Sleep Hacking: 28 Sleep Gadgets, Tools, and Hacks for Quality Sleep
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Picture this: Your head finally hits the pillow after a long, exhausting day, and you are ready to get some much-needed rest.
But no matter how hard you try, you simply cannot fall asleep.
You try all of the familiar sleep hacks like counting sheep and breathing deeply, but you just end up tossing and turning.
Does this sound familiiar?
If so, according to the Center for Disease Control, you are in good company.
A recent study showed that one-third of the country does not get seven or more hours of sleep each night, and many people actually need more than that. If you haven't tried out any sleep gadgets, it may be time to look into giving yourself a high tech sleep aid to help you fall into a peaceful slumber.
Do you want to learn how to get your body and mind to relax and easily fall asleep so you can wake up feeling rested?
Here are 28 sleep gadgets, tools, and hacks to help you get a good night's rest.
Why Do People Have Trouble Sleeping
According to “Prevention” magazine, the number one reason why people find themselves having trouble getting to sleep is due to a busy mind that just won't seem to shut down. Other reasons include stress, illness, travel, or other interruptions to your normal everyday routine.
The problem does not end with just falling asleep. Most adults at one point or another have trouble staying asleep or getting enough restorative sleep to help them function the next day.
This video explains a bit more about sleep habits, the effects of caffeine and food additives on sleep, and getting enough exercise during the day to encourage sleep at night.
The truth is, there are so many different reasons that people can lose sleep that it really is a personal matter. Did you know that snoring typically falls between 60 and 90 decibels? That is more than a vacuum cleaner!
Perhaps unsurprisingly, sleep is a keystone habit that leads to the development of other healthy habits in your life. For example, if you develop the habit of getting quality sleep, you may be more productive during the day or be able to wake up earlier to get some exercise.
As long as you are feeling better throughout the day, you may be less irritable and happier. A good night's sleep is so essential to your overall well-being, both mentally and physically.
So, where do you go from here? In the next four sections, I will discuss sleep gadgets, and some common sleep tips and even lesser-known sleep hacks that will help you begin to get high-quality restorative sleep.
Natural Sleep Remedies
While some of the early natural sleep remedies may sound familiar, as this post progresses we have sleep hacks that may surprise you. All these sleep aids are important to mention because you may not realize that your solution to getting more sleep is an easy fix that has never occurred to you.
All of these natural sleep remedies lead to proper sleep hygiene. "Sleep hygiene" refers to a variety of different habits and practices that are imperative to getting high-quality sleep that will lead to full daytime alertness. Here are a few solutions that are completely in your control, and that can help solve common problems that interrupt sleep.
1. Avoid caffeine in the afternoon.
Having caffeine in the morning is not so likely to disrupt your sleep at night, but you should avoid consuming caffeine after mid-afternoon. This is one of the most common sleep tips because it can really have a huge impact on the quality of your sleep.
Why? Caffeine's stimulant effects are disruptive to high-quality sleep. And with the popularity of energy drinks and specialty coffee drinks, it isn't too difficult to continue to consume caffeine after the morning hours, even if your coffee cup has been put away. I know I am guilty of craving a latte at 3:00 pm, but it is best to choose caffeine-free herbal tea instead.
2. Avoid heavy meals close to bedtime.
Are you one of the many people who find themselves munching on snacks late into the night? While eating a small, healthy snack can actually help you relax and fall asleep, overeating and eating heavy foods before trying to fall asleep can cause several problems, including insomnia.
Scientists have found that avoiding eating for three hours before going to bed is best, as this allows your body to wind down and release melatonin, which promotes sleep. Eating a large meal increases the circulation to your digestive tract, which then causes your stomach to secrete gastric acid and sends your intestinal muscles into overdrive. This results in the stimulation of your body’s metabolic system just as you are trying to slow everything down.
Avoiding heavy meals close to bedtime also helps reduce acid reflux, which can lead to serious sleep disruptions. Acid reflux causes you to partially wake up, even if you have no obvious symptoms of heartburn.
