Okay, you caught us. We've been sleeping on the job, but only because we want to help you, dear reader, to get a better night's sleep and ease out of bed the next day, no worse for the wear. Come along with us into the world of sleep-enhancing and wakeup gadgets, where there are snake-oil salesmen trying to sell you a sack of goods, and others peddling products that actually work. We're here to help, testing out this stuff, subjectively determining which of these devices are legit, and which ones merely add pointless bells and whistles to your nightly cycle. Here we separate the best from the rest, searching for the perfect devices to help us sleep, perchance to dream.
We'll rate each product with Z's, with five Z's (ZZZZZ) being a complete relaxation-inducing miracle, and one Z leaving us frustrated and tired.
1. Pzizz: Available in either software-only ($29.95) or in a attractively-designed mp3 player ($147), Pzizz talks you into sleep or a nap, but frankly, the voiceover announcer was just distracting. Akin to hypnosis, he coos you into slumberland with a duration you can set, telling you to wake you up at the end, after which an alarm sounds. He seriously says: "Thoughts are just thoughts and not reality," while so-called soothing music plays. Worst of all, he kept mentioning my body, pronouncing it "baw-dee." Maybe with the voice turned off, some sleepers might find the new-agey music soothing, but for me, uh, no. Too distracting. Rating: Z [Pzizz]
2. NeverLate Executive Alarm: I never considered sleeping to be a group sport—until I got married. This sophisticated $59.95 clock/radio can handle even the most complicated sleep schedules for two people. You can set seven different daily alarms, different times for different days of the week, and separate alarms for your special someone. It lets you plug in your music player via aux input, and you can augment its weak speakers with your choice of powered speakers out of its headphone jack. It's even sporting a USB port in the back, but alas, only to power devices such as those USB humping dogs; no data transfer. Its reverse backlight was too bright even on its dimmest setting. Even so, if you have complicated schedules, are a power napper or need complete control over your life, this is the clock/radio for you. Rating: ZZZ [American Innovative]