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How about you? Do you get enough sleep? Many of us do not get the seven hours of sleep each day that’s now considered the recommended level for healthy adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), insufficient sleep is a significant public health problem and an estimated 50-70 million adults in the U.S. have sleep or wakefulness disorders. There are many different types of sleep issues. I know I can fall asleep in less than a minute, most nights, but then I awaken several times and seldom get a full seven hours of sleep. Because my wife and I both read in bed before falling asleep, and she reads a lot longer than I do, I wear a thin beanie style cap that I pull over my ears and eyes when I decide it’s time to bail. That works well for me getting to sleep, but not staying asleep. I have tried headphone and earbuds with music or natural sounds like waves or rain, but I find headphones bulky and uncomfortable and earbuds fall out and the wires are a pain and cause more wakefulness than without. Personally, I can usually nod off by figuring out how I’d spend the money if I ever won Powerball (of course, I guess I’d have to start buying tickets).

A physician in Erie, Pennsylvania was accustomed to getting middle of the night phone calls and had issues falling back to sleep, so she started looking for a solution. She had an inspiration one night that lead to founding AccousticSheep, LLC with their primary product, SleepPhones. SleepPhones are stretchy handbands with thin, soft speakers inside. They come in five colors, two fabrics (fleece and a cooler fabric they call SheepCloud Breeze that breathes for people who get too hot wearing fleece). A basic model with a wired RCA cord to plug into an audio source sells for $39.95. Add a microphone to the wired model for a $59.95 version with which you can answer and talk on calls if the SleepPhone is plugged into a phone (sounds like a great idea for doctors, lousy for anyone who’s not on call). There’s also a Bluetooth model for $99.95 (for listening only), which is the one I’d want, because if I roll over in the night I don’t want wires to catch and mess things up. Customers can download free “sleep sound” tracks to play on an audio player or smartphone.

Getting a good night sleep is an important, chronically overlooked component to good health, one I for sure know I need to work on. Anything to help with a better night’s sleep without prescription or over-the-counter sleep aids is a good thing and the SleepPhones appear to be a noninvasive, comfortable way to get some rest.