In fact, according to MSN Lifestyle, “silent reflux” causes you to have fitful and uneven sleep. However, when you wake up, your digestion is complete and you are likely unsure why you slept so poorly. Research actually shows that up to 25% of people who claim they do not get enough sleep without a diagnosed cause likely have acid reflux.
Eat a light snack before bed if you are hungry, but avoid overeating for at least three hours before going to sleep.
3. Keep your pets out of bed.
Many people love having the comfort of a pet in bed with them at night, as their gentle movements often make us feel safe and secure. Unfortunately, while it may feel nice to sleep with your cat or dog, their comings and goings are likely to wake you up throughout the night. Making enough room for them in your bed (and worrying about rolling over them) can also keep you awake.
Also, while you may not be allergic to your dog, all dogs actually carry allergens. Whenever your dog goes outside for a quick break or a walk, he is exposing his fur to several allergens, including pollen and dust. These stick on his paws and in his fur and end up in your bed. This can easily cause your allergies to get out of control. If you have a stuffy nose or are sneezing all night, you're not going to get a quality night's sleep.
If you do get into the habit of allowing your pet to sleep in your bed, it is hard for them to go back to sleeping on the hard floor or in a crate after they're used to having a comfortable, pillowy mattress and you by their side. If you try to go back to crate training, you should prepare yourself for sleepless nights because your pet will likely keep you awake with whining and crying.
4. Be consistent in your sleep schedule.
Going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day helps to set the body’s internal clock. Once you have a sleep schedule, your body will expect sleep at a certain time every night.
Stick to your routine as much as you can. That means even on the weekends. This will help you avoid having to readjust your body on Monday morning. Setting a gentle alarm for the same time each morning is the best way to set your internal clock. And guess what? Once your body gets into the swing of things, you will probably wake up on your own without an alarm.
Even if you do not get a good night's sleep, go ahead and get up at your specified time. The extra drive for sleep will help you get better sleep the next night.
5. Don’t drink too many fluids before bed.
Yes, you do want to keep yourself hydrated around the clock. However, drinking a lot of any liquid up to two hours before bed will cause you to wake up in the middle of the night to use the restroom. These late-night bathroom trips further disrupt your sleep because then you have to calm yourself back down once you get in bed again.
However, don't go to bed thirsty either. This may cause you to wake up in the middle of the night and have to get up to get a drink of water. Create a balance with your hydration so you can sleep through the night without having to get out of bed.
6. Quit smoking.
Believe it or not, smoking can disrupt your sleep to the point that it leads to health issues such as depression and anxiety. Smoking cigarettes disrupts the lungs and the brain, resulting in restless sleep. Smoke causes inflammation in the lungs and depresses levels of brain activity.
According to the Huffington Post, studies have shown that smoking can seriously impact your sleep by doing things such as:
- Altering your natural circadian rhythm
- Increasing your risk of developing sleep apnea
- Causing you to wake up more frequently
- Causing you to feel restless in the morning
So, quitting smoking will greatly improve the quality of your sleep. However, it is important to note that people who have never picked up a smoking habit have been proven to be the soundest sleepers. This means that while there is room for improvement if you quit smoking, it’s best to never start.
When it comes to getting natural sleep some of the best sleep tips revolve around fooling your brain. Tricking your mind into believing that your bed is the perfect place to fall asleep at any time. (This includes in the middle of the afternoon while it is still light outside.)
If you are able to make your bedroom a calm and sleep-inducing place, your body will keep that muscle memory and know that it is supposed to rest once you are in bed.
There are some products you can buy to help create your serene space for sleeping that can complement each other to help encourage your body to fall asleep any time you want to.
7. Set your room temperature between 60-67 degrees F.
Have you thought much about the temperature of your bedroom? While one would assume that it would be best to have a warm and cozy room, the opposite is actually true. Doctors of sleep medicine say that it is best to keep your bedroom between 60 and 67 degrees at night in order to get optimal sleep.
The reason for this is that our body temperatures rise and fall throughout the day. While our internal temperatures are typically at their highest right after lunchtime, they are at their lowest around 5:00 am. Our bodies naturally cool down when we fall asleep, and helping your body cool down faster can encourage a deeper sleep.
