According to a recent survey by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), 85 percent of US adults do not get the recommended seven hours or more of sleep every night. In the Middle East, doctors say anywhere between 45 and 90 percent struggle to get enough sleep. The high levels of obesity in the region contributing to breathing disorders only make the problem worse, according to a 2016 study published in the Canadian Respiratory Journal.
Add in the effects of living through a global pandemic and sleep is an even bigger problem, which in turn increases the risk of conditions such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Whether your goal is getting to sleep, staying asleep or sleeping better, these gadgets, products, apps, podcasts and services can help.
Fitbit Versa 2
While smartwatches are primarily used to stay connected and track fitness, these wearables can also give you valuable insight into your sleep patterns. The Fitbit Versa 2, which comes with a free companion app, uses the accelerometer and heart-rate monitor to estimate how long you spend in light, deep and REM sleep stages. It also tracks how much time you spend awake and calculates an overall sleep score. Wearers can use this data to make informed decisions about sleep patterns and to determine if any of the other items on this list are necessary. The app just launched a partnership with Deepak Chopra, offering 10 video and audio sessions for premium members that includes a focus on stress management, mindfulness and sleep.
Sleep Tracking Mat
If wearables aren’t your thing, the Withings Sleep Tracking Mat delivers the same data. It offers breathing and sleep cycle analysis (deep, light and REM), heart rate tracking and snore detection. Withings Sleep also allows you to integrate other functions such as dimming lights when you go to bed or adjusting the thermostat when you get up. To set it up, slip the pad underneath your mattress and connect it to the Health Mate companion app.
Although it’s not yet available in the UAE, the trendy gadget worn by those in the know is the unassuming Oura Ring. Billed as the most accurate sleep tracker, it works via minimalist design, a sensor system and an app to deliver data that can help the wearer figure out where their issues are. While it measures activity level during the day, at night the ring is measuring important markers including heart rate variability, respiratory rate, light, deep and REM sleep, movement, timing and quality of sleep. Even more restful? No inputs or settings required.
Bucky 40 Blinks No Pressure Eye Masks
When turning off the lights just isn’t enough, grab a face mask. The Blinks Sleep Mask is a soft, lightweight covering that blocks out all light. It features a velcro strap to prevent sliding throughout the night and molded foam eye cups for comfort. The eye cups are also contoured, leaving plenty of space for lashes or even the occasional blink.
chiliPAD Sleep System
If a high-tech mattress isn’t in the budget, opt for an accessory that is literally cool. ChiliPAD comes with a reversible, hydro-powered Chili Cool Mesh Pad, thermal regulating control unit and a remote to conveniently adjust the temperature. This mattress topper regulates the temperature of the bed, which in turn regulates body temperature and creates comfortable, cosy conditions for sleep.
AYO Light Therapy Glasses
Travel may be good for the soul but changing time zones can wreak havoc on the body. Get back in sync with day and night cycles using AYO Light Therapy Glasses, a solid bar worn across the eyes that uses light and temperature to help you adjust. Similar to sunlight, AYO’s gentle blue light tells your body to wake up by suppressing the level of melatonin. As a result, you feel more energized and active in a natural way. These high-tech spectacles promise to help revitalize you during those afternoon lags and improve your sleep at night.
Good Night Snoring Ring
The Good Night Snoring Ring is a natural, non-invasive way to help reduce or stop snoring. You put the ring on your little finger an hour before sleep and wear it throughout the night. It works by using acupressure, a traditional Chinese therapy dating back more than 3,500 years which involves applying light pressure to specific points on the body which in turn relate to lines of energy and affect other, connected parts of your body. There are two acupressure points inside the Good Night Snoring Ring that apply light pressure on specific areas of the finger to clear the wearer’s airways. If this seems a bit far-fetched, rest assured that it’s been tried and tested. A study compliant with Medicines and Health Products Regulatory (MHRA) and Institutional Review Board (IRB) showed that the ring helped reduce or stop snoring in 80 percent of cases. It’s also been cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US.
Dodow uses a combination of streaming light and deep breathing techniques to help you get to sleep. The device is the perfect size for a bedside table and can be managed with the tap of a finger. It emits a gentle blue light that expands and contracts for eight minutes. The idea is that you breathe in rhythm with the light: inhaling on the expansion, exhaling on the contraction. Dodow claims that this process gradually slows breathing to six breaths per minute, which puts users in a relaxed state.
SNOO Smart Baby Bassinet
Let’s face it, if baby can’t sleep, neither can mum and dad. The SNOO smart bassinet plays white noise while it rocks the baby back and forth, speeding up if they start crying and claims to soothe your baby back to calmness in around 30 seconds. This luxurious baby bed has picked up numerous awards, been used in medical studies on infant sleep and won praise from celebrities such as Beyoncé, Mila Kunis and Natalie Portman.
Bedtime stories work – just ask your kids. When all else fails, tune in to a sleep hypnosis meditation podcast and drift off. Wellness podcasts in this genre use autogenic relaxation, a technique developed by psychiatrists, which involves progressive relaxation of extremities, heartbeat stabilization and maintaining slow, deep breaths to help you fall asleep. Here’s one from Apple’s top podcast list: Autogenic Relaxation for Sleep, a 15-minute sequence created by Meditation Oasis, uses a bland, calm voice to guide the listener into tuning in to how each body part feels, rounding out with calming music.
Philips SmartSleep Wake-up Light
Proper rest is essential for good health and how you wake up can set the tone for the rest of the day. The Philips SmartSleep Wake-up Light mimics sunrise by gradually filling your room with bright yellow light over a period of 30 minutes, stimulating your body into waking up naturally. As light fills the room, so does an enchanting sound. You can choose from five natural sounds to wake up to and set yourself up for the day ahead: Forest Birds, Buddha, Yoga, Ocean Waves and Nepal Bowls.
This article is part of Livehealthy’s first Sleep Week. Starting on March 13 and running up to and including World Sleep Day on March 19, we have seven full days of coverage on everything to do with the one-third of our lives we spend in – or trying to get to – slumber.