Somnox 2 ($599): The Somnox 2 (6/10, Wired Review) offers all of the same features as the original, longer battery life, and improved speakers in a more compact package to get you out of trouble. The addition of Bluetooth streaming (currently only available on iOS) to listen to content of your own choice is also welcome, but this gadget is simply too expensive.
Sensation 2 ($299): This strange contraption is like a large vibrating pebble, which you can place on your chest for a brief relaxation (10 to 30 minutes). Manufacturers claim that vibrations can help regulate the vagus nerve, which can improve heart rate variability (or HRV). I’m skeptical, it looks expensive, but the vibrations, channel-controlled breathing and pristine soundscape are very relaxing.
Jabees Serenity Sleeping Mask ($40): While the combination of bluetooth earbuds with a sleep mask is a smart idea, this mask is too bulky for me, and I find the earbuds uncomfortable. Your travel expenses may change. Audio quality is ok, and it’s easy to stream music, podcasts or relaxing sounds to the tiny earbuds. Thick mask effectively blocks light. It’s also relatively cheap for a sleep gadget.
Sleep Phone ($100): If you find earbuds uncomfortable or prefer to sleep on your side, this flannel headband with micro speakers might be the best choice for you. You can connect via Bluetooth to stream your choice of music, podcasts or soothing sounds. The headband is machine washable and hardly any sound escapes to disturb dozing buddies. On the downside, the control unit moves around, the rear sleepers are uncomfortable, there’s no sign of battery life remaining, and the overall quality is on par with the price.
Murphy ($100): The lovely clockwork wooden music box design makes it an ideal bedside device and offers a variety of sounds and meditations. The kids version looks like a super cute wooden radio. Both are expensive, and we didn’t like the Micro USB port for charging or the limited 20-minute sleep time.
Muse S ($280): If you’re having trouble meditating, the Muse S headband can help guide you, it measures your heart rate, breathing, brain activity and movement. But I found it uncomfortable to wear in bed and had a hard time wearing it all night. It helped me relax but not my insomnia.
Embr Wave 2 ($300): This wrist-worn device can help you deal with cold or warm sensations. It is recommended to relieve hot flashes, but is also said to help you sleep better. It’s comfortable, but also chunky, so it’s not suitable for sleeping. We are still testing the effect on sleep quality.