It’s simple, really: Give your body an environment to comfortably fall asleep in, and it will. However, if it is too hot or cold, your body will have to use more energy as it is trying to regulate itself, leaving you tossing and turning throughout the night. When your body is not fighting to regulate itself, you will be able to fall into a deeper and more restorative sleep.
8. Blackout shades.
Appreciating the dark by having blackout shades helps prepare your body and brain for sleep. Blocking all light sources to your bedroom while you sleep can actually stop interruptions to your body's clock. Simply put, sleeping in pitch dark prevents any changes to your internal rhythm.
Here's a tip: Blackout shades in a child’s bedroom can also make a significant impact on their sleep. They can help them sleep past sunrise and fall asleep when there is still some daylight.
These shades are easy to adjust for different sized windows. They are easily installed and can transform a bright room into pitch dark in seconds. This may be a great option for you if you do not want to buy shades or curtains. These shades also come with a carrying case and are great to use while travelling.
One downfall to these shades is that the suction cups can be tricky to stick onto the window. But if the window is clean, then it should not be too much of an issue.
Have you ever noticed that a sound that would not bother you during the day can drive you crazy at night when you are trying to sleep? It turns out that even if you don’t completely wake up, sounds can slightly arouse your brain and affect your sleep cycles.
There are a lot of potential sources of sounds that can disturb your sleep, ranging from pets and noises that other people make to things around your house like appliances and televisions. This is not even to mention the outside noises that go on during the night like storms, sirens, and traffic. The World Health Organization estimates that people living in Western Europe lose a total of one million years of healthy life due to noise-related to traffic.
Getting earplugs like these that mold to your ears is an inexpensive and effective way to block out noise. Once you position these earplugs properly, they will block out most air-transmitted sounds. Earplugs are not able to block solid surface or vibration sounds because these sounds are transmitted through your bones.
These sleep tools come in a pack of 20, and each pair can be reused for several nights in a row. The comfort of the soft design is great for the shape of most people's ears, but they might be a bit small for people who have larger ear canals.
10. Sleep mask.
Sleep masks are an affordable and natural way to help you fall asleep faster and sleep through the night. They keep all of the incoming light away from your eyes and help create a state of pure darkness. Sleep masks are one of the most effective sleep tricks to use to overcome any problems you may have with obtaining restful and relaxing sleep.
This sleep mask features complete light elimination, as well as built-in sound muffling. The resulting darkness and silence will help increase melatonin production, which will help you fall asleep and stay asleep.
While some sleep masks only cover your eyes and often move out of place, this mask surrounds your entire head and covers your ears. Normal use of this sleep mask significantly muffles sound, but the mask also comes with top-quality earplugs that can be used before placing the mask around your head to block out sound completely.
This mask does apply some pressure around your head in order to fully block out any light, and it may make some subtle noises as you move around throughout the night. However, it is superior to lighter masks with an elastic band.
This study, published in the “US National Library of Medicine,” looked at the effects that earplugs and eye masks have on people while they sleep. It was determined that subjects who did not wear earplugs or eye masks had poorer perceived sleep quality, lighter sleep, delay of REM sleep, and less REM sleep. Their nocturnal melatonin and cortisol secretion levels were measured through a urine test and differed significantly from those who wore earplugs and eye masks.
11. Get a sleep-friendly blue light bulb.
Yes, this is relatively expensive for a light bulb. However, these light bulbs help you fall asleep naturally and sleep soundly, waking up feeling refreshed by eliminating your exposure to blue light before bed. This is a great product for people who don't want to wear any additional gear while they sleep, but just want to have fewer things in the room that may disrupt their sleep.
According to Dr. Charles A. Czeisler, who is the chief of the Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders at Bringham and Women's Hospital, part of the reason for the current epidemic in sleep deficiency is that we are constantly exposed to artificial white light, which has high levels of blue light. This pushes the body's eternal clock back, while an amber light is able to block the blue light from being emitted.
This blue light bulb is rated to last over 30,000 hours, but some have found that they haven't gotten that many hours out of it. It uses an LED bulb that easily screws into any lamp in the bedroom and provides sufficient light for replacing a regular reading lamp. Unlike most reading lights, however, it will not block melatonin from being produced.
