As a mom, a well-rested evening can become a far off dream, eluding even those with the best sleep habits. Between late night feedings, anxiety over your child’s health and sleeping habits, or even a, (ahem) loudly snoring partner, blissfully drifting off to lullaby land is, in a word: difficult. If you are like most of us struggling to establish a healthy sleep schedule, we have good news: technology is on the way to help you sleep better at night and wake up actually well rested. This year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas unveiled innovations in the world of sleep, showcasing everything from smart beds to pregnancy monitoring bands promising that can help desperate parents solve one of motherhood’s biggest challenges: a sound night of sleep.
As an insomniac myself, I’ve tried everything from aromatherapy to guided medication. At this point, nothing really helps me fall asleep more quickly. And once I added a child into the mix, all hopes of sleep went out the window. Life with a new baby is a blur, resulting mostly from the literal lack of sleep you obtain during that phase of life. And now I feel like I can’t rely on sleep aids; what if my kid is screaming at 3 a.m. and I'm too groggy to solve the problem?
This is a parent wide struggle. Gallup reports that the average individual spends up seven hours a night sleeping, while new parents rest substantially less according to Health Daily. Living in a state of sleep deprivation can impact your memory, reasoning, a study in Neurobiology of Learning and Memory found, as well as ultimately causing a lasting deficits on your physical health and wellbeing, as Healthy Sleep explains. So what do you do when you haven’t slept a full night in weeks and your partner starts to snore? Put down the pillow, there is hope in sight.
The Sleep Tech category launched at CES in 2014 and has since grown to feature dozens of products and brands focusing specifically on the science of sleep. Romper has put together a list of the most innovative pieces of sleep technology from this year’s show, walking you through all the tools you need for rest during pregnancy and beyond. Disclaimer: most of these products do come at a pretty penny — fingers crossed more widely accessible sleep tech is on the horizon.
Philips SmartSleep Headband
When a full eight hour of sleep isn’t an option, the next best solution is to ensure the sleep you do get is of the highest quality. Looking like an item direct from your favorite science fiction movie, the Philips SmartSleep wearable headband is built to improve the quality of your sleep through the use of specific sound frequencies, leading you to wake up feeling refreshed.
The headband helps the body move into REM (rapid-eye movement) more quickly and stay there longer. During REM sleep, the body relaxes, which allows you to feel more rested feeling upon wake up. A fully connected device, the headband is paired with a sleep app to monitor your sleep behavior and respond in real time.
Using small reusable sensors, the device detects when your body has naturally reached deep sleep and uses that data as a trigger to begin playing specific audio tones to improve sleep quality. The information is then stored in the SleepMapper App, allowing you to learn from the sleep experience and demonstrate the boost of sleep you experienced.
When sleep is already elusive, trying to rest next to a snoring partner can become an actual nightmare. The Hupnos sleep mask is helping the bedmates of snorers to rest more soundly by gently training its wearer to sleep in a less-snore inducing position. Worn over the eyes, the mask uses an internal accelerometer to gently vibrate until the wearer moves to a new sleep position. If movement does not solve the snoring, the mask increases pressure on the bridge of the nose, helping to open up airways.
Paired with an iPhone application, Hupnos tracks sleeping patterns and helps provided detailed information about which sleep positions are most effective for preventing snoring. Designed using microfiber fabric, the mask itself is both comfortable to wear and machine washable, allowing you to rest easy without sacrificing comfort or healthy skin.
Lenovo Smart Clock
Thanks to research from Harvard Medical School indicating that artificial light in the bedroom can have a negative impact on the body's natural circadian rhythm, more parents are banning screens from the bedroom and reverting back to simpler methods of waking up, i.e. old fashioned alarm clocks.
Enter the Lenovo Smart Clock, powered by Google Home, a clock helping moms develop a bedtime routine that decreases screen time. With sensors to automatically dim lighting, the elimination of light pollution allows parents to sleep more soundly and wake up better rested. Plus, it's compact enough to fit on a bedside table, and the new Smart Clock offers a digital detox device with all the bells and whistles we demand of modern technology. Users can sync dynamically with a calendar to set appropriate alarms and even establish notifications if traffic has bogged down commute time.
As any woman who’s ever monitored her basal body temp knows, sleep is when your core temperature hits its lowest point. Achieving a low core body temperature is key to well resting natural sleep and insomnia sufferers often struggle with abnormal body temperatures, as a study in Sleep Medicine Reviews points out.
French company Moona has been working since March 2016 to take 'chilling like the other side of the pillow' to a whole new level. Using water cooled technology, the Moona Sleep Pad regulates the temperature of your head while sleeping, cooling down to help you achieve better sleep at night and warming slightly to improve wake up experience. The sleep pad slides comfortability into your favorite pillow case and the compact water pump sits bedside while quietly cooling.
Since cell phones, tablets, and televisions have become fixtures in the bedroom, researchers say it’s more important than ever to limit exposure to blue light as time inches closer to bedtime. Constant exposure to digital devices can inhibit the bodies ability to products melatonin, in turn lowering your ability sleep longer and more productively.
If you aren’t quite ready to put a sleep inducing band across your forehead, you might want to start small by limiting the impact of screens in your bedroom. Seraphin is a non-intrusive platform to help foster healthy habits that will allow you to sleep more soundly each night. The Seraphin app provides a digital curfew, personalized to your individual sleep routine. Your cell phone is placed into the Seraphin station where it will stay for the reminder of the night providing a comprehensive digital detox.
When The Terminator series imagined the world past 1997, robots were not our friends. Luckily we’ve made it past Arnold’s trip back to the future, and while our interactions with robots are not quite yet to the level of Rosie from The Jetsons, they are becoming more helpful everyday. The world of robotics is helping keep homes clean, assisting seniors to live independently, and now, helping us all sleep better.
The Somnox Sleep Robot is a first of its kind device that helps you sleep by regulating your breathing and providing sounds and affection that will soothe you. Intended to be held similarly to a body pillow, the Somnox ‘breathes’ by rising and falling, allowing your body to naturally match its rhythm while playing guided meditation, heartbeats, or even lullabies. See below.
The device syncs with a customizable cell phone app, allowing you to select the audio and personalize the breathing rate. Who knew a robot could become your new favorite sleep companion?
Known best for the Smart Sock Baby Monitor, this year the team at Owlet announced their new newest product, the Owlet Band. Worn by expecting mothers while sleeping, the Owlet Band provides research and insight into the health of your pregnancy, all while giving peace of mind to help you sleep better during an already challenging time of life.
Constructed from extremely thin fabric sensors, the band itself is comfortable and lightweight enough for overnight wear. State of the art algorithms monitor fetal health during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy and provide data that can be shared with your medical professional. Using ECG Passive listening, the Owlet Band tracks babies heart rate, contractions, kicks and mom's sleep position throughout the night. The band has already won two CES innovation awards in the categories of Wearable Technology and Tech to Change the World, so you'll definitely want to keep an eye out for this one if you're expecting.