This mood-sensing radio plays news based on how you’re feeling when you wake up

“Well begun is half the work done!” says Varenya Raj, the designer behind Nidra, a radio that helps people monitor their mood when they wake up.

Right off the back, Nidra looks quite unlike most bedside radios. It sports a half-log-shaped design with a plush button on one end, a soft carpet on another, and a printer in between. The idea behind the Nidra stems from starting your day off on the right note. If you wake up in a less-than-ideal mood, whack the cushion as you would at a game of whack-a-mole, and Nidra plays out positive news. If you’re in a pretty good mood when you wake up, gently stroke the velvety carpet, and Nidra plays news across different categories. At the end of the month, the radio prints out a little docket letting you know where your mood’s been over the last 30 days, helping you chart your sleep schedule as well as mental and emotional wellbeing.

Designer: Varenya Raj

Nidra - Mood-sensing Radio by Varenya Raj

The idea for Nidra stemmed from the concept of ‘time being equal to money’. Created as the ultimate productivity tool (because you’re much more productive and focused when you’re in a good mood), Nidra’s aim was to help office-goers have a better overview of their overall mental health. Needless to say, Nidra’s appeal has vastly evolved thanks to the pandemic, and it’s now more of a general mental-health tool. Strike it on your bad days for a pick-me-up, stroke it on your good days for general news, and Nidra charts how you’ve felt over the past month. It prints out a tiny slip for you to analyze and hopefully retrospect over, so your next month is better than your last.

Nidra - Mood-sensing Radio by Varenya Raj

Nidra - Mood-sensing Radio by Varenya Raj

On the inside, the Nidra contains a button, a force-sensing resistor, a thermal printer, a speaker, and an Arduino UNO computer that powers the device. The button’s designed to be pretty large and cushioned, so you could easily slam it while half-asleep, while the FSR comes with a soft, fluffy cloth similar to dog-fur. Depending on which part of Nidra you interact with, the interactions are inputted and received by the Arduino PC which processes it and appropriately chooses an RSS-based news feed to read out. A tiny button on front of the device lets you control Nidra’s volume too!

Nidra - Mood-sensing Radio by Varenya Raj

Our favorite shows, audiobooks and music to fall asleep to

If you’re anything like me, the past year has wreaked havoc on your sleep schedule. Some of it is good — if you no longer have to commute, you’ve probably snuck in an extra hour or two of sleep in the morning, or might even sneak away for a midday na...

This earmuff neck-pillow blocks sound more efficiently than most noise-canceling headphones

I believe there are three pillars to perfect sleep. Comfort, quiet, and darkness… and the Sleepmuffs take care of two of them. Designed as a pair of pretty massive earmuffs that also double up as a neck-support, the Sleepmuffs can be worn in bed or while seated, making them perfect at home or while traveling. Made with high-quality foam (among other materials), the Sleepmuffs aren’t just comfortable to wear, they do a pretty remarkable job of blocking sound too. With as much as -33 decibel attenuation, the Sleepmuffs are arguably better than a pair of earplugs, or even your passive noise-canceling headphones. The foam helps conceal you in a bubble of quiet, allowing you to easily sleep in most noisy conditions – whether you’ve got a flatmate who decides to play Cyberpunk 2077 at 3am, or whether you’re on a plane or bus right next to a two-year-old.

The internals of the Sleepmuff are a little complicated than your average neck-pillow. The muffs are made of two types of foam – one for comfort, and another for absorbing/dampening sound. The comfort foam forms the outer part of the construction, while the dampening foam sits around the ears. Both foams are separated by a hard acoustic shell that ensures a proper seal and helps block out sound. Lastly, the muffs are clad in a breathable fabric that allows you to wear them for hours without breaking into a sweat mid-sleep. The overall shape of the Sleepmuffs are conducive to a good night’s rest too. The neck area actually acts as a support – like you’d find in most neck pillows, while the ear regions are 55mm thick, elevating your head when you sleep on your side to avoid strain. While they are relatively bulky, like most neck-pillows, they can be worn during travel (so you don’t need to store them in your backpack), and if you do want to take them off, a nifty travel-case lets you efficiently pack them up!

Designer: Blisstil

A sleep apnea assistive device to bring you the quality and safe sleep you deserve

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which breathing repeatedly stops and begins again. During sleep, when throat muscles are too relaxed, they expand and obstruct airways, disrupting the flow of oxygen throughout the body. There are assistive devices such as CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure), whose purpose is to increase air pressure in your throat so that the muscles surrounding it do not become too relaxed to the point of obstructive expansion. Carmen Maier, the designer behind Lune, imagined a different approach.

Lune, a holistic training and monitoring system for people with sleep apnea trouble, encourages a sound sleep by stimulating oral muscles around the throat by means of pulsating electrodes. Inspired by the male frog’s mate calling technique, which is when the male frog lifts his head upwards in order to produce mighty ribbits, Lune incorporates an integrated airbag into the sleeping assistive device in order to maintain an upright position for their head, which in turn promotes steady, open airflow. Then, during sleep, Lune uses sensors to determine whether or not the user’s breathing canals are blocked. If the user’s throat muscles are too relaxed, causing the tongue to recede backward, blocking the flow of oxygen between the lungs and brain, then Lune gently pulsates electrodes over the throat area. The pulsating electrodes trigger the user’s nervous system to swallow, which then sets the tongue back to a neutral, alert position. Through this reimagination of a CPAP device, the user’s oral muscles are strengthened, which brings the possibility of long-lasting sleep improvements. Along with the product’s main feature of improving the flow of oxygen throughout the user’s body, its charging station integrates a fully-operative alarm clock, smartphone connectivity, and analysis software that tracks your sleeping habits, providing a visual guide to your personal sleep improvements.

By researching the needs and considerations of people with sleep apnea, along with the knowledge and science from doctors and engineers, Carmen Maier devised a product that ensures a good night’s sleep without requiring lifestyle changes from the user. While most CPAP designs provide a lot of relief in regard to airflow, this machine does that and also strengthens your breathing capabilities all while you’re sound asleep.

Designer: Carmen Maier

Bose’s Sleepbuds II address some of our concerns (just not the high price)

Two years ago, Bose released its first Sleepbuds. The pricey earbuds were meant to promote a good night’s sleep by covering background noise (ie snoring) and relaxing users with tranquil tracks. Now, Bose is back with the Sleepbuds II. The next-gen e...

HBO Max is making a TV series based on relaxation app Calm

HBO Max is working on a new 10-episode series based on popular relaxation and sleep tool Calm. Building on the app’s Sleep Stories, each episode A World of Calm will be about 30-minutes long and will feature "scientifically-engineered" narratives com...