Sleeping In at CES
LAS VEGAS—Getting some quality shut-eye during CES is basically impossible, so it’s ironic that sleep-focused devices were everywhere you looked on the show floor.
These gadgets aren’t just tracking your sleep — although many of them do that, too. Some are designed to help you fall asleep more quickly by calming your brain or making your environment more conducive to rest. Other high-tech sleep aids aim to diagnose health conditions while you’re dreaming the night away.
Here are some of the coolest—and weirdest—sleep gadgets we saw at CES.Credit: Tom's Guide
Somnox looks a little strange. The concept is definitely weird. But this 4-pound robot, which breathes like a baby, is designed to soothe insomniacs who have a hard time shutting their minds down to fall asleep. You don’t lay your head on this pillow-shaped robot. Instead, you spoon it.
I cuddled the Somnox to see how a robot with a heartbeat could possibly be relaxing. It was funny at first, and more than a little weird — after all, I was snuggling with a robot in the middle of a convention center. But it was a sweet feeling, I have to admit — not weird at all, after a while.
Somnox doesn’t just breathe. The robot has a carbon dioxide sensor to measure your respiratory rate, plus an accelerometer and a microphone so it can determine when you fall asleep, then shut off accordingly.
The robot will cost $549 when it ships this September, and it’s available to preorder now.Credit: Tom's Guide
Taking a break in the middle of CES sounded like a great idea, so when I saw a room filled with people napping, I had to check it out. The nappers were using the NuCalm ReNu system, which uses a combination of neuroacoustic software, noise-cancelling headphones, a sleeping mask, two patches placed behind the ears to send microcurrents through your body, and cream rubbed on the inner wrists packed with amino acids to help you relax. It’s quite a setup.
So, of course I tried it. I rubbed the cream on my wrists, applied the patches, placed the sleeping mask over my eyes to block out the bright lights of the convention center, then placed a pair of headphones over my ears. I laid back in what looked like a lawn chair while soothing, meditative music played. The neuroacoustic beats layered beneath the music can supposedly make you feel like you took a 2-hour nap in 20 minutes.
I didn’t quite reach that state, but I did feel my mind calm down — although laying down, blocking out light and sound, and listening to meditative tunes might have done that for me without creams and patches and microcurrents. And when I emerged from my state of rest, I developed a pounding headache.
NuCalm’s ReNu system ships this spring for about $500, and requires a $29-per-month software subscription.Credit: Tom's Guide
Sleep Number 360
A smart mattress may seem a little excessive, but Sleep Number’s intelligent 360 bed is packed with sensors that analyze your sleep. More importantly, you can use that analysis to adjust your bed’s settings, from temperature, to lighting, to the position of your head — or your partner’s. This is probably one of the most comfortable mattresses I’ve ever laid down upon.
Sleep Number has bigger plans for the 360. Google Assistant integration is coming soon, so you can ask Google how you slept last night. Eventually, the company wants to use the bed’s sensors, which can track respiratory and heart rate data, to detect sleep apnea, sense when you have the flu and even alert emergency services if you have a heart attack.
Those features come at a cost, however. The Sleep Number 360 can range from $2,100 all the way up to $5,000, with all the bells and whistles (like a built-in foot-warmer). But for many people, a good night’s sleep is priceless.Credit: Tom's Guide
If you don’t want to shell out thousands of dollars for an endlessly customizable smart mattress, this $150 smart sleeping mask is also designed to improve the quality of your resting hours.
Dreamlight is a soft, padded headband that you wear all night — sort of like wearing a pillow around your head. The mask’s orange lights over your eyelids vary in intensity according to your breathing, and the Dreamlight pipes in mellow music to help you fall asleep. The mask will also wake you up; you can schedule an alarm in its companion app. Dreamlight is definitely comfortable, though I can’t imagine wearing a sizable headband like this to bed every night.
Another fun feature: The mask is also integrated with ancestry research service 23andMe, so if you authorize the app to see your genetic data, you’ll find out how your DNA affects your sleep.
Dreamlight is available to order this month on Indiegogo.Credit: Tom's Guide
Instead of putting intelligence inside a mattress, Nokia is hawking a smart device you slip under your bed. Nokia Sleep looks like a heating pad. You plug it into your wall, slide it under your mattress so that it lays horizontally at chest level, and connect it to your home Wi-Fi. The device then tracks everything, from your movement to your heart rate, so you can see how well-rested you are in the morning.
