When it comes to getting enough sleep, technology is typically not your friend. Checking your phone before you go to bed makes it harder to fall asleep and hurts your sleep quality. The light from your computer can keep your body from releasing melatonin, increasing your likelihood of sleep deprivation.
However, a bevy of gadgets and sleep-friendly concepts are proving that tech can actually help you get your 7 to 8 hours a night.
In honor of World Sleep Day March 18, here are seven sleep-friendly innovations to help you get your best rest ever.
When it comes to sleep, knowledge is power. Logging your pre-bedtime activities, how much you sleep every night and what times of night you're most restless can help you suss out patterns and figure out your personal formula for sleep success. And there's never been more options for monitoring your sleep. Many fitness trackers and smartwatches come with sleep monitoring features. If you're not into wearing something on your wrist while you sleep, try an in-bed monitor like Beddit -- slip the thin sensor under your sheet, and it will track your heart rate, breathing, snoring and other sleep vitals. There are also dozens of sleep tracking apps available for smartphones. We're partial to Sleep Cycle, an alarm that gently wakes you during your lightest sleep period, helping you achieve the rested, alert feeling you get from waking up naturally.
As any traveler knows, getting a good night's sleep in a hotel can be a challenge. However, a slew of hotels and resorts across the U.S. are working to change that. In New York City, The Benjamin Hotel offers a "rest and renew" program, including a pillow bar, sleep masks, blackout curtains and on-site sleep consultants. Rooms at Miraval Resort in Tucson, Arizona, are outfitted with special LED lights designed to promote better sleep. And at Mount Snow resort in Vermont, guests participating in the "family crramp" program are encouraged to leave their devices unplugged and instead relax with their kids.
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A headband that promotes deep sleep
The Sleep Shepherd Blue headband goes beyond traditional sleep trackers and uses the data it collects about your sleep patterns to actually improve your rest. Designed as a drug-free alternative for people with sleep disorders, the headband plays subtle humming noises designed to slowly lull your brain into deep sleep -- the critical stage that researchers believe is the most important part of the sleep cycle. Studies have shown that deep sleep promotes muscle regeneration, increases productivity the next day and improves mental reaction time.
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The struggle of waking up while it's dark out is so, so real. Luckily, an innovative lamp-alarm clock hybrid can ease your daylight saving time pains. "Wake-up" lights, like this model from Philips, simulate sunrise in your bedroom, gradually increasing in brightness so by the time your alarm goes off you're already waking up naturally. You'll wake up more refreshed and less likely to reach for the snooze button.
Blue-light adjusting software
Late-night laptop work -- or Netflix bingeing -- can really mess with your sleep patterns. But thanks to new software that shifts the colors on your screen, you can minimize sleep disruption and eye strain. Available for PCs and Macs, f.lux automatically changes your display depending on the time of day. As the sun sets, your screen will slowly and subtly shift in color, removing blue light to make your computer easier on your eyes.
Not every office is lucky enough to have a nap room. That's where San Francisco start-up Doze comes in. The company, which launched last year with a pop-up nap studio, rents its high-tech nap pods to companies and events, allowing overworked employees or conference-goers to get a little shut-eye during the day. The benefits of napping --- including increased alertness and creativity -- are attractive to workers and employers alike.
All-in-one sleep systems
If you're looking for one gadget to do it all -- track your sleep, improve your rest quality and wake you up gently -- there's several options on the market. The Nox Smart Sleep System, which picked up an innovation honor at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, uses soothing lights and sounds to both help you both fall asleep and wake up. It also will track your sleep patterns as well as monitor your bedroom's temperature, humidity and ambient noise. Another option is Sense, a golf ball-esque monitor that offers many of the same features. Each morning, Sense's app will send you a "sleep score," which will help you adjust your sleep patterns and environment to maximize rest.