A smart pillow and other sleep innovations
We've all been told that unplugging -- putting our phones away and turning off the television at least 30 minutes before going to bed -- is better for our sleep, productivity and overall health, but many of us are ignoring the recommendation. We aren't just sleeping in our beds; we are also working, eating, checking email and watching television.
Companies have responded by creating innovative products for the bedroom that meet our need for comfort and convenience. Here are some of the top trends and newest products.
The natural mattress
According to Technavio, an international market research company, there is growing demand for mattresses that are toxin-free, such as those made of natural latex.
Canadian-based Essentia makes memory-foam mattresses from natural ingredients such as natural latex, plant-based memory foam and unbleached cotton. The company has several models, with different firmness levels and core components (a queen ranges from $1,345 to $4,367). It also offers mattresses called ProCor targeted to athletes; each mattress is custom-fit to your spine, muscle makeup and weight, but it comes at a hefty price -- a queen is over $6,000.
Zenhaven mattresses are made from natural American Talalay latex (Talalay is the tree that the rubber is harvested from), organic New Zealand wool and organic cotton. The mattresses are hypoallergenic and resistant to mold and dust mites. Another benefit: The Zenhaven offers two firmness options in one mattress: "gentle firm" on one side and "luxury plush" on the other (this is what most people prefer). Just flip the mattress over to decide which you like better. The company also offers a 120-day trial. If you don't like the mattress, someone will pick it up and you'll get a full refund ($1,899 for queen).
The need to adjust
For those who have trouble getting comfortable in bed, the Lineal Adjustable Base from Saatva moves your mattress so you can get into the best position. Like a first-class seat on an airplane, the Lineal has a remote control that allows you to move the head or foot of the bed, or both, to get into the most comfortable position for watching television, reading or sleeping. There is even a massage function that can target your head, feet or full body. The base also has a night light feature: Press a button and subtle lights along the base will help you find your way. The Lineal works with most flexible mattresses and is best suited to more modern decor. The price starts at $1,199.
The next-generation pillows
The ultimate in smart pillows, the Zeeq pillow monitors and reacts to your snoring, analyzes your sleep and plays music. It can even wake you up with a programmable alarm. If you snore loudly enough, the Zeeq gently vibrates, encouraging you to shift to a new position. Bluetooth-enabled speakers are tucked within the pillow's interior foam so that you can listen to music or audiobooks without headphones. The Zeeq also has an accompanying smartphone app that monitors your sleep movements, snoring pattern and sleep duration ($199.99).
For a low-tech pillow option, check out Coco-Mat. A Coco-Mat sleep specialist can help you choose the right pillow based on your body type, weight, preferred sleeping position, breathing habits and injuries. The elasticity or support level of the pillow can be customized with options such as flakes of natural rubber, insulating wool and breathable down. Herbs such as eucalyptus (beneficial for breathing) or lavender (for relaxation) can also be added to the inside of your pillow. Pillows start at $73.
The need to stay charged
IKEA's wireless Selje nightstand ($59.99) has a built-in wireless charging pad to power your smartphone. If your phone does not have wireless-charging capabilities, you will need a wireless-charging phone case, but once you have one, just place your phone on the pad and charging begins. Similarly, you can charge your smartphone wirelessly with IKEA's Riggad task lamp ($69.99). It has a USB port, too, so you can charge a second device. The lamp's adjustable arm allows you to easily direct the light where you want it, and the LED light source consumes up to 85 percent less energy and lasts 20 times as long as incandescent bulbs.
The Nightingale Sleep System (from $149 at Brookstone) was developed by acoustic experts to surround your bedroom with customized ambient sounds called "sound blankets." Unlike single-unit sound machines, the Nightingale features two units that act like a pair of stereo speakers, filling your room more uniformly and masking disruptive noises. Choose from 15 sounds that you control through your smartphone, tablet, PC or voice assistant. Each Nightingale pair provides sound coverage for one bedroom, and because the units just plug into outlets, the system is easy to take with you when you travel.
Have a hard time waking up? Philips's Wake-up Light ($169.99) is inspired by nature's sunrise; light gradually increases over 30 minutes until your room is filled with bright yellow light. This process of increasing light gradually stimulates your body to wake up naturally as opposed to abruptly waking up to a traditional sound alarm.