Here are some statistics on sleep for you: according to the UK Sleep Council, nearly half of us are getting just six hours sleep or less a night, and four out of five people think they aren't getting enough. That's alarming considering how important sleep is to our overall health.
As well as affecting our energy levels throughout the day, a lack of sleep has been linked to problems with obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular health. If you want to get your sleeping habits back on track, here are some of the latest tech innovations that can help.
Most fitness trackers on the market today monitor your sleep - or at least try to - so we're not going to pick out a particular model here (see our recent round-up for a more in-depth guide). From slimline wristbands from the likes of Jawbone and Fitbit, to fully fledged smartwatches such as the Apple Watch and the Withings Activité, there's plenty of choice. Each tracker comes with an app that logs your deep sleep and light sleep, enabling you to see where you can improve and adjust the factors that make a difference (like setting your alarm for period of light sleep).
The Withings Aura is a comprehensive sleep system that combines app, light and mattress monitor to ensure you wake up every morning feeling ready to face the day. The lamp is actually a smart alarm clock: it combines a gradually brightening light (designed to simulate a sunrise) with some customised audio (Spotify is supported) to get you up at the right time. It works in reverse too, to send you nicely off to sleep, and the optional mattress monitor can tell you how good or otherwise your sleep was. Meanwhile the phone app can monitor ambient temperature and noise. [£149.95, Withings]
Beddit Sleep Tracker
"Our mission is to offer the leading sleep monitoring solution for both consumers and professionals," say the Beddit team and this monitor is more advanced than most: it straps to your mattress and gives you a score for the quality of your sleep based on movement, respiration, how long you take to nod off and so on. Combine the sensor with the smartphone app for Android or iOS and you can view your statistics over time and make the required changes to improve your sleep - the app will suggest tips for sport, exercise, stress, weight management and so on. [€149.00 (£115), Beddit]
Sense Sleep Tracker
The result of a successful Kickstarter back in 2014, Sense's purpose in life is to tell you as much as it possibly can about the environment that you sleep in: that means temperature, humidity, air quality, light, sound and more. Combine that with the tracker that clips to the side of your pillow and you've got a very comprehensive picture of the quality of your sleep each night - the smartphone app provides a detailed breakdown of these scores over time and the Insights tool gives you advice about how to make improvements. There's an intelligent smart alarm feature too. [$129 (£90), Sense]
For some time Philips has been one of the firms leading the way in smart lighting solutions, and of course light plays a particularly important role in your sleep patterns (as some of the gadgets we've already mentioned demonstrate). There are all kinds of Hue bulbs available so you can create your own customised sleep environment, but the Philips Hue Go is one of the best choices if you want to improve the quality of your time in bed: combined with the smart alarm app, you can have it slowly get brighter and brighter in the mornings and fill your room with natural light. [£79.99, Philips]
This smart mattress cover from Eight (previously known as Luna) monitors all kinds of data while you sleep, assessing the environment to set the warmth of your bed - you can hook it up to smart thermostats such as Nest and there's an auto shut-off feature to ensure you're always safe. The cover also analyses information about the quality of your sleep so it can adjust the temperature accordingly and make sure you get some quality shut-eye. Incidentally, the name was chosen because eight is the recommended number of hours of sleep you should get each night. [$249 (£175), Eight]
The Sleep Genius products start with apps for iOS and Android and extend to wearables, speakers and more, so you can invest as little or as much into the idea as you like. Developed with the help of experts in neuroscience, sleep, sound and music, the apps (and everything that goes with them) use sounds and music to get your brain into the best sleep possible as quickly as possible. The app includes smart, sleep-synced alarms, relaxation programmes, personalised sleep reporting, power nap modes and more besides, all geared to get you the best possible sleep. [Free and above, Sleep Genius]
- Can fitness trackers really monitor your sleep?