Finding it difficult to sleep lately? I know that feeling. And no, it’s not merely insomnia, which affects as much as 30% of UK sleepers. Try falling asleep when your flatmate has the good sense to batter his punching bag in the name of nightly exercise. The good news is, there are effective products and services that can significantly reduce unwanted bass. So let’s dive into the very best… sleep gadgets to…. help you sleep….. Zzzz…… zz…
Listening To Foreign Languages
Price: Free ~ £∞
A surprisingly effective way to knock yourself out from sheer TMI exhaustion. My sleep-deprived friends recently recommended listening to ‘Dreaming Spanish’ on YouTube. While I’m sure their branding is a totally unintended coincidence, this punny reference is too good to pass up.
Seriously, try it. I’ve since woken up to see my watch history filled with some Spanish dude’s language course. So as long as you don’t fully comprehend the speaker’s tongue, foreign podcasts are surprisngly free and effective mechanisms to help you sleep! Bonus points for having a deep, monotonous voice box.
Aren’t White Noise Machines Deafening Sleep Gadgets?
The American Association of Pediatrics worringly discovered certain machines produced “output levels >85 A-weighted dB [i.e low-frequencies discarded], which, if played at these levels for >8 hours, exceeds current occupational limits for accumulated noise exposure”.
That being said, the following sleep gadgets are unlikely to turn you deaf if placed beyond the recommended 2m away from your bedside.
Yogasleep Hushh Compact Sound Machine
This portable device streams ambient noise that are conducive to a good night’s sleep. Roughly 10cm in diameter, it snugly fits in the palm of your hand. Quite an affordable alternative in the frankly overpriced white noise market.
Don’t ever be distracted on your long-haul flights or train journeys ever again!
Paired with my bass-cancelling headphones or foam earplugs, it’d be super nice to drown out unwanted night-time disturbances. It’s just unfortunate that even this combo cannot entirely silence the inter-wall-floor boxer next-door…
Dreamegg D11 Portable White Noise Machine
Slightly bulkier than Yogasleep’s Hushh, yet it more than makes up for its size through its multi-functional buttons. Each unique press returns motherly whispers, vacuum tones and fetal beats that purportedly recreate the sound of the womb. What’s more, this baby-friendly cutesy ships with a spiral-shaped night light to aid relaxation.
These pacifying sounds are examples of so-called pink noise, characterised by a frequency spectrum that decreases in intensity per octave. This is in contrast to white noise which more or less possesses equal intensity across all frequencies. Essentially, owing to its relatively deeper sonic hue, pink noise derives its name from the pinkish appearance of visible light that fits its power spectrum.
Bedtime Apps To Help You Sleep
Frequently used during therapy routines, white/pink noise plays soothing soundscapes in the background. This is resoundingly effective for those who suffer from tinnitus. So if you often hear high frequency ringing, you’ll benefit from combining the following applications during stressful evenings.
Price: Free (typically max. 15-minute per sesh)
Annual Premium Plan: £28.99; £7.99 (student plan + Amazon Prime subscription)
Calm does more than calming noise control:
Stephen Fry’s Sleep Stories is my favourite aspect of this app. Coupled with a few drops of lavender oil onto your pillow, and you’ll be taken on a truly magnificent dream of childish wonder.
The premium version offer a wide variety of 30-minute sessions across meditation and mindfulness programs. Not to mention unlocking the entire library of over 200 Sleep Stories. If you have an Amazon Prime subscription, you’re in for a treat because the free trial period extends from one to twelve weeks.
Oura Ring Gen3
Monthly Membership Fee: £4 (access individual stats break-downs, incl. sleep data)
Is this the future of health? Oura Ring certainly thinks so with their Bluetooth-compatible night-and-day activity tracker:
Signed up to the monthly membership plan? Then the latest iteration will monitor hear rate variability, record number of steps travelled, and predict women’s periods up to a week before. You can even wear it 100m underwater if you’re into recreational diving, although the recommended limit is no more than 12 hours.
Despite touting themselves as the most accurate sleep data provider, many critics describe sleep phase measurement can be inaccurate. Hence, before splashing out on this next-gen sleep tracker, check out Rob ter Horst’s scientific experiment. The bioinformatics researcher, wearing his Dreem 2 EEG headband to more accurately base his findings, revealed “REM sleep detection is the worst characteristic of the current Oura Ring 3 algorithm.”
Perhaps it’s a little too early to disparage their clearly disruptive technology. With time, users hope the device would provide more incisive suggestions on behavioural changes to attain that golden slumber.