There’s a lot of pricey sleep tech out there, not to mention supplements and products aimed at giving you more “energy” during the day. But most of us, if we’re feeling tired all the time, just need to get our butts to bed.
We're in a golden age of arguably unnecessary health gadgets, including several new entries to the market that aim to optimise our sleep, or at least give us lots of data describing it. We asked a few sleep experts what's useful and what isn't. Here are the features they liked.
If you’re ready for some real talk from a cartoon sheep, Shleep (free on iOS and Android) can help you figure out which sleep habits you’re terrible at, and give you little digestible lessons to help you get better.
The company’s bread and butter seems to be slightly dystopian corporate solutions (sleep is “foundational to peak performance” so you should monitor your employees’ sleep, ick) but the app itself is free and not too intrusive.
When you install it, you’ll fill out a little quiz asking how long you sleep on weekdays and weekends, whether you snooze, whether you feel tired during the day, and whether you use your phone in bed. (The questions get more detailed, but these are the major areas.) Then you get a grade, and you’re assigned a set of little video lessons to explain why and how you should fix one of your bad habits.
You’ll get an assignment no matter how good your score is, by the way. I answered the questions to get a perfect score, and was told I should work on “relaxation”. But I also have the option of viewing other sets of lessons: Weaning myself off of the snooze button, avoiding “sleep debt”, getting electronic devices out of the bedroom.
The app wants to bug you every day, multiple times a day, to ask how your sleep has been and to remind you about those bedtime routines you may have promised you’d do. But the notifications are easy to turn off or tweak, so I won’t fault it too much. If the app helps you actually get to bed on time, you’ll feel better in the long term.