HEALTH

Can’t Sleep? We Review These 4 Sleep Aids To See If They Work

  • Bose Noise-Masking Sleepbuds
    1 / 6 Bose Noise-Masking Sleepbuds

    Some mornings you jump out of bed, raring to go when that alarm goes off. Other mornings? You feel like death dragging yourself to work, much less a morning workout. Sometimes, it’s because what you’re putting on your plate may actually mess with your sleep cycle. As an example, having tomato-based pasta sauce is actually a bad idea- it can cause heartburn for guys with acid reflux, and also contains the amino acid tyramine, triggering your brain to release norepinephrine, a stimulant that boosts brain activity and inhibits sleep.

    But what if you’ve tried every health tip and sleep still eludes you? Here’s a few products that promise to help that we tried and tested over several nights.

    We start with Bose’s Noise-Masking Sleepbuds.

    What They Promise: “They look like tiny headphones, using pre-loaded, soothing masking sounds to cover up unwanted night-time noises so you can get to sleep and stay asleep.”

    Some background here- what is noise-masking? Essentially, using signal-processing tech, noise and sound masking systems emit a soft-inconspicuous background sound that makes undesirable noises and distractions less audible. An example- your spouses snoring; cats making out in the void deck; mahjong players in the hall.

    To clarify, this isn’t noise-cancelling- these don’t use the noise-cancelling tech that you see in headphones in the marketplace. There’s no microphone tracking the audio around you, and you can’t play music on these. Instead, these are really like earplugs that play low-level sound to train your brain not to get distracted. Basically, like the white noise apps that were popular some time back, only in earbud form. There’s a variety of what Bose calls “soothing sounds”, with 10 divided into those for noise masking and for relaxation.

    Did They Work: First things first- don’t set them up right before you want to go to bed. It takes some time to download the Bose Sleep App, and you’ll have to swipe past the usual signups and multiple “how to use” slides, and then fit them with different rubber tips to get them staying on your ears. That whole process might irritate you so much you won’t be in the mood to sleep. The good thing is- the Sleepbud’s wingtips are really soft and pretty comfortable so sleeping on them won’t hurt.

    The downside? They didn’t really work. Firstly, the sound quality of the white noise didn’t seem that high, and the pitch abit high. The trouble with that is that’s the kind of thing that’s likely to make us fixate on, like fingernails on chalkboard. Some nights we did get better sleep wearing them, and others poor… which basically was our normal sleep pattern anyway. One thing they seemed good for though- reading on the MRT. If you’re like us and find the roar of the train and fellow commuters distracting from your daily read, pop these on and you’ll breeze through your chapters with ease. Fingers crossed, maybe you might even fall asleep, even if we didn’t.

    Rating: 2.5/5

    $379, available at authorized Bose dealers

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  • Hennsley Premium Series Mattress
    2 / 6 Hennsley Premium Series Mattress

    What They Promise: “Exclusively designed for correct support and superior comfort, Hennsley™ 7-Zone Pocketed Innerspring System, provides you the perfect balance of comfort and support, as it’s designed by our body shapes and contours. With each part of your body fitting nicely into the correct zones, the result is a more consistent and even body support. “

    Sleeping with a partner is challenging even in the best of times. No, we’re not talking about whether she wants to cuddle, and how you can do the patented F.R.I.E.N.D.S Ross “hug and roll” move (go YouTube this if you haven’t learnt it- it really works). Sometimes she wants to read, while you want to crash early to wake up for that early 4am Champions Leagues. Other times, she’s fast asleep while you slip in from a late-night with the boys. In both instances, your both bound to wake or disrupt each others sleep. And let’s not even start if you’ve got kids, of course.

    But that’s the plus with good mattresses with an inner spring system- they’re less likely to wake the other half or have you get woken as the structure means the whole mattress doesn’t flex and shift just because one side has movement.

    And it’s not just for the couples- for single blokes, good innerspring systems mean that your neck, back and hips are contoured perfectly during rest, which means less shoulder and back pains when you wake, even if you’re the type that moves a lot in your sleep.

    Did This Work: Before we even tried out the mattress Hennsley’s head honcho Marcus Goh actually gave a real in-depth analysis of what kind of mattress would suit each kinda guy- are you skinny or heavyset etc?

    This is because the head and feet of their mattresses have softer springs to keep both appendages higher up compared to your body, which is supported by firmer springs. In addition, factors like back, knee or shoulder injuries (which unfortunately, we did suffer from) also play a factor into determining which mattress would relieve, rather than aggravate, the pre-existing injuries. After about an hour of lying around, we ended up trying out their premium series mattress, and waited for about a month for it to arrive.

    30 days later, it was bedtime and the acid test- we took Hennsley’s Eremurus model out for a spin. Some background- it’s under their new Ergopeutic series, with the mattress divided into seven sections- head, neck, shoulder, back, hips, legs nad feet, which is to help provide the correct support for our body shape and contour. It’s also got a Belgium-imported therapeutic top panel fabric, which keeps you cool and dry through effective evaporation of body moisture, as well as reduce body stress by reducing body voltage/static during sleep.

