I think it's safe to say
that I wouldn't want to share my bedroom with *any* of these gadgets.
Perhaps I'm just an old Luddite?
Reg Hardware Gizmo Week logo small Sleep deprivation: a tactic for special ops assignments and a gift of nature to parents with newborns. Either way, not enough kip can feel like torture and likewise failing to get a chance to unwind of an evening will take its toll. Given current property prices, the bedroom often doubles …
No, not ludditeism here, just the acknowledgement that this is by some magnitude of order, the most pointless collection of shit the reg has ever assembled for a review.
2 tvs, wristwatches, radios, nite-lights and a collection of pointless alarm clocks.
Slow day guys???
> the most pointless collection of shit the reg has ever assembled
Though I must give some grudging acknowledgement that el Reg is now prepared to publish criticism of itself, rather than just quietly dropping it in the moderation process.
Coming shortly - an article listing the 10 most pointless Reg articles ever.
No.. with you 100%... why would anyone possibly want to strap something to their head at night? How can that be comfortable? And how exactly do you control your sleep, when you're quite obviously asleep? Surely the first step would to remove the stupid headband, that would improve your sleep immediately.
That head-band thingy may be useful for someone with a medical condition such as epilepsy. Gathering data about their actual sleep so that it can be cross-referenced against their seizures in not pointless.
But perhaps the device belongs in an ElReg Top Ten Medical Gadgets article.
"But perhaps the device belongs in an ElReg Top Ten Medical Gadgets article"
That would actually be really cool! As someone who lived with a person who used loads of such gadgets I'd appreciate it!
Please El Reg masters do this, I want to know what the best sleep-apnea CPAP machine is and which bed-wetting alarm has the best iPhone app integration! I want to be told which stair-lift gets the thumps up (all the way to the second floor!) and which blood pressure monitor sets your heart racing!
How else is some marketing wanker going to justify his/her existence if they cannot flog pointless expensive tat to the credulous middle classes?
Just be thankful that one of this ilk has not yet tried to "re-brand" (i.e. new name, couple of paragraphs of snake oil pseudo-science and triple the price) the "gadgets" that make sleep restful and pleasurable: quality pillow, mattress, duvet and sheets.
You are obviously one of those lucky bastards who is actually able to get to sleep when they want to.
Personally I have immense sleep problems... I suffer from Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, which means when most peoples bodies start producing melatonin, and their body temperatures start to drop at about 10-11pm, mine doesn't do that until about 3am. Which considering I have to be up at 6 is fucking torture.
Things like daylight alarms help a great deal... I can't speak for some of the other gadgets listed here, but just because YOU have no problem going to sleep, and waking up when you need to, doesn't mean everyone is in the same boat.
"You are obviously one of those lucky bastards who is actually able to get to sleep when they want to."
Correct. Also, I only need about four hours sleep per night ... But I do better on three hours/night if I know I can manage a one hour siesta after my mid-day meal. Is melatonin available in your country, either over-the-counter or by prescription? Try it, you might like it.
Failing that, might I suggest a career change? Making artisan pasta, bread, cheese or salumi probably pays better than you are drawing now ... and on your own schedule. The tooling to gear up for home production isn't all that expensive, either. I was pulling down ~US$1000/week making all four when I was working on my PhD at MIT ... over a quarter century ago. Out of a two bedroom apartment.
I don't think Melatonin is available in the UK - Not legally anyway - Might be wrong, but I've never seen it in Boots / Superdrug / Holland and Barratts.
"Failing that, might I suggest a career change? Making artisan pasta, bread, cheese or salumi probably pays better than you are drawing now ... and on your own schedule."
Unfortunately my 7 Month old daughter doesn't operate on my schedule :-)
"The tooling to gear up for home production isn't all that expensive, either. I was pulling down ~US$1000/week making all four when I was working on my PhD at MIT ... over a quarter century ago. Out of a two bedroom apartment."
I'll stick with being a network engineer for a huge multinational ta very much - I'm pretty happy with my payslips ;-)
Oddly enough, the one gadget I immediately thought of for helping get to sleep was a Rampant Rabbit (a vibrator to those that have less brand-awareness). If you're tense and you want to get to sleep, there's nothing that will get you off as well as, well, getting off.
Note: methods may vary with gender.
Generally all rather pricey and pointless - and what use is an alarm clock that wakes you up 20 minutes before or after the time you set it for?
And no Internet Radios? That *is* a useful gadget - I've got a Roberts Streamtime (not brilliant I must admit, controls are seriously fiddly) but the ability to get a decent choice of radio when insomnia strikes at 3am is priceless - Radio 4 Extra on demand, obscure East European folk music, whatever - much better than the choice on a traditional clock radio.
