Home / Gadgets / 8 Best Sleep Gadgets for Tracking and Improving Rest in 2020 – Esquire

8 Best Sleep Gadgets for Tracking and Improving Rest in 2020 – Esquire

best sleep gadgets

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Humans, the intelligent beings that we are, have somehow managed to evolve our brains to a place where just a fraction of our species is capable of sleeping well. It’s as if every single one of us hit the age of 12, and then bam, every single one of us was destined to never feel rested again, whether due to inner turmoil or outside distractions or both. Bags drag down our under-eyes, caffeine becomes our drug of choice, and anxiety mounts, keeping us awake late at night as we become steadily more anxious about still being awake this late at night. It’s a crushing cycle, and I’m fairly certain the only fix is to add three hours of unencumbered nap time to every day, bringing our daily hour total to 27.

But that is, unfortunately, impossible. Still, we humans are obsessed with trying to hack sleep like we hack diets and exercise. Scientific literature abounds. Wellness trends like micro-napping and melatonin-boosting and CBD-dosing are tried, and most often abandoned. As such, there is a burgeoning gadget market built around the industrial sleep complex. Some of it, in our experience, is worth testing out—you’ll find those gadgets below—though of course, none is guaranteed to work for everyone. As humans we may share sleeplessness, but the ways in which each of us is sleepless are highly idiosyncratic. Try one, or a combination of a few, with some calming breaths and a glass of warm milk. Whatever works.

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Gentle Pressure Sleep Mask

As you have likely deduced, this mask isn’t a gadget; it has no hidden smart sensor or brain scanner or Blu-ray player. But I’m a firm believer in trying a non-tech solution before getting fully teched out, and this is just that. Made heavy from little beads sewn into it and soft from that faux-fur fabric you so often find in throw blankets, the Nodpod applies soft pressure and blocks light. It is a weighted blanket for your eyes, if you will. And if it falls off in the night, so be it; you’ll be too conked out to notice. 

Modernist X Gravity Summer Blanket Collection

Gravity Blankets
gravityblankets.com

$205.00

On one end of the spectrum, you have those folks who sleep in the summer without a sheet or blanket in sight, totally exposed to the open air and the monsters under the bed. On the other end are the folks who cannot figure out how to balance an 88-degree night with 800 percent humidity against their need to feel the bulk of a comforter over their bodies. For those in the latter group, a weighted blanket designed specifically for summer might help. This collaboration from Gravity Blankets comes in multiple sizes and colors, and uses 300-count cotton to remain breathable despite the weight. As for the weight itself, it has a calming, destressing effect.

Night Frames

Lensabl
lensabl.com

$97.00

Our final blatantly not-tech suggestion are these amber-tinted glasses made by Lensabl. They block out the kind of light rays that prevent your brain from cycling into sleep mode, and they’re great for staring at computers all day, too. The range of frame styles is expansive, and you can get prescription lenses inserted. Our closing argument is that they make you look like Jack Nicholson riding high on valium at the 2003 Golden Globes, which is unequivocally cool.

‘LectroFan White Noise Machine

Adaptive Sound Technologies
amazon.com

Somewhat counter-intuitively, the best defense against a noisy night is more noise. And this little machine is one of the better white noise makers. It makes two types of noise—white noise, like static, and a sound that mimics a fan—at multiple volumes, so you really just have to find the one that feels right for your brain as you fall asleep. With it, the disturbances of a city (the trains, the late-night shouts, the damn fireworks) fade into nothingness. 

SmartSleep Wake-Up Light Therapy Alarm Clock

Philips
amazon.com

$139.99

$115.99 (17% off)

The glowing orange hue this wake-up light emits is peaceful and serene—like importing a sunset onto your nightstand. At night, the light dims from bright to black on a timer, smoothing your transition from wide-awake to drifting-off. In the morning, it’ll do the reverse, urging your brain to gently awaken as it goes from black to bright yellow. Program it to play a pleasant sound like birds chirping, or NPR, to further awaken you. Use it as nice mood lighting throughout the day. Tune into the radio, and set multiple alarms if you want. This model is the basic version; for more features and smart app control, this model is a step up.

Hue White and Color Ambiance Smart Bulbs

Philips
amazon.com

$89.99

Philips’ other sleep-adjacent light gadget is its Hue smart bulbs. Similar to the wake-up light, they fade and brighten on command, but the commands you give can be much more nuanced. Beyond calming hues for bedtime and invigorating hues for morning, the lights have a hell of a lot more color options and internal timer settings for watching TV, entertaining guests, eating dinner, and whatever else you do at home, all controlled by an app (or a connected smart assistant). What they don’t have is a speaker or alarm; it’s just light, albeit intelligent light.

Versa 2 Smartwatch

Fitbit
walmart.com

$199.95

Fitbit’s newer Versa 2 is loaded with the company’s best sleep-tracking technology. You know, the stats on when and for how long you were in REM sleep, telling you exactly how inept you are at sleeping, with goal-setting, a silent alarm, and even a guide to taking calming breaths to relax. The catch is that you have to wear the band and all its bulk to bed. If that isn’t an issue, then great, you’ve got a day-to-night fitness tracker that’ll give you tools for becoming less of sleep-deprived zombie. (The Versa 2 has some smartwatch features, but they’re more limited than those of an Apple Watch, for instance.)

Sleep Tracking Pad

Withings
amazon.com

$96.99

Far less intrusive than the Fitbit is this pad. Slide it under the mattress, and it’ll collect a trove of information on how you sleep (or rather, don’t sleep): your breathing patterns, your snoring stints, your heart rate, and naturally, your sleep cycles. Every day, it’ll hit you with a sleep score and analytical breakdown of your night, to gameify the process (hey, we all need goals). It’s also smart home-friendly, using its Alexa connection to control smart lights and thermostats based on your movements. This pad is how you really micromanage your sleep environment.

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