    The first few nights we actually slept far more poorer- apparently it does take some time for your body to get used to sleeping on another mattress- but the subsequent week after we woke up far more rested, and our stiff neck ached a lot less in the mornings as well.

    The best thing about the mattress- it seemed to work really well for us side-sleepers and bolster huggers. Our hips didn’t sink too deep into the mattress, which alleviated any backaches, and also made for good lying down during long Netflix phone sessions. If you’re hunting for value for money, we were also pretty impressed by their full ten-year warranty- most brands only offer a ten year limited warranty which means if the springs go kaput in the third year you’ll still need to pay, but theirs covers the inner springs for the full decade… which comes in really handy if you’ve got a boisterous six-year old who likes to jump on the bed!

    Rating: 4/5

    For more info ,head to www.hennsley.com

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  • Lush Sleepy Body Lotion
    3 / 6 Lush Sleepy Body Lotion

    What They Promise: “You’ll sleep well after dipping into this dreamy lotion, made with a gentle oatmeal infusion, calming lavender flower and comfortingly sweet tonka absolute.”

    If you haven’t heard of this brand or product before, I don’t blame you- it’s really more of a favorite for the ladies. Creators of pioneering beauty products such as the fizzing bath bomb, shower jellies and solid shampoo bars, Lush places emphasis on fresh ingredients like organic fruits and vegetables. Yep, basically products that your other half buys that smells of rainbows and cream. So why would we try this product in our quest for better sleep? Because apparently, according to the Internet, our womenfolk have been hiding this secret sleep panacea from us.

    Fashionista.com calls it “sweet dreams in a jar”; a review on Bustle.com claims “it’s the only lotion that’s ever put them to sleep”, and various videos on YouTube with titles like “Insomniacs Try Lush’s Sleepy Body Lotion” all scream the same thing- Lush isn’t messing around when they called this “Sleepy”. So yes, we had to try this to see if the Internet was capable of giving good advice from time to time.

    Did This Work: So, we couldn’t bring ourselves to walk into Lush… which meant we got the missus to pick up a bottle when she was shopping for herself instead. She gave us a weird look when handing it over, quipping: “I hope you’re not going to start using my cosmetics next?” We ignored her and left the bottle by the bedstand to apply before sleep. Only to forget about it. For a day. Then two. Until a full week later. See, the trouble for blokey guys is grooming regimes are usually done in the shower- sure, we’ll use facial washes and scrubs, but once done, that’s as far as the primping and preening goes… except for the hair, of course. That pompadour isn’t going to style itself.

    So finally we’re in bed with Lush Sleepy Lotion in hand, and after some googling on how to use it, we unscrew the top, and a bouquet of sweetness hits our nostrils. There’s no getting away from it- it’s EVERYWHERE. Somehow even capping the top back doesn’t seem to stop the scent from permeating the room. It’s not that terrible, mind- in fact, it smelt like a dessert cake- but subtle, it is not.

    We unscrew the top and give it another go- the directions say to put some on our upper back, neck and shoulders right before bed. Its consistency feels like smearing syrupy sunscreen all over, and after rubbing it all in our skin does feel more supple and moisturized. But that’s not why we bought this for, so after turning off the lights we close our eyes and wait to see how long it takes to fall asleep.

    Minutes pass. More minutes pass. It must be half an hour by now. Why are we still awake? We lean over to the bedstand and check our phone- the light blazes our corneas back to wakefulness, by the way- it’s only been five minutes since we got into bed. But why can’t we fall asleep? Suddenly, the reason hits us- because we’re hungry. Because Lush’s Sleepy Lotion smells too damn good. We turn on the light, look through the list of ingredients: almond oil, oatmeal infusion, limonene… and suddenly remember there’s a piece of leftover carrot cake in the fridge from a recent birthday party.

    This clearly isn’t working, so we get up, wash off the lush Sleepy Lotion, and head to the kitchen to finish said carrot cake. Then we go to bed, and have one of the best sleeps we’ve ever had.

    So, does Lush Sleepy Lotion work? We don’t know. But it’s really, really bad for our diet, that’s for sure. And that, my friends, feels even more insidious than bad sleep.

    Rating: 1/5

    $47, for more information head to www.sg.lush.com/products/sleepy

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  • Brooklinen Luxury Bedding
    4 / 6 Brooklinen Luxury Bedding

    What They Promise: “Quality is the most important thing. The products just need to be awesome. Second, we wanted to manufacture responsibly with top quality materials. And finally, try our best to offer products at accessible prices.“

    So, you’ve probably seen their ads pop up everywhere, especially when you start Googling for good sheets to buy- Brooklinen clearly spends a lot of advertising. And they are cheap, to be honest- offering decent thread count at reasonable prices… without you needing to go to IKEA, which, lets face it, doesn’t exactly scream “you’ve made it”. What exactly is their USP? The secret: Brooklinen uses long-staple cotton fibers for its sheets—which reduces itchiness and pilling—and less-dense yarns. What you get is a lighter, crisper, and more comfortable bedspread at a 270 thread count than lesser-quality fibers at a higher count.

