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  • Lisa Jevens

Gear Wise: Sleep Aids

They say technology is bad for your sleep, but these devices are designed to send you into dreamland more easily and awaken more refreshed. Here are some gadgets that may help you get that quality sleep you crave.

1. Wearable Sleep tracker The Fitbit Alta HR is a slimmer version of the popular fitness tracker, so it’s more comfortable to wear at night. It is billed as “a slim heart rate wristband that tracks activity, sleep and exercise, displays notifications and sends Reminders to Move. ”Among its many capabilities, the Fitbit Alta HR knows when you are sleeping, so you can track that over time. It also has a vibrational alarm you can set. A new feature is Sleep Stages. Using heart rate and motion detection, the Fitbit Alta HR can measure the time spent in each sleep stage and how often you wake up during sleep. Sleep Insights compares your sleep statistics with others your age and gender, and offers tips for improving your sleep. The Fitbit Alta HR comes in several colors and two wrist sizes. It’s sold for $129.95 at and in many retail stores.

2. Sunset-to-sunrise clock Humans were designed to go to bed and wake with the sun. The Somneo Sleep and Wake-Up Light by Philips mimics that in your bedroom, plus a whole lot more. The Somneo has a wind-down function that allows you to sync your breathing with light and/or sound to help you fall asleep. The light simulates sunset by gradually decreasing the light. When it’s time to wake up, the light slowly “dawns.” You can wake up to nature sounds, ambient music or even the radio. The Somneo also functions as a reading light and night light. Available for $199 at

3. Music pillow The Dreampad pillow was originally invented to help children with anxiety relax and fall asleep. Now it’s made for everyone. The pillow is controlled by a smartphone app with 10 music choices. You may also listen to your own music via the pillow. There is no battery power inside the pillow itself, only speakers. They connect to your phone via a cable or Bluetooth. The Dreampad pillow is specially designed so only the user hears the music. The pillow comes in slim, medium, firm and memory foam, all with hypoallergenic fill. The slim size can be placed under your regular pillow and will still work well. Prices range from $129 to $179 at

4. Sleep headphones SleepPhones bill themselves as “pajamas for your ears” and that description fits. The thin, removable speakers are nestled inside a soft, fleecy headband that is designed to stay in place while you sleep. SleepPhones come in either wireless or wired versions, so you can either plug them into your phone or connect via Bluetooth, depending on the model you choose. SleepPhones come in multiple colors and patterns, with a choice of lighter or heavier fabric. The rechargeable battery lasts up to 13 hours. SleepPhones start at $39.95 at

5. Bed heating & cooling system The ChiliPad Cube is a mattress pad with a cooling and heating temperature control system. The ChiliPad Cube regulates the surface temperature of your mattress by actively circulating water through a network of micro tubes in the mattress pad. The pad comes in single and dual zones, so each person can set his or her own temperature simultaneously. The ChiliPad Cube starts at $449 for a single, and a monthly payment plan is available. Visit

Originally published in the Chicago Tribune Prime Time senior living section on May 16, 2018.

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