Is it worth owning a smart sleeping setup?

Our collective troubles with sleep have sparked wave after wave of smart sleep technology. But do any of these gadgets actually work?

Is it worth owning a smart sleeping setup?
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Yawn…more sleep please

You’d think that it would be easy enough to drift off after a long day. Every part of your body is craving sleep. All except your brain, that is. In its infinite wisdom, that strange organ sometimes decides that sleep isn’t the right idea. “Let’s think about that awkward silence you suffered a month ago instead!”

Many gadgets claim to help you sleep, against these steep odds. But does smart sleeping tech actually work? And is it worth the money? We decided to investigate.

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Happy sleepers

Smart sleeping

Everyone has the occasional restless night. But according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, around 15–20 percent of people have suffered with temporary insomnia. This equates to difficulty sleeping for three or more nights each week. Another 10 percent of the population have suffered from such problems for three months or more.

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Light, sound, temperature…

While severe insomnia is a healthcare issue, temporary sleeplessness can be blamed on a multitude of causes. For instance, looking at bright digital displays before bed is proven to keep your brain active.

[tweet_box]Many gadgets claim to help you sleep, against these steep odds. But does smart sleeping tech actually work?[/tweet_box]

Some people also have difficulty sleeping when there is too much noise or too little. Even room temperature or the firmness of your mattress can have an effect.

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The plushy Eight smart mattress

Tech to the rescue

There are numerous gadgets that claim to fix these problems. Some of the most popular are smart mattresses. These products combine new materials with embedded sensors to improve your sleep and record the results.

For instance, the Eight smart mattress replaces regular springs with many layers of memory foam. It also has built-in heat pads, which can provide a different temperature on each side of the bed. Meanwhile, the Kloudes mattress topper adds greater comfort to your existing mattress. The airfoam pockets are designed to stay cool, and provide the same kind of support as memory foam.

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Kloudes mattress topper

When light is the issue, a sleeping mask could be the solution. Dreamlight claims to block out all light, meaning you can even sleep during the day. Furthermore, the mask uses light therapy to slow your breathing, ready for sleep.

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Dreamlight sleeping mask

You could also install the Muzo noise-blocking device on any smooth surface to diminish the sound of passing traffic or your noisy neighbors. It works much like noise-cancelling earphones.

If you just struggle to wind down after a stressful day at work, the Scentee Machina diffuser might be able to help. This smart device offers 14 different scents, and it learns your preferences. Using the companion app, you could easily ask for a soothing aroma each night.

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Scentee Machina diffuser

The efficacy debate

While this all sounds good on paper, will any of these gadgets actually help you sleep better? The answer is probably yes — but there are a few conditions attached.

Bedding is probably the best smart sleeping investment you can make. While many high-tech beds are undoubtedly overpriced, being comfortable is a pretty important part of getting to sleep.

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Bedding tech: a wise investment

The effect of other accessories is more debatable. How much better is a $100 smart sleeping mask than a regular $10 one from the drug store? It’s almost impossible to say, given the lack of hard scientific evidence currently available. But if you struggle with sleep, it might be worth giving some of the gadgets a try.

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Mark is best known for writing about apps, but he also loves the tactile, hardware side of technology. Being a professional photographer, he's pretty handy with a camera, and he's a self-confessed tweetaholic.
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