The alarm clocks that dim a light before you sleep, and slowly brighten to wake you are good, if seemingly pricey. I have a model made by Sunrise System with a break-out socket so you can add an (incandescent) lamp of your choice. If nothing else, the lamp on/off switch is a pleasing microswitch on the front face, easier to locate than the inline on/off switch of the attached lamp. The large time display dims and brightens according how bright the lamp is, and the unit can be used as user-controllable dimmer, in addition to dimming and brightening itself. Its one of those thoughtfully designed, fit for a single purpose products that one comes to appreciate. Found in charity shop for £2.50 but worth its £50 list price.
On a similar note, I have installed f.Lux on my PC, which adjusts your display's colour-temperature (bluer during daylight hours, warmer in evenings) to closer match ambient light: eg, 'white' on your monitor more closely resembles an adjacent sheet of white paper. It works very well, and even mitigates the Chrome White Flash Of Ow! My Eyes on iPlayer. Can be toggled off for when colour-accuracy is required.
Having an earlier version of the wake up light in our room in Norway, I can testify that having teh gentle visual stimulation to bring you out a deep sleep before the alarm sounds is actually MUCH nicer than going snore to "Where's that bleedin alarm" in 1/2 sec. I was dubious until we used it through a full winter season. Made getting up a LOT easier. And it doesn't wake you up 20 mins before allocated time, it gradually simulates a sunrise to bring you out a deep sleep cycle ready to wake you more politely.
"what use is an alarm clock that wakes you up 20 minutes before or after the time you set it for?"
Incomplete sleep cycles make you no less tired than no sleep at all in the long-term, and in the short term it makes for a very nasty start to the day.
By waking you up only when you're ready, you get a much calmer rousing, and you're much better off for it.
"what use is an alarm clock that wakes you up 20 minutes before or after the time you set it for?"
The alarm clock wakes you up at the optimal time between any window you choose, you set the latest time it can wake you, it's not an enforced +/- 20 minutes. The idea is (and it's a good one) that chances are you'll be semi-awake close to your alarm going off that it would make sense for you to be woken then instead of letting you fall into a deeper sleep and waking you 15 minutes later.
So if I want to wake up by 7am, I tell it between 6:30 and 7, knowing that a 6:32 wake-up call where I'm ready to be woken is a damn sight better than a groggy 7am alarm.
You seem to have omitted a tea maker, perhaps they have become extinct.
This will be a shame because, as the former owner of a Goblin Teasmade from the 70's, I can assure you that there has never been a better method of filling a sock draw with superheated steam and boiling water.
The only superfluous part was the buzzer, which after the five minutes of bubbling, hissing, vibration and occasional screaming, sounded to ... er ... wake you up.
It was then just a matter of adding the slightly-off milk...
It's the tea-stained dressing gown.
You're right, they do seem to have died out. Krups make some filter coffee machines with timers, but they are expensive...
Cheap solution: Prepare coffee the night before and put it in a Thermos flask. Optionally place Thermos flask on radiator (in winter) to minimise heat loss. Wake up and enjoy hot coffee with minimum of fuss and movement from duvet.
The (cone filter) coffee-maker-with-a-timer up here in the office, made by Hamilton Beach, cost US$17 ... I don't use it much, because I prefer to hand pour hot water through the grounds ... but it does make pretty good coffee when I tell it to.
Hours-old stewed coffee from a thermos is just plain narsty.
No. the Teasmade is alive and well - but it has suffered at the hands of those "Design" idiots.
 shouldn't that be "Teasmaid" to suggest a parlourmaid lurking in the shadows in order to wait on you hand and foot?
Cuisinart make my coffee maker - phenomenal machine (DGB900BCU) that goes from beans to coffee all by itself in about 5 minutes, works on a timer and delivers into a thermos-ey pot waiting for me in the kitchen when I haul my sorry ass out of bed. Just make sure there's enough beans in the hopper and water in the reservoir.
Think it's around 120 notes, but worth it when you consider it's doing it properly, compared with a ridiculous Tassimo or Nespresso machine at the same price but with overpriced coffee to boot.
I've got one.
I love it to death, and use it all the time - normally with tea bags, but on those days where I must be up and running fast, a coffee bag (Lyons).
Explaining it to the younger folk though can be an uphill struggle.
As one other poster has pointed out -the buzzer is superfluous, the noise it makes can be heard all over my (admittedly small) appartment...
Any radio with an auto off feature can be used as a sleep aid -just tune in to Radio4 (or world service) set the volume low, and let the comforting burbling of the Beeb send you off to the land of nod...
I know people put lots of personal data all over the place now, but do you really want a company knowing how well you sleep? The Zeo sleep manager phones home with all of your sleep data. Off the top of my head I can't think of a specific problem that this could cause, but the privacy invasion of reporting how I slept to a random company (and whoever they sell the data to, and anyone who gets their dirty hands on the servers) creeps me out.
Cost / risk / benefit.
