Getting enough sleep is crucial for your health. And yet, one-third of all adults don’t get the recommended 7-9 hours per night. For many insomniacs, this is not for want of trying; they just can’t drop off to sleep or find that they wake up during the night.
The good news is that there is a range of gadgets and tools that may help you get a good night’s sleep. Some can be expensive, while others don’t work for everybody. Still, anything that can help you sleep through the night is worth its weight in gold when you are suffering from the effects of prolonged sleep deprivation.
1. White noise generators
Extraneous sounds such as dogs barking, noisy neighbors, and street sounds can all stop you from falling asleep. They can also wake you up at inopportune times. This is especially true in the early stages of sleep, which are very light and easily disrupted.
White noise generators produce static or other bland sounds that help drown out the noises that can disrupt your sleep. There are bedside white noise generators available, or you can use an app. Music platforms such as Spotify and I-tunes also have white noise playlists.
2. Blackout blinds
Bright streetlights can keep you awake by disrupting your circadian rhythm. Your circadian rhythm controls your sleep cycle. In simple terms, your body tends to wake up when it’s light, and sleep when it’s dark.
Blackout blinds ensure your bedroom is dark, even if it’s light outside. This is very useful for city dwellers who have streetlights near their bedroom windows, and those who have to sleep while it is still light outside, e.g., shift workers. Some blackout blinds are portable, so they are ideal for use when traveling. Frequent travelers often suffer disrupted sleep because of time zone changes.
3. Eye mask
If blackout blinds are impractical, a sleep mask may be the next best thing. Sleep masks block out all light so you can sleep without disruption. Sleep masks are especially useful if you need total darkness to sleep, but your partner prefers a lighter environment, or you need to sleep during daylight hours, such as when traveling.
If you don’t want to replace one noise for another by using a white noise generator, earplugs are another way to stop invasive sounds disrupting your sleep. Sleep earplugs are soft so that you can lie on them without discomfort. On the downside, using earplugs could mean sleeping through your alarm, so use them with caution.
5. Circadian rhythm lamps
Circadian rhythm lamps gradually dim as bedtime approaches to get you ready for sleep. Then, when it’s time to wake up, they gradually brighten again. This is designed to simulate sunset and sunrise. Synching your circadian rhythm can help restore your natural sleep cycle so that you can fall asleep more easily and wake up feeling refreshed and ready to face the day.
6. Weighted blanket
A weighted blanket can help create feelings of security and comfort, leading to deeper, less interrupted sleep. Producing something called Deep Touch Pressure, weighted blankets are thought to increase serotonin production, a neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of anxiety and sleep. Using a weighted blanket mimics the sensation of being held.
7. Air purifiers
Not being able to breathe properly can make sleeping very difficult. You might not have a full-blown allergy, but things like dust and pollen can be just annoying enough to make you snuffle and snore, disrupting what should be a good night’s sleep.
Air purifiers remove dust, pollen, and other pollutants from the air so that you can breathe without inhaling irritating impurities. Some air purifiers also have a cooling and dehumidifying effect, which can also help create a better sleep environment.
8. Sleep-enhancing LED lightbulbs
Exposure to certain light frequencies can make you wake up when you would really prefer to go to sleep. The good news is you can avoid this problem by replacing your regular lightbulbs with sleep-enhancing LED bulbs. Most sleep-enhancing LED bulbs work by emitting less blue light, which is the worst kind of light for disrupting sleep. Eliminating blue light increases serotonin production, which can help induce sleep.
9. Essential oil diffuser
Essential oil diffusers help create a relaxing sleep environment. Traditionally, diffusers used heat from candles to vaporize the chosen oil. However, a lot of people find it difficult to relax with an open flame in their bedroom, and the light can also be distracting.
Modern essential oil diffusers use heated electrical elements instead of flames to warm and diffuse the oil. Lavender, valerian, sweet marjoram, and bergamot oils are all considered effective and safe sleep aids.
10. Sleep tracking apps
Combined with a smartwatch, a sleep tracking app can monitor your sleep and detect patterns that can help you get more sleep per night. Most detect things like movement, depth of sleep, and how often you wake up. This information can be useful for determining how much sleep you really get per night.
If you toss and turn a lot, you could be uncomfortable and would sleep better if you replaced your mattress or pillows. Some sleep trackers compare the amount of sleep you get to your mood and energy levels on waking to determine how your sleep affects your waking hours.
Understanding more about how you sleep could reveal the information you need to sleep more soundly. However, if you are serious about sleep analysis, a brainwave-monitoring medical sleep study would be more useful.
In many cases, the difference between a good night’s sleep and insomnia is very small. Something as simple as an essential oil diffuser or a sleep-enhancing LED light could make all the difference. If you have had enough of waking up feeling more tired than when you went to bed, consider using any of these tried and tested gadgets and tools. Any one of them could be the solution to your sleepless nights.