In this hyper-connected world of ours, sleep has become one of the most precious commodities there is.  Instead of allowing ourselves to wind down so we go to bed in a relaxed state, we instead now take the technology with us.  Just a little over three weeks after Apple’s iPad launched, there was already articles surfacing from sources such as The Los Angeles Times that the device was impacting sleep patterns.  (Something both our own Jon Rettinger and I have agreed to in a late night IM conversation shortly after I got my iPad)

As much as technology may be to blame for our decreasing amount of sleep, it can also be a help if used correctly.  Here are a few bits of gadgetry that may help you get that ever so allusive REM (Rapid Eye Movement) cycle sleep we all crave.



The Zeo is an alarm clock that comes with a headband for you to where while you sleep. It then transmits data to the alarm clock, and that information is sent to your personal page on the Zeo site so you can see charts of your sleep patterns, and get advice on how you can improve your down time.

The problem is that it sounds like for $399 (and $99 subscription fee for the Web interface after the first six months) you get a whole lot of common sense information.  Such as going to bed at a set time, cut down on input in the evenings and so on. Rebecca Ruiz of Forbes said in an Aug. 2009 review:

Given that 40 million people have chronic sleep disorders and a recent survey found that a third of adults nap each day, Americans should improve their sleep hygiene. The Zeo makes that process an interactive and technology-driven one, a requirement for new personal health products. Still, there’s something timeless about simple common sense.

You might find the Zeo useful, but it also sounds like if you simply apply all the things your parents told you as a kid, you could save yourself some money.

UPDATE: I had erroneous pricing information.  The device is $199 with $7.95 a month/$79.95 a year for the Web access, or $299 for the device with lifetime access to the Web interface.  I still stand by the suggestions from your parents when you were a kid is cheaper.

ecotones duet

White Noise Machines

There is something to be said for the tranquil sounds of waves crashing against the shores, or perhaps a rain forest at night, and thanks to any of a number of white noise machines on the market, you can have these sounds playing in your bedroom as you try to go to sleep.

The particular one pictured to the right is an Ecotones Duet, and is the one I got my parents for Christmas last year.  They hate trying to sleep without it now because they love it so much.  I am sure there are many other quality ones on the market, but this is the only one I can give a personal nod to, and I have seen that it actually does seem to make a difference.

If you live in a noisy neighborhood, or even just find yourself sensitive to noises, a white noise machine works great for you because it gives you a constant sound that could overpower the one that annoys you.

proactive sleep

Proactive Sleep Alarm Clock

Do you need a better night’s sleep? There’s an app for that!

Well … duh.

Proactive Sleep Alarm Clock (iTunes link) lets you use your iPhone or iPod Touch to measure how long you sleep, shows you graphs, and when you wake up, it gives you an accuracy game to play to see how rested you are.  After monitoring your sleep habits, it will also give you tips on how to improve your night of rest.

Yes, this is like a mush simpler version of the Zeo, but as opposed to paying out over $400 in fees, this app will only set you back $.99.

Warm Milk

Of course the best thing to do is just try to get off the Internet earlier in the night, put down the game controller, turn off the TV etc, but what are the chances of any of us doing that?  Maybe a pieve of technology will indeed help you, you won’t know until you give it a try.

What say you?  What are some ways you’ve found to help yourself sleep?

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.