Is the benefit to you worth the cost / risk of cost?
Do you have a medical condition that can be (or yet undiagnosed) made aggravated / triggered by lack of sleep?
If you are concerned by medical data being transmitted, have a look at 'Telehealth':
1 - cheap MP3 player with in-ear bud type earphones.
2 - load said player with talk type programs (I use News Quiz podcasts)
3 - play chosen program with MP3 player set to turn off automatically after 30 minutes
4 - close eyes and nod off
5 - get up for piss around 5:00AM
6 - repeat steps 3 and 4
One probalem with that.... weird dreams where you are chased down the High street naked by Sandi Toksvig!
Paris, cos she's a big fan of Sandi and I'd pay money (about £1.50) to see her be chased down Guildford High street by Ms Toksvig any-time! (well any-time except between 7.30am and 9am because that's when loading is allowed in the town centre so they'd be to many lorries and vans in the way and I wouldn't see the action!)
It's up to you, if you wanna be naked be Sandi's guest! Sandi won't mind, she's easy, trust me!
My best advice is to 1) go to sleep wearing running shoes unless you're a hardcore nudist and don't mind the feel of cobbles against your bare skin
2) Listen to News Quiz podcasts as suggested above
3) Eat plenty of Danish bacon and play with Lego 30 minuets before bedtime
4) Watch youtube clips of Call My Bluff and "Number 73" or whatever the frig its called from the mid 80s for some classic Sandi in her prime
5) Box of tissues on the bedside table is optional
"Good shout, but think I'd need more material than 30 minutes each week, on a 6 week on/off cycle that the News Quiz operates on..."
That's why I have around 150 downloaded podcasts of The News Quiz and the Now Show stored on the MP3 player.
Yeah, I know... I'm a sad bastard but at least not a sad bastard with insomnia. :)
1 - cheap MP3 player with in-ear bud type earphones.
I can heartlity recommend not doing this, I used to sleep wearing cheap earbuds for audiobooks, music etc. Over time it damaged my ears, it was quite painful and I woke up deaf in one ear one morning, and had to see a doctor.
I have something similar to the lightsleeper.
Except it also plays lullabies and have images of teddies and such instead. Bores me to sleep more than hypnosis methinks.
I think it's supposed to be strapped to a cot or something, I don't know, I just stand it up on the side table.
Search 'Tripath Amp', have a read about. Available from different manufacturers and by all accounts are very good for secondary setups, roughly 20W. About £20 - £30. Couple with some classic British speakers out the back of your local newspaper for £10 - 20 and you have a system that will beat these iPod docks into next week for less than £50.
That said, Android device makers really should agree set up a common dock system amongst themselves... convenience counts for a lot.
how about reviewing some blackout curtains and rails/boxes? now summer is (almost) upon us, waking up at 5am isnt all its cracked up to be!
i was in italy recently and the place i stayed at had the most impressive blackout curtains ive ever seen. im really crap if i dont get a good nights sleep ://
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I like these articles. At least they remind us where all you boffins might end up working on of you hit a career snake instead of a ladder.
The iPhone movement sensing REM sleep monitor app is interesting and fun and you don't have to duck tape it to any part of your anatomy.
My proven tips for sound refreshing slumber, not in any particular order:
Get a walk in, ideally 40 to 80 mins minimum
No more than 2 - 3 drinks
Bed by 11
Shower or bath before retiring, clears off skin irritants and subconsciously reminds one of babyhood
Don't be completely nude, wear T shirt or similar to keep shoulders warm
A sh*g or self love as cirumstances/tastes permit
Nothing with a screen on it in bed. Book maybe
Blue light upsets your body's cycles and yes, can stimulate you. Lighting of a specific 'temperature' is used in 24 hour police control centres, for example, to help employees stay alert throughout the night.
At night, 'white' depicted on screen will appear bluer than the white of, say, your walls or sheets (if you have white walls or sheets) because of low-intensity artificial light tends to be warmer.
Many TVs have a user customisable scheme, in addition to the baked-in 'Sports', 'Films', 'Dynamic' etc, so experiment.
the Reg party you are planning must be huge....as this is just another 10 shortcuts to Amazon affiliation income stream...just days after your last 10 amazon link story.
from the wording it doesnt even seem like the reviewer actually even used these - its more a review of some reviews....a quick google of some gadget pages perhaps?
shame. would have been nice to actually know if any of these things were worth the high sums of cash...
"Candles, though, need to be managed. They go out, they drip hot wax and, well, they’re a fire hazard, frankly."
They go out, yeah handy that when you are going to sleep.
They drip hot wax, thats the best part :p
They are a fire hazard, true but they have been used for thousands of years and we are all adults here.
Why spend £65 on some plastic crap that you dont need. With the same £65 you could get over 1000 candles that will last a lot longer than the rechargeable batteries in this tosh.