Sleep Doesn't Stop Tech Use
Just because you have to sleep at night doesn't mean you have to stop using technology. Plenty of gadgets will help you sleep, wake up, and have (good, clean) fun in your bedroom.
Here's a selection of apps, alarm clocks, night-lights, and gadgets to help you sleep soundly and wake up refreshed.
Sleep Cycle App
If you have the leisure to wake up within a fairly large window of time (of about 30 minutes), why not wake up when your body is at its readiest? Sleep Cycle ($1) is an iPhone app that analyzes your sleep patterns--by using the accelerometer in your iPhone to monitor your movements--and then rouses you when you're in a lighter sleep phase.
Sound Oasis Sleep Therapy Pillow
Whether you like to drift off to sleep while listening to the sounds of the ocean, or just jam to your tunes without lifting your head from your pillow, the Sound Oasis Sleep Therapy Pillow ($50) is for you. This fiberfill pillow features two thin, removable speakers situated "deep within the pillow," in-line volume control, and a 3.5mm plug that fits into a standard audio jack.
Stand Up to Wake Up Alarm Clock
The Stand Up to Wake Up concept alarm clock will definitely get you out of bed--because you have to stand on it to shut it off. Designed by Sofie Collin and Gustav Lanberg, the device is a floor mat with an LCD clock in the middle--simple, but effective.
Chillow Pillow Cooler
You know how awesome the cool side of the pillow feels? What if your pillow were always cool? That's the promise of the Chillow ($25 at Drugstore.com), a thin, nonelectric thermo-regulating device designed to keep your pillow cool. The Chillow works like a car radiator, using water to absorb and dissipate heat into the surrounding air.
Philips Wake-Up Light
Another way to wake up "naturally" is by using sunlight--or in this case, simulated sunlight. The Philips Wake-Up Light HF3485 ($146 at Amazon.com) is a bedside light/alarm clock that gradually brightens like a simulated sunrise. This model has a USB port, too, so you can wake up to your own music (it also has an FM radio and four "natural wake-up sounds").
Zeo Sleep Monitor
The Zeo Sleep Manager ($99) is a high-tech version of Sleep Cycle--it's a mobile app (Android- and iOS-compatible) and sensor headband combination that tracks your sleep. The Zeo Sleep Manager features TruTrack sleep tracking, a SmartWake alarm that will supposedly wake you at the optimal point in your sleep cycle, and tools for analyzing your sleep patterns.
Ring! Alarm Clock
The Ring concept alarm clock is perfect for couples who value their sleep but have to wake up at different times. Instead of ringing, this alarm clock (designed by Meng Fandi) concept relies on two vibrating rings. Slip a ring on your finger, set your alarm, and the vibrations will (hopefully) wake you up without waking up your partner.
Nighmo is a concept smart nightlight that uses motion detection to turn itself on when you need it. The company describes the nightlight a "cute pet made of rubber," but it looks more like a strange globule with lights in its tips. Still, it's a very modern piece. The Nighmo nightlight is currently unavailable.
Here's a less creepy, currently available nightlight: the Glo Nightlight with Glowing Balls ($80, ThinkGeek). The Glo Nightlight has three stems, each of which holds a glowing ball. You can remove the balls can and placed wherever you want (say, in different corners of the room if your child is afraid of the dark), and they will continue glowing for about 30 minutes.
Pillow Talk Pillows
Pillow Talk is a concept pillow for long-distance lovers. Pillow Talk, designed and developed by Joanna Montgomery, is a set of two wirelessly-connected pillows. When one person puts their head on their pillow, the other pillow glows to indicate their presence. Then the first pillow transmits the real-time heartbeat of its user to the other pillow, connecting the two.
Shape Up Alarm Clock
Here's an alarm clock that will wake you up and keep you in shape. The Shape Up Alarm Clock ($20 at Lightinthebox.com) won't turn off until you've pumped out 30 reps (okay, until you've lifted the thing 30 times).
Dreamate Sleep Aid
Sony Spycam Alarm Clock
This alarm clock looks a typical roadside motel room radio alarm clock--but it contains a hidden spycam with 16GB of internal memory. The Sony Alarm Clock and Radio Hidden HD Spy Camera ($330) records at 1280-by-720-pixel resolution in MPEG4 format, and features scheduled recording, and time and date stamps.
Jawbone Up Sleep Monitor
Here's a sleep tracker in the form of a bracelet from Jawbone, a company better known for its fancy Bluetooth headsets. The Jawbone Up ($100) tracks your movement, wakes you up at the optimal point in your sleep cycle, and communicates with your iPhone (via a special app). The Up is currently unavailable, due to some hardware issues that users discovered earlier this winter.
Eye Slack Haruka Under-Eye Massager
Ah, Japan. Land of...really weird and sometimes useless technology. Here's the latest--the Eye Slack Haruka ($144, shipping included, from Japan Trend Shop), an electronic device that promises to "improve the excess of sagging skin around your eyes." The weird contraption sends vibrations and heat through the skin under your eyes to (hopefully) get rid of those bags.
F.lux Screen Dimmer
Thanks to screens (cellphones, laptops, TVs, and so on), our circadian rhythms--which are based on light--are totally screwed up. F.lux is a free app for Windows, Linux, Mac, and iOS (if your iOS device is jailbroken) that adjusts the color of your screen to reflect the time of day. This way your screen will look cooler (bluer, more like sunlight) during the day, and warmer (less like sunlight) during the evening/night.
Clocky Robotic Alarm Clock
Here's yet another alarm clock that makes you work for your sleep: Clocky ($50 at ThinkGeek) is a cute little alarm clock that jumps off your bedside table when the alarm goes off. No really--it actually leaps off the table and starts rolling around the room, forcing you to wake up and find it in order to shut the alarm off.
Willcom Mobile Pillow
You probably know what it's like to stay up really late talking on the phone (okay, maybe you knew what it was like). Well, Japanese company Willcom feels your pain--which is why they're bringing you the Hanishicom Pillow phone. This star-shaped pillow comes in six different colors, and plugs into your phone. Willcom is currently giving out the pillow phones free to new customers who subscribe to its Personal Handy Phone system in Japan.
Pzizz Sleep App
Pzizz ($6 from the Apple App Store) is a sleep aid app that plays soothing sounds to help you drift off. Unlike other sleep aids, Pzizz creates new soundtracks each time you use the app, so you "don't get bored" by hearing the same soothing sounds (though if you did get bored, you might fall asleep--which is the whole point, after all). The app is also available on Android ($5 from the Android Market).
Dictionary Desk Pillow
Okay, so this is technically not bedside tech, but it is for sleeping nerds. The Dictionary Desk Pillow ($77 at Japan Trend Shop) is just what it sounds like--a desk pillow shaped like a dictionary. It would be nice if there were some words on the inside though, just in case your boss comes by while you're using the thing.