The bulb will fit a normal lamp socket, but it is taller than a traditional light bulb, so you may need to adjust your lamp shade to accommodate the height for this sleep tool.
Now we are getting into some of the fun stuff. More high tech solutions to getting a good night's rest. The sleep gadgets. I love some of these high tech sleep tools!
If you're still not having any luck getting a good night's sleep, these sleep gadgets can help you relax at night, and keep you asleep until rooster crow's in the morning.
This is a very comfortable pillow that adds in the benefits of copper to reduce stress and help you sleep. It is a great pillow at a very discounted price. It is a bit on the softer side, so it might not be for you if you like firm pillows.
This mattress pad has a cooling and heating temperature control system. With the regulation of the surface temperature of your mattress, you can sleep comfortably through the night.
Believe it or not, this mattress has dual-zone ChiliPads with independent tubing and control units for each side, so you and your partner don't have to sleep in the same temperature.
A thermostat on the mattress pad maintains your set temperature, so you can sleep at the temperature you want all night.
While this sleep gadget will help you perfect your temperature at night, the mattress itself can take a little getting used to. The tubes in the mattress make it a bit hard, and the motor makes a quiet noise. But this may be good for people who like white noise.
This sleep gadget makes it easy to follow along with a personalized pre-sleep breathing session that will reduce sympathetic neural activity and relax your mind and body.
The Android app for this device is still under development, but this is a great tool for people who have Apple devices. It will help you get to sleep, but may be less effective than other products for helping you stay asleep.
This insightful sleep tracker helps to improve your sleep by providing you with a specific breakdown of your sleep cycles. This allows you to learn how the environment in your room has an effect on your sleeping trends.
One positive thing about this sleep gadget is that it comes in a cool design and makes soft wake up noises at the best time for you to wake up. It also provides you with suggestions on how you can get better sleep. It uses a small clip that attaches to your pillow to detect any motion to track your sleep.
If you tend to fall back asleep after being woken up, this may not be the product for you, because there is no snooze option. While the voice recognition works pretty well, it can be spotty at times. Overall, this is a great product if you want to learn valuable information about your sleep.
16. Withings Aura
This is one of the cool high tech sleep gadgets I have at home. The high-tech sleep-tracking system can monitor and improve the quality of your sleep. It has a smart alarm that gently wakes you up at the best time of your sleep cycle so you do not feel groggy in the morning. It uses a multi-color LED dimming light technology that works with the correlation between light and the body's secretion of melatonin.
This high tech sleep gadget sits on your bedside table and includes a convenient clock. This may be the right sleep tracking device for you if you dislike wearing or charging a wearable device. However, the device is quite sensitive, which sometimes makes it inaccurate.
17. Fitbit Charge 3
If you are looking to buy a nifty pedometer that has multiple uses aside from just tracking your sleep, this is probably the right product for you. Its accuracy can be a bit off, but it gives a great general idea of your daily fitness and sleeping patterns.
A white noise generator creates small electronic hums that have sleep-inducing sounds. It also covers up the sound of pure silence and helps block out background noises, both of which can make sleeping difficult. This product offers six sound options, and it is easy to take with you when you travel. It also has an auto-off feature if you do not want it to run all night.
The battery life on this machine is relatively short, so it is best to use it while it is plugged in. The sounds that this machine plays go quickly and cannot be slowed down, which may not be calming for some people.
Essential oils are very popular these days for a variety of uses, including inducing natural sleep.
This essential oil blend is especially effective in helping you fall asleep. It is an even blend of chamomile, Peru balsam, clary sage, copaiba, sandalwood, lavender, sweet marjoram, and ylang ylang. The great thing about using an oil diffuser is that you will be breathing in the oils all night, which helps you stay asleep.
Using essential oils with this sleep infuser as part of your sleep routine can be very effective when used in conjunction with other sleep hacks and sleep gadgets. Making it one of the very best natural sleep remedies.
Watching TV or staring at your smartphone or computer screen is a great way to make you lose sleep at night. However, if you feel like you have to have some TV or PC time to wind down, these glasses might save your night. These spiffy lenses will help block some of the blue light that is emitted from the devices.
