Can Gadgets Help You Sleep or Sleep Better at Least?

About 43 percent of Americans say they never get a good night’s sleep during the week. Blame it on the boss (who may well play a huge factor) or the job (ditto), but when push comes to shove, each of us is responsible for our own good health — and our own good health based on sound sleeping.

In a previous post, we examined how the scent of lavender, eye masks and purple room hues have been shown to help people sleep. Are there other ways to help ensure a better night’s sleep, for instance, modern conveniences/appliances we can buy? Here are some options gadget-wise:

  • White noise generators. Some people could sleep soundly if WWIII were happening all around them, but for most of us, even the slightest noise can keep us up forever. Solution: Generate some white noise. “White noise is ideal to help block noise,” says Shelby Freedman Harris, PsyD, director of the Behavioral Sleep Medicine Program Sleep-Wake Disorders Center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York.
  • MP3 player and the music of your choice. If music soothes the savage beast in you, get an MP3 player and create a playlist of sleep-inducing musical renditions, all your bedtime faves, of course.
  • Ear plugs. Now, how time-honored is the use of ear plugs? But let’s face it — for many folk, ear plugs do the trick. “I have many patients who use earplugs to block the noise of snoring bed partners,” Harris says. “Silicone earplugs are often better at blocking noise than the usual foam ones.”
  • Sleep monitors and sleep waistbands. Sleep monitors record the phases of sleep you go through each night, along with when and for how long (but they’re expensive). Waistbands just record how long you actually sleep, not how well. For both, however, you have to figure out what to do with the data.

Before going the gadget route and spending a lot of money that may yield few if any results,  it’s best just to establish good sleep-hygiene habits for yourself. Go to bed at the same time every night, for instance, and avoid food, caffeine and alcohol within several hours of bedtime. Turn off the noise and the lights, and zzzzz away … if you can.

Still, your best bet if you’re chronically on the short end of restorative sleep is to seek out an evaluation from a sleep professional. Practice good sleep hygiene, but don’t hesitate to ask for help when your best habits still fall short.

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