While all this is common sense, many of us can lay off the caffeine after noon, be bone-tired both mentally and physically, get totally comfy – and then still end up tossing and turning for hours. In some cases people resort to medication, but most types can have some pretty severe side effects. So, what can you do?
Where a viable, affordable technological solution to some lifestyle problem exists, we’re always perfectly happy to feature it here. While there are several approaches to helping people sleep, we like this one; first because it’s designed as an eye mask rather than a free-standing unit. This means that it won’t disturb your partner and is a lot easier to pack when traveling.
Second, instead of being based on questionable science, the technique used was actually developed by NASA and we’re willing to take their word that it works. Astronauts in space certainly have a high-pressure job, and their “day” is only 90 minutes long, so it’s understandable that the space agency funded research into improving sleep.
Essentially, this sleeping mask uses light to soothe you to dreamland and gently wake you up in the morning. In principle, blue light makes us more alert, while reddish hues help us relax. At bedtime, you’re therefore shown a gradually dimming sunset.
Before your chosen wake-up time, your eyes are stimulated with slowly brightening blue light to help you start the day less abruptly. These lights also pulse at different rates to employ the principle of brainwave entrainment, but the science behind this is less clear.
People who have tried this device either love it or hate it – there’s very little middle ground. Some people complain that it’s uncomfortable to wear and fails to wake them up; it’s probably best to set a backup alarm, anyway. Others say that it solved insomnia problems they’d been struggling with for years.
So, if you’re thinking of buying one of these, remember that it’s just a tool, not magic. If you expect perfection, you’ll be disappointed, but if you’ve already tried everything else when it comes to falling asleep, this might turn out to be a lifesaver.