These 7 Products Are Supposed To Help You Sleep Better. We Gave Them A Whirl.
I go to bed well past 11 PM each night, falling asleep to the soothing sounds of Guy Fieri on the Food Network. I hit snooze more times than I can count most mornings. Yes, despite writing articles on exactly how to sleep well, I am a terrible sleeper. That's why I was so excited to try out the following products that promise a swift transport to dreamland, as well as a morning wake-up that won't resemble something fromThe Walking Dead. Here, fellow sleep-deprived health editor, Sarah Klein, and I weigh in on whether these supposedly snooze-inducing products live up to their hype.
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The claim:This smart LED light uses a warmer-spectrum light to help promote natural melatonin production (which you want as bedtime approaches) and slowly dims automatically over a period of 37 minutes, the average amount of time it takes for the sun to set, gently relaxing you to sleep.
MORE:7 Reasons You're Tired All The Time
The result:I was skeptical it would be as easy to use as the box proclaims, but it really is. You screw the bulb into any socket; turn it on, then off, then on again. It'll flash once to tell you it's ready to dim, and you sit back and relax. I didn't even notice it was gradually getting darker until it was nearly all the way off and I finally couldn't see what I was reading in bed. I found it surprisingly relaxing and especially loved not having to turn the light off at the end of a chapter. (.95, drift-light.com) –Sarah
MORE: 7 Reasons You're Tired All The Time
The claim:Wear this shirt to bed and sleep better—seriously. Active Edge claims to have "technology capable of infusing and embedding a recipe of electromagnetic frequencies into fabrics and other materials," and the shirt is supposed to improve REM restorative sleep, as well as make you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
The result:The shirt looks like a typical tee, so to say I was skeptical is an understatement. I wore the shirt 3 nights in a row and can't say for certain that I got better sleep than with my normal nighttime attire. But each morning I woke up feeling a certain way about my dreams—not necessarily remembering them exactly, but knowing they had been intense. In doing more research on the technology, I came across this disclaimer from Active Edge: "Many people experience extremely vivid dreams while wearing our sleep products. This is normal and means you are experiencing deeper REM restorative sleep." Interesting. (.99, activeedgegear.com) –Amber
The claim:Apple's latest operating system update came with this new feature, in which the software uses your iPhone's or iPad's clock and location to signal a shift in the colors of light emitted to the warmer end of the spectrum at night to limit your exposure to sleep-disrupting blue light near bedtime. Then it readjusts the tones in the morning when the sun rises.
The result:I definitely noticed the shift in the color of my screen. I'm not sure I slept any better, but the warmer hues on the screen give off a cozier, more comforting feeling as bedtime approaches. (Free update on Apple products; try the Twilight app for a similar effect on Android devices) –Sarah
The claim:Like Apple's Night Shift, f.lux also uses your location to synchronize your computer with the rising and setting of the sun. In the evening, f.lux slowly adjusts the colors on your computer screen to a warmer hue that's supposed to be easier on the eyes (and help you sidestep that pesky blue light that keeps your brain awake).
The result:I started using this app back in January when sunset was around 4:30 PM, so having your computer adjust to a warm, comforting hue when you're still plugging away on an article deadline isn't the best motivator. But as someone who frequently (OK, always) watches Netflix on her computer in bed, the absence of a blinding screen definitely helps me drift off to sleep quicker. (Free for Macs and Windows, justgetflux.com) –Amber
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The claim:All the time we spend in front of screens is doing a number on our poor, fried eyeballs. These chic glasses (they look just like normal frames with clear lenses) filter out at least some of the blue light waves emitted from screens, giving your peepers a break over long workdays. While these aren't necessarily marketed as sleep products, we had a hunch they just might help.
The result:Like using Night Shift, there's a slight noticeable shift in coloring when I wear these, with the added benefit that I can look anywhere—at my phone, laptop, computer—with the same spectrum of light. I was concerned at first that since I'm not used to wearing glasses, these could give me a headache or make me otherwise uncomfortable at work, but instead they make me feel like I'm sitting by a roaring fire instead of under fluorescent lights. My eyes definitely felt less tired at the end of the workday, although I can't say the glasses put me to sleep. (Phonetic Computer Eyewear, - for nonprescription frames, phoneticeyewear.com. Or talk to your eye doctor about glasses with TechShield lenses; with certain insurance plans, they may even be free.) –Sarah
The claim:This sunrise-simulating alarm clock will rouse you more naturally than your blaring alarm and, as a bonus, has a dimming feature to lull you to sleep at night.
The result:As a light-sensitive sleeper, I wear an eye mask to bed most nights, specifically to avoid being disrupted by the sun. And even though the idea of waking up gradually to a faux sunrise sounds romantic, in reality it was exactly what I try to prevent. The light glows a really rich, red-orange hue before it turns all the way on and plays one of its five natural wake-up sounds. For me, the whole experience is like hitting the snooze button—those 20 minutes of light weren't restful sleep.
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