By Ingrid Schmidt
8:00 AM EDT, July 20, 2013
Lack of sleep, researchers say, can cause driving hazards, depression, poor work performance, a hazy memory, a lackluster sex life, an increased risk of obesity, disease and more — as if those were not enough.
The American Academy of Sleep Medicine reports that 10% to 15% of adults have "an insomnia disorder with distress or daytime impairment." Is that all? Those figures seem low based on how often you hear people say they don't get enough sleep.
So what better time than now to catch up on our collective sleep deficit? Recent reports about the next-day side effects of sleeping pills, particularly in women, had us searching for non-prescription alternatives. Here are some of the latest gadgets, elixirs and sleep accessories designed to help you safely get to sleep faster and wake up feeling more refreshed.
Bedding company Sheex was founded last year by two basketball coaches who realized that breathable, athletic-inspired tech fabrics could, um, perform just as well in bed. By regulating body temperature and wicking moisture, Sheex says, the silky-smooth fabric promotes better sleep. Earlier this year, the brand introduced its first colored sheets and, a few months ago, a line of sleepwear that features the same performance fabric in styles for men and women, including lounge pants, sleep dresses, tees and hoodies, from $24. Queen sheet set, with pillowcases, cost $199. sheex.com
Westlake Village boutique Beautyhabit carries hard-to-find beauty products from around the globe, including a selection of aromatherapeutic potions that target sleep. British-based line This Works, available at only two other stores in the United States, offers a collection of natural Deep Sleep products. The preservative-free, essential oil blends are concentrated and include a bath soak, shower gel, pillow spray, spray-on body oil and portable rollerball, from $18.50. Beautyhabit, 766 Lakefield Road, Suite A, Westlake Village, (818) 707-2555 or beautyhabit.com.
There are soothing sounds galore, including rain, waves, crickets, wind chimes and bird chirps, but sometimes white noise can be the most uncomplicated and relaxing. Launched last month, the S-100 White Noise Machine by Sound Oasis offers 10 white noise tones in a compact, portable design that also doubles as a speaker, should you wish to play sleep-inducing music with your mobile device. $59.99 at sound-oasis.com
Sleep Studio is a new online boutique and one-stop shop for insomniacs with good taste. The goods include luxurious sleepwear, sleep-oriented books and bedside accessories. The company also has its own line, including comforters, pillows and bedding, plus teas and Parisian-made candles designed to help realign the body's circadian cycle. For example, the Dream candle is infused with myrrh, which is purported to calm the nervous system. A free app on iTunes called Sleep Studio+ includes breathing exercises, bedtime stories, a soothing alarm and ambient video screens. The company opened its first bricks-and-mortar store in New York City's SoHo neighborhood on Monday. sleepstudio.com
Regulating the body's biological sleep clock, or circadian rhythm, with light and sound can help restore sleeping and waking patterns. The Rise & Shine Natural Alarm Clock and Sleep System by Verilux is the most recent addition to the company's Serenity Series, a line introduced 10 years ago. Using gradually dimming and brightening light that simulates sunset and sunrise, this gizmo aims to peacefully lull users in and out of sleep. Choose white light or 250 hues of colored light in 15 brightness levels. $99.95 at verilux.com.
Sleep-tracking devices seem to be multiplying. Though the jury is out as to how accurate they are, it may be irrelevant, to some degree, if they help us focus on what we need: a better night's sleep. Yves Behar's sleek, bracelet-like design for UP by Jawbone is one that we don't mind wearing around the clock, and it monitors light sleep, deep sleep and how often you wake up. On April 30, the company launched a new platform with 10 integrated apps, including Sleepio, a British-based online clinical sleep improvement program that uses cognitive behavioral therapy, such as progressive relaxation and thought blocking, based on your personal sleep patterns. UP by Jawbone in eight colors, $129 at jawbone.com, Sleepio app free for one week with UP; then $10 a week. sleepio.com
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