    Did This Work: Well, yes, and no. Were the sheets comfortable? Yes, sliding into bed brought a cheesy smile on our faces- the material feels very comfortable. But here’s the weird thing though- as the night went on we started feeling warm under the comforter, which led us to do the whole “pull on, pull off” thing throughout the night. And it also doesn’t help that the Brooklinen sizing isn’t exactly the same as the local pillows, beds and sheets, so you’ve really got to read the dimensions right on their website and make sure you don’t get the wrong size. If you’re like us with abit of a night sweat, perhaps Brooklinen isn’t for you- get bamboo viscose sheets instead- they’re more absorbent than cotton, say Turkish scientists. Or if you suffer from allergies, you’re going to need to splash out on sheets with a thread count of 1,000 or more to keep the allergens out. But to be fair- still better than IKEA!

    For more info head to www.brooklinen.com

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  • And The Cheapest Option?
    5 / 6 And The Cheapest Option?

    Sleep naked. No, really, we’re not kidding. Firstly, it’s to do with body heat. One study found that sleep cycles of hunter-gatherer tribes in Africa were linked to temperature: they fall asleep when temps start to dip and wake up when temperatures are at their coldest. Matthew Walker, author of Why We Sleep and a professor of neuroscience at UC Berkeley, says this suggests that covering up may make it harder for our bodies to release heat. Additional research also suggests that cooler temperatures are advantageous to quality sleep, with one study from Science Advances suggesting that people get worse sleep as temperatures increase. Redditor lurking_for_sure agrees, writing: “I’m like a sleeping furnace so at the most I wear a pair of boxers. Nude sleeping > Any other bullshit way of sleeping.”

    And it could also help you lose weight: A study published in 2014 found that men who slept in cooler rooms produced more brown fat, which is a healthy fat that burns calories to generate body heat, compared to when they slept in warmer temperatures, Men’s Health previously reported. According to study co-author Francesco S. Celi, M.D., lowering body temperature lower by sleeping naked may mimic the same effect.

    And on top of that, it could help with your sex life! There’s tons of evidence that skin-to-skin contact creates a boost in oxytocin, the bonding hormone, which contributes to increased feelings of intimacy and bonding. While most of this research focuses on mothers and infants, it follows that skin-to-skin contact could help boost feelings of intimacy between you and your partner as well.

    Of course, there are obvious advantages for your sex life, too. “I like sleeping naked with company because it makes spontaneous sex more convenient,” Reddit user wynyx writes. And if you’re a briefs guy, take note- sleeping naked can also boost your sperm health. According to one 2015 study, men who wore boxers and slept naked had less DNA fragmentation in their sperm (i.e., higher-quality sperm) than men who wore tighty-whities both during the day and to bed. Researchers speculate that this may have something to do with lower room temperatures keeping the testes nice and cool.

    At the very least, going commando in bed can also reduce risk of infections. After all, Bacteria loves warm, moist environments like your underwear. Urologist Brian Steixner, M.D., based in Atlantic City, N.J., previously told Men’s Health that sleeping in underwear increases your chances of getting a bacterial infection. Give your nether regions a breather while you sleep to keep your genitals cleaner, drier, and healthier.

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  • Bonus Bedside Buddies
    6 / 6 Bonus Bedside Buddies

    Here’s a few other useful trinkets we found on the internet that’s great for sleep.

    Moonbeam Alarm Clock with USB Port

    Proof positive that something doesn’t have to look techy to do the job, L. L. Bean’s classic mid-century clock (the first iteration was introduced in 1952) uses a brightening LED light to rustle you awake and has a USB outlet—in case you really need the phone beside you. www.llbean.com

    Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed

    The Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed tracks your slumber and sends data back to an app, then adjusts the bed’s air chambers around your body. It also has a temperature-balancing layer that soaks up extra heat, a welcome feature for guys who run hot. www.sleepnumber.com

    Athlete Recovery Ultra Comfort Sleepwear

    Powered by Celliant technology (which makes it an FDA medical device), Under Armour’s Recovery sleepwear uses a bioceramic pattern to bounce infrared energy back to you. That improves blood flow and boosts oxygen, readying you for your next workout. www.underarmour.com

    Lounge Short

    Go minimal and go comfortable. These Tommy John Second Skin shorts give you serious underwear innovation (extra-soft tri-blend fabric, contour crotch for movement, and pockets) worked into a pair of drawstring shorts built for rest. www.tommyjohn.com

    Ostrich Pillow

    The Ostrich Pillow is sleep mask, neck pillow, and earplugs all in one. Pull it over your head for the benefit of not seeing yourself in it. www.ostrichpillow.com

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