That’s all pretty basic, but Nokia also made the Sleep a home automation device. Sliding into and out of bed triggers actions you set up in the IFTTT app, such as turning on the lights and adjusting the thermostat.
Nokia Sleep is $99 and will be available to order in the first quarter of the year. Credit: Tom's Guide
Another sleep headband is coming this spring, but you don't have to wear this one all that often. Philips SmartSleep looks like an extremely weird runner’s headband, designed to keep sweat at bay. But this band has two built-in sensors, one over the forehead and one behind the ears, that track brain activity. When the SmartSleep detects that your brain has entered slow-wave sleep, it pumps white noise into your ears to extend the waves and help you feel more rested.
It’s extremely pricey at $400, but Philips says this headband will improve sleep quality over the course of a week or two. And you don’t need to wear it every night. Just slip it on for a few nights during a stressful week to calm your brain and get better rest.
Philips SmartSleep is shipping this spring.Credit: Tom's Guide
Sleepace’s DreamLife system is a lineup of devices that integrate with each other. They don't just track sleep; they also make it easier to fall asleep and wake up.
The system includes the upgraded RestOn: a sensor-packed device you place beneath you while you sleep. Unlike Nokia’s Sleep, the RestOn looks like a belt, and you slip it beneath your top sheet instead of under your mattress. The gadget tracks your heart and respiratory rates to analyze your sleep patterns. Sleepace’s headband is a sleeping mask that lulls you to bed with music, and the company’s new Nox Aroma smart light and diffuser soothes you with both lighting and smell.
You don’t really need every device in the system, but Sleepace is one of the few companies to offer so many sleep gadgets that all work together, in case you want to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks.Credit: Tom's Guide
Imagine a world in which you could block out all noise and fall asleep comfortably anywhere: even a hotel room. That’s what Nightingale offers. It’s a $149 device that looks like a wall outlet, but is actually a sound barrier. Plug it into any standard outlet, connect the device to Wi-Fi and use the Nightingale app to describe your room. Do you have glass walls? Hardwood floors? Carpet? Are you staying in a hospital? After Nightingale learns about your environment, the device shoots white noise up the walls and across the ceiling, creating a blanket. Nightingale says the device helps you fall asleep 40 percent faster than you would without it.
The device is already in use in hotel rooms without anyone even knowing it, a Nightingale representative told me at CES. Hotel guests think their rooms are perfectly silent, when it’s actually the plug-in’s white noise blocking out the world. The travelers don’t hear conversations in the hallways, or traffic outside.
Nightingale is available to buy now, starting at $149.Credit: Tom's Guide
Aromarest is a $150 smart lamp that uses a combination of light, music and scents to lull you to sleep, then wake you in the morning. It’s like an alarm clock that you won’t want to hurl across the room.
The device uses a red wavelength of light to help you produce melatonin and fall asleep more quickly, then uses blue light to wake you up more naturally than your smartphone alarm can. The Aromarest app offers a library of natural sounds to help you fall asleep and wake up, or you can choose your own lullabies and reveilles in iTunes. A dual diffuser kicks on at the same time as the lights and music, so you can fall asleep to lavender and rise up to citrus. Doesn’t that sound lovely?
I got a sneak peek at Aromarest on the CES show floor, but the device won’t start shipping until the second quarter of this year. It’s available to preorder now, though.Credit: Tom's Guide
SleepScore Labs uses its Max device, which you place on your nightstand when you go to bed, to gather data about your sleep. The Max doesn’t play any soothing songs or emit light — it just tracks your breathing and movement.
The Max then analyzes your data to recommend other devices that can help you get better sleep. Those recommendations could include a music-playing pillow, a teeth-grinding analyzer, a snore-reducing device or Nightingale, the wall-based white noise generator (described in detail a few slides back).
Buying all of these gadgets will definitely add up: the SleepScore Max alone costs $150. But if you can’t figure out why you’re so tired all the time, some deep analysis without undergoing an uncomfortable sleep study might be worth it.Credit: Tom's Guide