ONCE upon a time sleep deprivation was worn as a badge of honour and treated as some kind of competitive sport. But despite it becoming increasingly clear that not getting enough slumber batters your health and productivity, we’re still sleep deniers, with half of Brits admitting they struggle to nod off and four in ten failing to hit the recommended seven hours of shut-eye. ‘Britain’s sleep deprivation problem is now an epidemic — half of consumers are not getting the sleep we need,’ says Hera Crossan from market analysts Mintel, the company behind the study.
So if you want to find out how to survive sleep disruption over the Santa season and beyond, we’ve hand-picked a bunch of dreamy solutions to improve your snooze.
Tracking those zzzs
Tracking sleep is great for data nerds — the devices deep dive into your somnolence metrics to share solutions that can alter nocturnal habits. The snooze-obsessed people at SleepScore Lab, for example, have created the SleepScore Max (£148.85, sleepscore.com), a non-contact sleep-improvement device that perches on your bedside table to measure slumber-affecting variables including respiration, body movement and duration, as well as environmental factors such as temperature and light.
Using ultra-lower-power radio waves to track breathing and upper-body movement, an algorithm assigns sleep a one-to-100 score via an app alongside user-specific pointers on how to improve. Users can set goals and grab a sleep efficiency report for their doctor, with data augmented by a short questionnaire about health and routine.
The device’s analytical backbone is built on proprietary technology from ResMed, a leader in prescription sleep medical devices, and a decade of research that’s been validated using polysomnography, the clinically accepted standard of measuring sleep. So this bedside buddy benchmarks your data against millions of nights of sleep.
Kickstarter kid Circadia (From £142, circadia.health) consists of a contactless sleep tracker — which hides under your sheets to monitor your heart and respiratory rates -and a circadian rhythm light. Tested in sleep labs, the data builds a model of your body clock, while the environmental sensors measure noise, humidity, temperature and light, with a claimed 98 per cent accuracy. The smart lamp-cum-alarm then adjusts its light temperature based on how out of sync your circadian rhythm (24-hour internal clock) is. It does so via a personalised light therapy programme that increases wakefulness energy — and you may notice a difference after as little as three days.
Can you buy a better night’s sleep?
If you feel like you’re doing this basic survival function all wrong, Terraillon’s Homni (£199, amazon.co.uk) sleep solution promises to send you to the sandman via cardiac coherence, a clinically proven method that uses light to help you slow your breathing and thus facilitate falling asleep.
Approved by the European Sleep Centre, the main unit contains temperature, humidity, noise level and brightness sensors to increase sleep quality and understand disturbances like insomnia and stress. The Dot Sleep Sensor analyses your sleep, including duration, cycles and movement, while the Wellness Coach Sleep app uses the data to improve sleep. An adapted sunrise function helps you wake up using different coloured lights depending on your sleep phase. It’ll even charge devices via USB and boasts an integrated Bluetooth speaker.
Serious insomnia sufferers might want to try the sci-fi-sounding Alpha-Stim AID (£549, currentbody.com), which uses cranial electrotherapy stimulation to improve sleep quality. You clip electrodes on to your earlobes for 20 minutes every evening to send tiny electric signals to the brain to increase ‘alpha’ activity and help you feel more relaxed.
Currently being trialled by the NHS, with a claimed 85 per cent success rate, Alpha-Stim insomnia treatment safely modulates the brain’s electrochemical signals, bringing them back into balance, so you get more restful sleep while also reducing anxiety and depression.
If that sounds a bit too much like a science experiment, the Dodow (£50, amazon.co.uk) promises to send you off into a calm snooze via a pulsating soft blue light, which is projected on to your ceiling so you synchronise your breathing with it. The process reduces your brain’s activity and helps you fall asleep quicker. While research has shown blue light from smartphones and tablets hinders sleep quality, Dodow’s light signal is too dim to prevent the secretion of sleep hormone melatonin.
Luxuriate in aromatic scents, soothing sounds and natural light with the Sleepace Nox Aroma Smart Sleep Light (£129, due March 2018, sleepace.com). This Alexa-friendly bedside companion emits natural herbal scents, including lavender and jasmine, which are proven to relax the mind and induce users into more restful sleep. They are combined with soothing sounds, such as birds chirping, and seven light colour combinations to simulate the soft hues of dawn or mimic a sunset. The accompanying Sleepace app tracks your sleep cycle and monitors body movement while scoring sleep quality, dishing out reports alongside scientific evaluation and suggestions to improve.
If it’s your other half’s freight train-style snoring that’s keeping you awake at night, the Smart Nora Pillow (£223.90, amazon.com) aims to put an end to those noisy nightmares. A snore detector has its ears peeled so as soon as even the slightest snore is detected, the pillow gently inflates and deflates to free up their airways and help them breathe without making a peep. But if flitting between feeling hot and cold keeps you awake, the Smartduvet Breeze (£186.66, smartduvet.com) offers dual-zone climate control to satisfy both sides of the bed using an inflatable sheet that sits between your duvet and duvet cover.
How about an alarm clocks-cum-dawn simulator baked into a pillow? The Mode Modern Sunrise Pillow (From £96.62, sunrisepillow.co) boasts a smart alarm and colour-changing LEDs to mimic a natural sunrise and wake you in your lightest phase of sleep. This souped-up pillow plays nature-inspired sounds to get you up, white noise to help you fall asleep and guided meditation, while its ability to record audio allows users to identify the root cause of sleepless nights. The only thing it can’t do is check under your bed for monsters.
Dream double decker
NIGHT buses usually conjure up images of drunken revelry, loud antisocial behaviour and a colourful combo of sounds, smells and eccentricities. But if high-tech sleep brand Simba gets its way, a night bus filled with beds for bleary-eyed revellers or night workers could soon be what ferries people home at the end of the night.
Made up of 14 futuristic pods with wi-fi, USB chargers and scent infusions, the designers of this luxury Snoozeliner service hope it’ll eventually operate on eight routes across London, Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham in autumn 2018. Stewards will be on hand to wake passengers before their destination.