The sleep technology market has been growing almost exponentially since around 2009, when the first sleep tracker devices appeared. I’ve covered several products designed to promote, monitor and analyse those all-essential zzzs. Just in the past year, I see I’ve introduced you to the Smart Nora anti-snore system, the Oura sleep measuring ring, the Remi sleep trainer for children, and Bose’s Sleepbuds. I don’t think the Dutch creators of the Somnox Sleep Robot, who are part of the upmarket bed company Auping, would lose sleep if I described their techie “solution” as the most leftfield so far. The device, an example of a growing tech category known as soft robotics, is like a squidgy, fabric-covered bean, which expands and contracts like a breathing organism. Think in terms of a small but dense cat or dog you can hug close to you as a comforting sleep companion, or, as Somnox suggests, to use during the day “to hug, meditate, watch TV and read”. Using the accompanying app, you can adjust the Somnox to a breathing pattern you find restful, or have it adjust to your breathing and add quiet, calming music.
I don’t have trouble sleeping, but a friend who does found it “wonderful”, although she took almost a week of test hugs to get used to it – and once thought it was the cat and went to shoo it off her bed. Anyway, Somnox offers a 30-day trial period, so you can’t really go wrong. During these warm and light summer nights, it could be just the bedmate for anyone stressed out by work, life, whatever.