Life by Daily Burn

15 Gadgets for a Better Night’s Sleep

Getting a good eight hours of sleep keeps your body functioning at its best — from keeping your appetite in check to lowering blood pressure. A recent study has even shown that sleep protects your brain. Beyond health, proper sleep increases productivity and even the ability to enjoy life. Yet 40 percent of Americans don’t get enough, according to a December 2013 Gallup poll. And according to the National Sleep Foundation’s 2011 Sleep in America poll, a leading cause of sleepless nights is gadgets in the bedroom. Although many electronic devices hinder sleep, advances in technology have also brought a number of tools that can help us get more Zzz’s and make counting sheep a thing of the past. 

  • Sleep on This

    Electronics in the bedroom is usually a no-no, but we’re making an exception for these 15 new gadgets that promise a better night’s sleep. Click through to find the perfect companion to start sleeping more soundly tonight.
  • 1. Lark in the Dark

    The silent alarm clock by Lark is an app and wristband that wakes up even the heaviest of sleepers with a gentle vibration. After tracking your micro-movements all night, it gives you a full report about your night's rest, including quality of sleep, how long it took you to fall asleep, and how many times you woke up. It also includes an action plan, which allows you to set goals and sends you reminders to keep you on track (that’s right, you should be setting a bed time). ($49;
  • 2. Sleep Like a Genius

    Unlike most sleep trackers, the Sleep Genius app, developed by neuroscientists for astronauts, goes beyond minute-by-minute metrics and actually helps you fall asleep with pink noise (a softer variant of white noise) and neurosensory algorithms that trigger a motion-induced sensation in your brain, like a baby being rocked to sleep. Low-frequency music and binaural beats (rhythms that train your brain to match sleep waveforms) ease you into slumber. (Free;
  • 3. Fight Noise with Noise

    According to the National Sleep Foundation, noises at levels as low as 40 decibels or as high as 70 decibels can keep us awake. That means that a dripping faucet can steal your sleep as much as your neighbor’s blaring stereo. Sound conditioners are proven to promote sleep by muffling distractions with constant white noise, which sounds like rushing water or gusty winds. The Sleep Infuser masks sounds but also emits a series of low pulsing hums, which the inventors say coax the brain into sleep. ($350–$450;
  • 4. Track Your Every Move

    The Jawbone UP wristband monitors your sleep cycles and tells you how much deep sleep and light sleep you’re getting. It tracks how many times you woke up in the middle of the night but wakes you up with gentle vibrations. Its new app, the UP 3.1, correlates your sleep to what you had to eat that day or the amount of exercise you got. The new UP Coffee app tracks caffeine intake to demonstrate the impact of caffeine on Zzz’s. ($99-$150;
  • 5. Calm Aura

    The Aura records your sleep environment (noise pollution, room temperature and light level), and promotes sleep with melatonin-inducing orange light and soothing frequencies that attempt to mimic your body’s circadian rhythms. Even more impressive: Nothing has to be worn. The sensor slips under the mattress to monitor your sleep patterns, body movements, breathing cycles and heart rate. Then turn to the app to visualize sleep cycles, understand what wakes you up, compare nights and personalize your wake-up and fall-asleep programs. ($300;
  • 6. Good Night Moon, Good Night Light

    Artificial light exposure between dusk and the time we go to bed suppresses the release of the sleep-promoting hormone melatonin, enhances alertness, and disrupts the body’s circadian rhythm — making it more difficult to fall asleep. The Good Night LED light bulb, originally developed for NASA astronauts on the International Space Station, lets melatonin do its thing by using half of the blue light in normal bulbs. ($70;


  • 7. The Science of Slumber

    The smartwatch by Basis Science uses six sensors to measure heart rate, skin electricity, sweat and temperature. The latest version features a carbon-steel band and updated software that breaks down your sleep patterns into light and deep sleep, and analyzes the quality of shut-eye you’re getting. Plus, the data it generates is reported to be similar to the electroencephalogram in sleep laboratories. ($200;
  • 8. Sleep for Cheap

    The Sleep Cycle iPhone app uses the smartphone’s accelerometer to monitor your movements during sleep. Like the Jawbone UP, it’ll wake you up during the lightest phase of your sleep cycle within a 30-minute alarm window. Unlike most bio alarm clocks, which can cost up to $200, this app costs just a buck. Since you have to sleep with your phone under your pillow, we suggest switching it to airplane mode, lest the radiation fairy pay you a visit. ($1;
  • 9. Heart of the Matter

    SleepRate is an iOS app and heart rate monitor that gives you a detailed assessment of your night, including time in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which should make up about half of your sleeping time to adequately restore the body. It also records sounds in your bedroom, so you’ll know if and when a noise disturbed you, or if sleep apnea might be to blame. It includes a cognitive behavior therapy program licensed from Stanford University to improve the quality of sleep, starting with setting a fixed bedtime and wake up time. ($100;
  • 10. Rose(ish)-Colored Glasses

    The last thing you should be doing before bed is looking at a screen, but 95 percent of Americans do it. Laptops, tablets, phones and TVs all emit high concentrations of blue-wavelength light that reduces melatonin production, which keeps you awake long after you post that last tweet. Amber lenses used in BluBlocker glasses shield your eyes from blue light, so you can sneak in one more episode of Orange is the New Black and not be kept up all night. ($25-$75;
  • 11. Avoid the Blues

    Sticky filters by SleepShield fit over your laptop, smartphone and tablet to reduce the amount of blue light that reaches your eyes at night. In case any blue still leaks through, download f.lux onto your devices. The software adjusts the color temperature of your device depending on the time of day — soft and warm at night and bright like the sun during the day. ($20-$40;
  • 12. Light Up the Night

    LIFX is a Wi-Fi enabled, multi-color, energy-efficient LED light bulb that you can control with your smartphone. The color options include: light purple to slow your heart rate and relax, deep red to help you sleep, and light orange to get the day started. A new feature helps you wake up naturally each morning by gradually increasing light, and helps you drift off at night with slowly dimming light. ($99;
  • 13. A Sight for Sore (and Sleepy) Eyes

    Instead of startling you awake with shrill beeping like most alarm clocks do, the Philips Wake-Up Light Plus rouses you gradually by mimicking the soft light of the rising sun, along with natural sounds or your own playlist. The principle is that our bodies release chemicals and start the process of waking up when the sun hits our eyelids. This new version also has a dusk simulator, with gradual decreasing light to help you enter the land of nod. ($70;
  • 14. Ride the Wave

    To quiet an overactive mind, sync your breathing to the ebb and flow of NightWave's pulsing blue LED light (the makers claim the beam is too weak to disrupt melatonin levels). As it gradually slows, the light silently guides you into a relaxed pre-sleep state — or bores you — to the point that you drift off to dreamland within minutes. Developed by Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Herbert Benson, the device is based on relaxation techniques used in cognitive behavioral therapy to help treat sleep problems. ($50;
  • 15. Smarter Slumber

    Leave it to Sleep Number to make the smartest bed on the market. The voice-activated x12 bed integrates a sleep-monitoring tracker directly into the mattress — albeit with a price tag you may lose sleep over. It collects data, such as your breathing rate, movements and heart rate, and sends it to the app, where you’ll also track your lifestyle habits to identify factors that affect your sleep, such as exercise, caffeine intake and TV usage. The bed will then suggest tips for you to snooze better. ($8,000-$10,500;


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