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The ABCs of getting good ZZZs

The ABCs of getting good ZZZs

Leave counting sheep to your grandma! In this age of technology, the sheep are better kept at the farm—and out of your bedroom. With the fitness tech industry putting a major focus on sleep, 2018 could be the year when you get better shuteye at last!

Why bother steering our tired souls toward beauty rest? It turns out that sleep abounds in health benefits. Studies show a good night’s sleep can improve memory, spur creativity, curb inflammation, boost immunity and even help you live longer. In fact, scientists say quality sleep is essential to our survival.

But, you may ask, haven’t I been warned about technology in the bedroom? True, too much exposure to the blue light of electronic screens – we’re talking cell phones and computers – is still a no-no; it’s blamed for shifting circadian rhythms and suppressing melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone.

The techie gadgets we’re talking about are specifically designed to promote sleep, either directly or through the gathering of info on sleep cycles and more. The sky’s the limit when it comes to technology’s answer to insomnia.

Because stress is a top reason for loss of sleep, consider the smart pillow (by Advansa 1 X21), which uses sensors to gather info and then offer tips on bolstering the quality of your sleep through a smartphone app.

If you like to think big, there’s a smart mattress and its less costly cousin—the smart mattress cover. Eight Sleep’s smart mattress lets you use Alexa voice commands to gather sleep data or change temperature—even on just one side of the bed. If cold feet keep you awake, Sleep Number 360 has foot-warming coils on each side of the bed, among its other features. Do you snore? (Don’t deny it. If your partner sleeps with earplugs, you probably do!) The Sleep Number also has head sections that adjust to bring what’s golden—silence—to your bedroom.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, millions of people are using smartphone apps, bedside monitors (like Nokia’s sleep tracker sensor that assigns your night a sleep score), and wearable items that collect and analyze sleep data. (The Philips SmartSleep headband goes one step further and also uses white noise patterns to promote sleep.) The idea: Knowledge is power—an inside look at oxygen levels, eye and limb movements, and more may solve the mystery of sleep loss for some folks.

Other gadgets use music, scents and gentle vibrations to break the sleep barrier. Take your pick, and put those sheep out to pasture once and for all.

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