We spend almost a third of our life sleeping. Yet millions of us suffer from poor sleep and never learn how to manage and control our sleeping patterns properly.
Do you snore so badly that your partner has been known to physically attack you in your grumbling slumber? If so, there are hundreds of well-worn natural remedies and homeopathic hacks to ensure a better night's rest.
However, if you have tried all of that, if you've drank plenty of water throughout the day and taken no stimulants after 6pm and not looked at the internet or email for at least three or four hours before bed and have done everything else you can to make your brain and body relax throughout the evening and yet you still feel tired, then it might be time to look for some technological fixes to your sleepless woes.
As every professional sleep clinician will inform you, the key to getting regular good sleep is regular exercise, good diet and learning to manage stress and be able to 'switch off' at night. This can be particularly difficult for technophiles, what with the proliferation of online-connected smartphones and gadgets around us at all times. But if you can switch your attention from surfing the net and checking your emails obsessively to playing around with some of the following gadgets and new bits of sleep-improving tech, you may find some improvements to your day-to-day emotional and physical well-being and overall productivity.
1.The aXbo alarm clock
The new alarm clock from German company aXbo is a clock which offers the perfect solution to securing the most productive sleep pattern your body is capable of - by telling you exactly the right time to drag your sorry carcass out of your pit, to ensure that you have had the best possible night's kip in line with your sleep pattern.
The new aXbo clock could well help you and your partner wake-up more effectively
We've tested out the aXbo clock and it could well be the ultimate sleep hack, as it does actually appear to help you feel better in the mornings, measuring your sleep pattern via wrist sweatbands and waking you and your partner up at the optimal point in the sleep phase as close as possible to your set alarm times.
Just don't think you can hit snooze! Costs £180 for the couples' version over at www.axbo.com
For those poor souls who really have suffered years of abnormal sleeping patterns the latest medical kit is the SleepTrek3 which is able to identify the exact reasons why you have a problem, measuring your airflow, snoring, respiratory effort, body position, oxygen saturation, and pulse rate.
"SleepTrek3 will make the benefit of sleep study available to many people who would otherwise not have been studied because they would not have met the high criteria to receive a doctor's order for a full-study in a sleep lab," says Everett Pizzuti, President and COO of Astro-Med, Inc.
SleepTrek3 is perhaps the ultimate medical sleep tracking device
Yet while SleepTrek3, supplied with sensors, wearable pouch, home carry case, and rechargeable battery, may well seem to be the ultimate solution to your sleepless woes, there is a catch. It carries a list price of just under $4000 (£2450)!
Still want one?! You can see videos and more detailing how the SleepTrek3 actually works over on the manufacturer's website.
3. iPhone sleep cycle alarm clock
There are hundreds of alarm clocks and sleep aid apps available for iPhone. The only real difficulty is finding one that works for you.
Lexware Labs' Sleep Cycle alarm clock does something very similar to the aforementioned aXbo alarm clock, but this time it measures your sleep cycles via the accelerometer in your iPhone to monitor your movement and thus know which sleep phase you are in.
Pop your iPhone under the sheets to use Lexware's latest Sleep Cycle alarm app
"This isn't really something new. These so called bio-alarm clocks have been around for years and work very well, but they usually come with a hefty $200 price tag," says Maciek Drejak, the programmer behind the application.
This 59p app could well be a god-send for UK iPhone users. For more info check Lexware's website.
4. OnlineClock.net video alarm clock
OnlineClock.net has recently released its new Online Video Alarm Clock, the latest version one of the most popular online wake-up tools, which lets you select YouTube videos as an alarm in your web browser.
Simply enter an (embeddable) YouTube video URL in the OnlineClock.net website to select a video alarm. Or use the Video Alarm Clock Bookmarklet.
Online Video Alarm clock lets you wake up to the glories of YouTube!
The Video Alarm Clock is customisable too so users can change the size of the numbers or the colour of the background. And, best of all, it is completely free. Just be sure to select a nice relaxing video and not the latest Rage Against The Machine remix!
5.iHome iPod docks
Just as with sleep aids and alarm clock apps, there are scores of iPod docks on the market fitted with alarm clock, internet radio and DAB functions. The problem is which one to opt for to ensure you wake up properly. iHome iPod and iPhone docks have been designed to work with a forthcoming app called iHome+Sleep.
iHome's new iPod and iPhone docks will work in tandem with its new sleep-aid apps
These "app-enhanced" alarms can track sleep patterns and gather data about your sleep habits. They are also fully customisable alarms and offer a number of options for you to integrate them with your favourite online social networks. The new iHome iA5 will be available by March and will cost $99 (£60) and the accompanying iPhone and iPod touch app will be free.