Sleep … all of us need it, but sleep can be an elusive, er, dream sometimes. If you’re tired of counting sheep night after night, it may be time to try one of these gadgets and gizmos to help you drift off. Take your pick of electrical and electronic devices or low-tech solutions and get ready for a good night.
Electrical and Electronic Devices
Noise machine†– Long a standby of the inveterate insomniac, a noise machine produces soothing sounds, either a steady hum or simulated random sounds such as ocean waves or rainfall. These devices are successful in improving the quality of sleep for about half of their users, according to†Consumer Reports, but they come with a major drawback — their weight makes it complicated to tote one along for a weekend away. That is now changing, however, with smartphone apps featuring random sound and white, brown, or pink noise.
Humidifier or air purifier†– A humidifier (the warm-mist kind is less prone to dispersing bacteria and mold into the surrounding atmosphere, although it should be used with caution to avoid steam burns) or an air purifier in your bedroom not only functions to ameliorate†the air quality but also provides the invaluable fringe benefit of sleep-promoting white noise.
Programmable thermostat†– On a chilly winter evening, crawling into bed in a freezing room is liable to shock you wide awake. However, leaving the furnace turned up high is not a viable alternative. Install a programmable thermostat instead; it will keep your bedroom comfortably warm (or cool, in summer) while†you get settled, then turn down the HVAC to an energy-saving level until shortly before your morning alarm wakes you up.
Smart home technology†– Smart home technology has already proved its mettle in applications such as increasing home energy efficiency and assisting seniors to†age in place. Now it’s moving into the field of sleep assistance. Here are just a couple of examples: Use smart tech to make your bedside lamp to dim slowly at bedtime, helping you relax and get in the mood for slumber. Program light fixtures in your room, hallway, and bathroom to sense the motion of any household member heading to the toilet in the middle of the night; the bulbs will switch on at 20 percent or so of full capacity, just enough to light your way without blasting you totally awake.
Sleep masks and blackout curtains –†Too bright an environment is often cited as a serious sleep deterrent. Choose from two simple low-tech devices to solve the problem. Blackout curtains are made from fabric that contains a light-blocking core or lining. They will prevent both the sun’s rays and all sorts of†artificial light†from entering your bedroom. A sleep mask will also shield your eyes from disturbing light sources inside the room, such as digital devices or nightlights.
Bed socks and emergency blankets†–†What do hand-knitted bed socks have in common with shiny Mylar emergency blankets? Both are handy ways of keeping yourself cozy as you try to grab some shuteye. Although the ideal sleep-inducing temperature is a matter of debate, many folks find warm accessories soporific. Crafted with love, the bed socks need no further explanation. The emergency blanket can be layered on top of a couple of covers to add a very fast source of warmth by reflecting your body heat back towards you. (Because it also condenses moisture, you may want to roll back the blanket after a few minutes.)
Weighted blanket –†Contrary to what you might think, the purpose of a†weighted blanket†is not to keep you from kicking it off and ending up jolted awake by your freezing toes. It is designed to give you a comfortingly secure feeling that will help to lull you off to Dreamland.
Laura Firszt writes for†networx.com.