Sleep deprivation has been called an epidemic by experts, who link it to chronic conditions. (It’s enough to keep you up at night.) Enter big sleep: a booming industry churning out hundreds of products to help us not be miserable every morning. We tested every new one we could. Welcome to the sleepiest awards show ever, featuring the beds, trackers, napping centres and hi-tech earplugs that will help you get more z’s, and stop lying awake at night asking . . . Y?!
The Best Device To Pass Out To: Marpac Dohm DS White Noise Machine
If you aren’t up for sleeping with earbuds, this noise-reducing, sleep-inducing machine has been on bedside tables for over 50 years, and there’s good reason for that: it’s the best. Perfect for city slickers and insomniacs disturbed by sounds around them. (R2 455, Buy It Here)
The Best Device To Pass Out To: Bose Noise-Masking Sleepbuds
Better to tell you what these are not: they are not headphones. And they’re not noise-cancelling. Instead, Bose has created a pair of light, Bluetooth-connected buds, built to fit snugly and comfortably into your ear (even with your head on your side) like earplugs. They stream only ten “sleep tracks” – think the hum of an aeroplane cabin, or a babbling brook – that can play for 16 hours on a charge, covering up any disturbances during the night and tucking you in a sonic cocoon of sleep. (R5 500, Buy It Here)
The Best Clothes To Pass Out In: Under Armour Recovery Henley
Powered by Celliant technology (so it’s a US FDA-approved medical device), Under Armour’s Recovery sleepwear uses a bioceramic pattern to bounce infrared energy back to you. That improves blood flow and boosts oxygen – readying you for your next workout, all while you sleep. (R1 397, Buy It Here)
The Best Device To Cool Your Bed: Chili Technology Chilipad Cube
A dual-zone, climate-controlled mattress pad is finally available in SA. It can regulate temperature from 8 to 48 degrees. And don’t worry about fighting over temperature with your partner! This dual mattress has 2 remote controls to regulate 2 separate temperatures. (R27 790, Buy It Here)
The Best Pillow To Pass Out With: Malouf Z Shoulder Cutout Pillow
Guilty of sleeping on your side? These pillows are designed specifically for that, with a shoulder recess that cradles your head while supporting your neck. Plus they come infused with gel or bamboo charcoal, or even different scents like lavender or chamomile. (starting at R999, Buy It Here)
The Best App To Wake You Up: Beditations Meditation Alarm Clock
Tired of waking up to an alarm clock? Aren’t we all. This app might help with that. Beditations are guided meditations that relax you into a quality sleep, and then gently wake you up at your desired time. Considering mindfullness is a big trend this year, we’re all ears. (Free app available for iOS and Android)
The Best Kettle: AppKettle
There’s nothing worse than waking up to a blaring alarm and heading to the kitchen, only to have to wait for your kettle to boil before you can get a caffeine kick. So AppKettle designed a kettle that can be controlled with Wi-Fi, Alexa and their own app. The Takeaway: They’ve thought of everything – like double-sided glass windows, for both right- and left-handed people. Plus, each cuppa can be made to your exact desires, thanks to controls for temperature selection and temperature units. (R2 499, Buy It Here)
The Best Watch: Garmin VivoActive 3 Music
Clocking how many hours of shut-eye you caught in a night used to be the most a smartwatch could deliver with its sleep-tracking technology. But quantifying hours asleep doesn’t mean much if they’re not quality. The Upgrade: The latest update to Garmin’s tracking technology (which you can find on the Vívoactive 3 Music) now monitors REM-, light- and deep-sleep cycles, so you’re presented with a more accurate reading of the rest you’re getting. (R5 999, Buy It Here)
The Best Alarm: JBL Horizon Clock Radio
This isn’t your grandfather’s ancient alarm clock. It’s also a Bluetooth speaker that can play your choice of FM Radio, original digital alarm tones, or music streamed from a Bluetooth device. There’s also LED ambient light to help wake you gently, and the LCD display automatically adjusts brightness to suit room lighting. No more squinting! The X-Factor: You’ll never wake up in a mood because of your partner’s early alarm. Seriously, there are dual independent alarms. Plus, there are two independent USB ports for two devices. (R1 699, Buy It Here)
The Best Anti-Snoozer: LifeSmart Smart Curtain Motor
Guilty of snoozing your alarm and rolling over to enjoy the darkness of your room for just 5 minutes longer? The LifeSmart Smart Curtain Motor can automate the opening and closing of your windows or blinds. Best part? Curtains and blinds can be opened and closed according to brightness, or scheduled to open and close. So you’ll be woken up to the sight of natural light slowly streaming in. What You Won’t Get: The LifeSmart Smart Station, which it requires. But the station is compatible with many other smart products, too. (R2 869, Buy It Here)
Is Naked Sleep The Best Sleep?
There are speculative benefits to sleeping in the buff: increased comfort, quick access for extracurriculars. But scientific proof that ditching your PJs impacts quality of sleep is lacking, according to Matthew Walker, professor of neuroscience and author of Why We Sleep. Still, researchers have delved into how body temp and sleeping outdoors affect sleep quality. Walker says we can learn from hunter-gatherer tribes more exposed to temperature changes. One study found less than 5% of people in these groups faced insomnia at least once a year, compared with other research saying up to 30% of people in industrialised places are chronic insomniacs. The same tribe study found sleep cycles of hunter-gatherers were linked to temperature. They fall asleep when temps start to dip, and wake when it’s coldest. We sleep better when the temperature is between 15° and 20°C. Walker says covering up may make it harder for our bodies to release heat. Losing a layer, or all of them, could help.
The Sleep App Catch-22
Sure, we could use the Calm app and its Bob Ross Sleep Stories to fall asleep. But that’d mean having our phone in bed with us, and one of the reasons we don’t get enough sleep is tech use before bed. Men’s Health Advisory Panel sleep expert Dr. W. Christopher Winter advises skipping the app and leaving the phone out altogether. “Phones should stay in the kitchen or somewhere else.” Instead he recommends a wearable. “If you want to track your sleep, use a device that you can wear on your wrist or set on your bedside table that won’t chirp at 2am, alerting you to the Takealot coupon in your inbox.”
Smell Yourself To Sleep
An ally in getting shut-eye may actually work through your nose. Essential oils could help you sleep, as they soothe the nervous and limbic systems via smell receptors. A diffuser can help get them there. Essential oil diffusers disperse the small molecules in the essential oil through the air so that they can enter your body. You then inhale the air in which the essential oil is diffused. There are different types of oils that may help you sleep. The scent of lavender may improve sleep quality. When chamomile is mixed with other oils, it’s been linked to better sleep for certain ICU patients. Use lemon when you haven’t quite slept off a hangover as the citrus smell is an anti-nausea aid. And finally, use mint in the morning because mildly stimulating mint oil can help you wake up faster.
The Best Diffuser: Scent Works Tranquility Aura Ultrasonic
Try out the The LED light can be set to your preferred brightness or can be turned off entirely. Plus, it has the ability to be set to breathing mode – lighting up gradually and slowly fading down, assisting in meditation or therapeutic breathing. Oils mingle with water, which is misted out over an 8-hour cycle (R1 399, Buy It Here).
*Additional Reporting by Melissa Matthews & Louis Baragona