New sleep technologies that can aid sleep-deprived travelers
It is often more difficult to get a full night’s sleep while traveling. But the truth is, a very high percentage of us have trouble sleeping whether at home or traveling. Some 41 million Americans alone (30 percent of the U.S. population) are sleep-deprived — sleeping six or fewer hours per night — according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
If you’re wondering if you are suffering from lack of sleep, consider this list of sleep-deprivation symptoms from Health.com: You’re always hungry. You’ve gained weight. You’re more impulsive. Your memory isn’t what it used to be. You’re having trouble making decisions. Your motor skills (coordination) are off. Your emotions are erratic. You’re getting sick often. Your complexion is blemished.
Keep in mind that lack of sleep can be a serious health issue. The fact that it weakens the immune system alone is cause for concern, and long-term sleep deprivation also increases your risk for chronic illnesses such as diabetes and heart disease.
The good news is there are a host of new tech products that poor sleepers can use to enhance their nighttime rest. The Los Angeles Times recently featured these 10 technologies:
- Athlete Recovery Sleepwear ($80). Think pajamas, but these are made of bioceramic imprinted-fabric by UnderArmor and designed to cool the body’s infrared heat emissions to promote longer, sounder sleep.
- 2Breathe ($180) is a gadget that uses an app and a respiration sensor on a chest strap to match your breathing, creating a “guided breathing” experience that promotes longer exhalations, reduces anxiety and ultimately leads users into a sleep-state more rapidly.
- AromaCar.com ($89) makes sleep-inducing scents (oil-based organic blends of lavender, peppermint, lemon, eucalyptus, sweet orange and rosemary) that are diffused into the air above your bed. More good scents for bedtime are made by Sensorwake Oria, ($149) each formulated at the Clinical Sleep Research Unit at England’s Loughborough University, are designed to take sleepers deep into REM sleep.
- ReNu ($89) is a headset manufactured by NuCalm that uses neuro-acoustic sounds to calm sleepers and put them into a healthful theta brainwave state.
- The Advansa 1 X21 ($150) is a smart pillow laced with sensors that record body movements, sleep patterns and ambient noise.
- The Motiv ($199) is a waterproof titanium ring that tracks physical activities such as your nocturnal movements, heart rate, calories and so on.
- The Magnesphere (home units are $3,050, plus an $80 a month subscription fee) requires the user to sit inside its giant, six-foot vertical loop to receive a whole-body dose of magnetic resonance, which is supposed to balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, identified by some studies as a key biomarker that indicates your ability to respond to stress.
- The Emfit QS sensor ($299) is placed under the mattress to measures heart and breathing rates, indicating if you were restless or still, how much REM sleep you got. It also tracks your “heart rate variability” which, over time, shows the effectiveness of your exercise on your wellness.
- Quell Relief ($249) manufactures an electrostimulation band that straps around the upper calf, just below the knee, an area filled with sensory nerves. The unit triggers the brain to produce its own opioids to provide natural pain relief throughout the body, reducing chronic pain that disrupts sleep.
- The Sleep Number 360 ($4,000) is a bed that automatically adjusts the elevation of the upper half of the body to stop you from snoring, which is a form air-flow blockage that disrupts sleep.
You can get more information on any of these technologies by Googling the product name. Though some of these devices are quite expensive, it is always good to remember the health benefits of being well rested are many. Among them, according to Health.com, are improved memory, greater focus, enhanced creativity, less stress, lower incidence of depression, less prone to accidents, stable body weight, less inflammation, all of which improves the prospects for a longer lifespan.
Sleep well and be healthy. And, as always, we invite your thoughts on this topic or any other travel-related issues. To write to us, just click here.