It doesn’t matter if the bed is a luxury pillow-top in a five-star hotel or a lumpy mattress in a shared hostel room—what traveler hasn’t lain awake, staring at a new ceiling and wishing for sleep? Between jet lag, unfamiliar surroundings that are scientifically proven to keep half your brain half awake the first night, and inconvenient sleep environments, travel can wreak havoc on your sleep schedule. These gadgets can help.
Sound + Sleep Mini
Thin walls, a busy street, and even the hotel ice machine are no match for the Sound + Sleep Mini sound machine. Its small size makes it portable, and it can even run on battery power so you don’t have to worry about finding a power source. Unlike traditional sound machines, the Sound + Sleep mini doesn’t use looped track which can wake you up or distract you. You can pick from soothing noises such as rain, ocean, or a fan; or choose a white, pink, or brown noise program. The mini also allows you to set a timer for auto-shut off after 30 to 60 minutes.
Humans aren’t designed to sleep sitting up. Unfortunately, that’s often our only choice on long plane/train/car rides. The Travel Halo disrupts the traditional neck pillow concept – it has a flat back that doesn’t push the head forward, side stabilizers to keep the head from flopping around, and a built-in eyeshade to block out light.
Illumy Sleep & Wake Mask
Beat jetlag with the illumy Sleep & Wake, a unique sleep mask that uses light therapy to help you get to sleep faster and wake up more refreshed. Synch the mask with the (free) app and set an alarm. The mask uses a dimming red light to mimic a sunset and help you fall asleep, and then wakes you up at your chosen time with a blue light sunrise.
Plantronics BackBeat Pro2 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Even if you’re on the world’s longest flight, Plantronics BackBeat Pro2 Noise Cancelling Headphones have you covered. The battery lasts for up to 24-hours of listening, so you won’t have to worry about a mid-flight recharge. The active noise cancellation will drown out service carts, screaming kids, and the drone of flight engines, so that you can sleep – and the cushioned ear cups are comfortable even if you’re sleeping against the window.
Grand Trunk Hooded Travel Pillow
A hooded sweatshirt is great for sleeping on a plane or train, as the hood covers your eyes and blocks out light, plus protects your head from gross seatbacks. Now combine a micro fleece hood with a memory foam neck pillow, and you’ve got the perfect travel pillow – Grand Trunk’s Hooded Travel Pillow.
Instavit Sweet Dreams Spray
About 30 minutes before you want to sleep, spray Instavit Sweet Dreams into your mouth. This calorie and sugar-free spray delivers melatonin and chamomile to help you sleep better.
Wish you could power yourself up the same way you do your phone? That’s the premise behind the HumanCharger, a pocket-sized device designed to reduce jet lag, help you sleep better, and improve energy. The HumanCharger looks similar to an iPod – insert the earbuds and turn it on for 12 minutes per day, and a calibrated white light is sent into your ear canals as a form of light therapy.
Bedgear Personalized Performance Pillow
Bring a Bedgear Personalized Performance Pillow with you on your next road trip and never get stuck with a lumpy, musty vacation rental pillow again. Bedgear’s mission is to help you sleep better, by offering custom pillows that suit your body type/sleeping style/body temperature. Take the quiz to figure out which pillow is best for you – but rest assured that they all have innovative features built-in, like Air-X ventilation (to prevent overheating) or DriTec (moisture-wicking).
Sleep Induction Mat
The Bulletproof Sleep Induction Mat is portable—it’s about the size of a pillowcase and can roll up for travel. Lay down on the mat before heading to bed and it will utilize acupressure points on your back to help encourage relaxation and deep sleep.
Regular neck pillows never work for me, since my head always flops forward. The Trtl Pillow is the solution – it’s designed to wear more like a scarf than a pillow, wrapping completely around your neck. Built-in flexible internal supports hold your head upright, so you won’t get constantly woken up every time your head bobs down.
More from SmarterTravel:
- 10 Tiny Gadgets That Will Help You Sleep on the Plane
- 12 Stylish Jeans So Comfortable You Can Sleep in Them
- How to Sleep on the Plane: A Guide to Sleep Aids
Some review products are sent to us free of charge and with no incentive to offer a favorable review. We offer our unbiased opinions, positive and negative, and will never accept compensation to review a product.
Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information.