Sleep. We all need it. But getting a good dose of shut eye is easier for some, than others. While adopting good sleep hygiene can certainly help boost sleep quality, research hints that innovative products may also play a role. So, could some of the latest sleep trackers, pillows, and natural sleep aids be the key to unlocking the best night’s sleep eve? Maybe. Here’s what to consider:
Get a Great Mattress
When researchers suggested that sleeping in a cooler environment may help improve sleep, mattress maker Tempur-Pedic took notice. The company just announced their latest mattress option — TEMPUR-breeze. The breeze mattress uses cooling technology to help sleepers stay cool all night long. The company also makes a variety of pillows for different sleep styles, like for stomach sleepers.
Relaxation? Easier said than done. But, calming down before bedtime is what sleep pros suggest. Yes, there are a variety of sleep relaxation apps like Sleepio, Relax Melodies, and Sleep Genius. There’s new gadgets, too. The Somnox Sleep Robot is one of the latest to hit the market. The “robot” helps users to focus on slowing down breathing and chill out before a long snooze.
Turn Down The Lights
According to the National Sleep Foundation, exposure to light stimulates our nerve pathways and may inhibit our bodies’ abilities to feel, well, sleepy. Tech-giant Philips recently introduced the SmartSleep Sleep and Wake-Up Light with personalized sun settings. The company reports that 92 percent of users found it easier to get out of bed.
For exact sleep data, doctors do tend to suggest a sleep study (especially for those who may be at risk for a sleep disorder). But for those just looking for more general insight into sleep patterns, popular sleep trackers could be useful. Both Apple and Fitbit have smart watches with built-in sleep trackers.
Johns Hopkins Medicine says users should also understand the following stages of sleep:
- Stage 1: Lasting only a few minutes, the first stage of sleep is light and easy to wake from.
- Stage 2: During this stage, which is also fairly light, your brain waves begin to slow.
- Stages 3 & 4: During these stages, you move into deeper sleep that’s harder to wake from. This is the time when your body grows and repairs itself and boosts immune function
- Rapid eye movement (REM): During the final stage in the sleep cycle, your brain becomes more active and dreams occur. Your brain is processing information and storing long-term memories.
This cycle repeats every 90 to 110 minutes. As sleep progresses, REM cycles increase in length. (Source: Hopkins Medicine)
Consider White Noise
A recent report by the Cleveland Clinic indicate that falling asleep to a soothing noise can be helpful. Listening to pink noise “something flat” or white noise “like a static fan” can make a difference.
But, noise isn’t a magic solution to cure bad sleep hygiene, according to Michelle Drerup, PsyD. “You need to make sure you get enough hours of sleep, have a consistent sleep schedule and don’t overdo it on caffeine,” says Drerup. “If you’re having difficulties sleeping, it’s not usually a one-trick pony that’s going to help you.” (Source: Cleveland Clinic)
Finally, we all have a cruddy night’s sleep here and there. So, don’t get too down. And, if you feel like something else may be going on with your sleep health, talk with your doctor.
Julie Loffredi is a lifestyle journalist and retail trends spotter for Brad’s Deals.