’s head position to stop the snoring
- Chin straps: Keeps the mouth from falling open during sleep by gently supporting the jawbone, so mouth breathing — and snoring — doesn’t happen
8. Sleep Trackers
Sleep trackers are high-tech sleep technology gadgets. These wearable sleep devices monitor your heart rate, breathing, and body movements. They use your real-time data to establish your sleep patterns. For example, your heart rate can show when you’re in a REM or deep sleep stage. Sleep tracking can tell you how long you’re in REM sleep and how many sleep cycles you go through in a night.
Many fitness trackers can also double as sleep gadgets. Smartwatches often have features or settings that can track your sleep to help you follow your sleep data so you understand how to get a good night's sleep.
9. Meditation Headbands
Meditation can improve sleep by helping you settle your racing mind. Meditation headbands monitor your brainwaves electrical activity, also called electroencephalogram or EEG as you listen to a guided meditation or music.
Your brain activity data can tell you how long you stay in a calm state, when your attention drifts, and how easily you bring it back. The idea is, as you use the headband and practice, you’ll become better at observing your thoughts instead of getting caught up in them.
10. Sleep Earbuds
The design of sleep earbuds makes them super soft, so they’re more comfortable to sleep with than regular earbuds. They are also often smaller for the same reason.
Good quality sleep earbuds will block noise that can disrupt your sleep.
11. Gentle Wake Alarm Clock
Gentle wake alarm clocks may not help you fall asleep, but they can help you wake up in a more natural way. The alarm clocks wake you with light instead of sound. The light gradually brightens as it nears your wake time, imitating a sunrise.
This gradual waking allows your body to have the chance to finish a sleep stage instead of being jarred from sleep by a blaring alarm. It sets you up to feel refreshed and primes you for more restful sleep the next night by keeping you more on your natural wake and sleep rhythms.
Use Sleep Tech to Get Better Sleep
Getting a good night's sleep is essential to your overall wellness. Sleep technology can help you get better sleep so you can improve your sleep health by giving your body support to fall asleep and stay asleep. It can even give you sleep scores to help you understand what contributes to high quality sleep.
A weighted blanket is a good way to start using sleep technology. Weighted blankets can help slow down your body and guide you into a deep, restful sleep.
The Hush Blanket 2-in-1 Bundle is a sleep aid that offers the benefits of a weighted blanket for hot sleepers and seasons. The interchangeable outer cover means you'll be comfortable under your blanket all year long.