Make Sleep a Priority Chapter 22

Sleep Gadgets and Gear

You need a dark, cool, quiet space in which to sleep. Many tools are available to help you block out light and sound so your body knows it's time to sleep.


Block Out Sound

White noise sleep-aid machines drown out environmental noise. They produce soothing sounds such as music, rain, wind, or ocean waves mixed with white noise. A static sound could prevent you from startling and waking when there is irregular or sudden environmental noise while you are sleeping. Some sleepers even choose soothing music to play quietly while sleeping, while others find that too stimulating. There are also sound effects apps and MP3 files designed to help you sleep. Listen up, and find out if some kind of sound intervention helps you. READ MORE

If static or other sound doesn't drown out the noise in your bedroom, try ear plugs. The simplest ear plugs are made of memory foam. The wearer compresses and inserts them into the ear canal. The plug expands and seals the canal, blocking out sound. Custom ear plugs are more expensive but can be molded to the wearer's ear. If you live in a noisy urban environment, on a busy street, or you have a snoring bed partner, ear plugs may be a big help. Keep in mind that your alarm clock, smoke alarm, carbon dioxide monitor and other alarms should be able to wake you with light, especially if you wear custom-molded earplugs that block out nearly all sound. LESS


Block Out Light

Light cues signal the brain that it's time to be alert. A sleep mask can help block out light for those who sleep during the day, or who have bright lights near their sleeping environment. Make sure to find one that fits comfortably, is not too tight, but still keeps light out around its edges. Those that are fitted with foam rubber or another soft material work without irritating your face.

You can also consider black-out fabric curtains or shades for your room to keep out the light. Remember to open them during the day, as you need the bright-light cues from morning sunlight to keep your sleep and wake cycles on an even keel. READ MORE

A gadget called the Dreamhelmet has proven useful to business travelers, truck drivers and others who must get sleep in unfamiliar environments with a wide array of distractions. The Dreamhelmet fits over the head with an eyemask to block out light and ear pads that block out sound in a single device. It looks like futuristic military gear, but has many devotees! LESS


Ease Into the Day

Many newer model alarm clocks use light, either alone or in combination with an alarm sound, to gently ease you from sleep into consciousness. A light is programmed to go from dim to bright to brightest over a period of minutes, reaching it's greatest intensity when it is time for you to wake up. Alarm clocks that rouse you with a noise that is quiet at first but grows progressively louder are also designed to be a good transition into the new day.

theVisualMD Wishes to Thank our Scientific Collaborators:

The material on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as medical advice. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any medical condition. Consult a licensed medical professional for the diagnosis and treatment of all medical conditions and before starting a new diet or exercise program. If you have a medical emergency, call 911 immediately.