These sturdy and comfortable glasses are very budget-friendly. They make your vision slightly dark, so it is difficult to use them if you are not looking at a screen, but they are perfect cutting out the glare that keeps you awake all night.
If you're like me, you probably want to try to how to cure insomnia naturally. You might not want to use strong sleeping pills or spend money on sleep gadgets until it is a last recourse. You want to try everything before you spend money or take unnatural pills.
For all of you we have some sleep "hacks" that are some lesser known natural sleep remedies that can assist in bring about the sleep you crave, without resorting to buying sleep gadgets.
21. Keep technology out of your room.
Make sure that your bedroom is only for sleeping. Don't put your computer or a TV in there, or any other gadgets that keep your mind busy. This will help your body remember why you are in bed every night, and you will be able to fall asleep accordingly.
22. Create a routine.
Build a pre-sleep ritual that allows your body to de-stress and subconsciously tells your mind to relax because it is time to go to sleep. Pre-sleep rituals can include a variety of things, but a common routine may include:
- Warm bath
- Light stretching
- Writing in a journal
- Deep breathing exercises
- A cup of caffeine-free herbal tea 30 minutes before bed
Writing in a journal is an effective way of getting rid of stressful thoughts. Each night before you go to sleep, write down anything you need to clear your mind and rid yourself of your troubling thoughts. A gratitude journal is a great place to reflect on all of the things that you are thankful for that day. Both of these types of journals will help you unburden your mind and get rid of thoughts that otherwise might keep you awake.
Get some exercise several hours before you go to sleep. Exercising releases cortisol, which helps stimulate the brain. Exercising during the day will help you sleep, but don't exercise too close to your bedtime or the cortisol may keep you awake.
This is a Goldilocks situation. You don't want that exercise to be too early, or too late, but "just right".
24. Don't hit the snooze button.
Those 10-minute increments of sleep that occur between your alarms when hitting the snooze button are not deep, restorative sleep that will benefit you during the day. Going back to sleep when the buzzer sounds is only fooling yourself.
It is best to get up when your alarm first goes off and begin being productive for the day. Remember, the more consistency you have in your routine, the better it is for your body.f your body knows it will get up early, it will let you sleep earlier.
25. Wear socks.
People who tend to have cold extremities may find it hard to sleep if their feet start to get cold in the middle of the night. Wrap them up with some warm socks before bed to prevent this.
26. Consider the color of your room.
Paint your room a light, peaceful matte shade of blue. This is a naturally relaxing color that will allow you to feel at peace and help induce relaxing sleep.
27. Get spiritual.
Say an evening prayer, meditate, or practice yoga before bed. Purposeful breathing and light stretching are all great methods of getting a little spiritual peace before going to sleep.
To help yourself relax, work on visualizing a peaceful place. Maybe that is at the beach or in the mountains. Wherever you can find peace, visualize the sounds and smells of that place and imagine you are there to get some stress relief.
Everyone has trouble sleeping at one point or another during their lives. I truly hope that you are able to use some of these sleep hacks and sleep gadgets to help you get the rest you need to be healthy and productive during the day.
If you still feel you haven't found the sleep solution you are looking for, check out this free list of home remedies. Many of the remedies on this list are also here. But that list also has a few weird sleep remedies I have never tried, like Didgeridoo sleep therapy and acupuncture.
We covered a lot of do’s and don'ts here, including creating a calming routine at night and setting a scene for sleep that does not involve electronics or artificial light. There are also some product suggestions you can consider if you want to keep better track of your sleep or use something to create a more peaceful environment.
If you try all of these methods but are still unable to get a full night's sleep, consider seeing a doctor or sleep specialist to be checked for sleep apnea. You may have sleep apnea and not even know it—and it can cost you some much-needed deep sleep. A doctor can prescribe you a CPAP machine or sleep aid pills to help you sleep better if you do suffer from sleep apnea.
Do you have any additional ideas for sleep hacks? Have any sleep gadgets that work for you? What has worked (and not worked) for you in the past? Comment here to let other readers know about your experiences with getting a better night's sleep.
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