We’ve all heard that naps are good for us, both for our physical wellbeing and in our professional lives. Recent scientific studies have even shown that short power naps of 20 to 30 minutes can improve cognitive function and boost productivity.
But sleeping in the middle of the day comes with its own set of complications. It’s tough to set aside time for a nap, and waking up suddenly can leave you feeling groggy for the rest of the day.
A new sleep mask developed by engineers from MIT, Harvard Medical School, and Stanford aims to solve that problem, using calming lights to help you wake up slowly and make the most of your limited napping time.
The Napwell lets you specify how long of a nap you’d like to take, adjustable with a timer on the front of the mask. As you draw closer to your nap’s end time, the inside of the mask gradually lights up, mimicking a natural sunrise and gently bringing you out of sleep.
According to the company’sKickstarter page, waking gradually helps to prevent “sleep inertia,” or that groggy feeling you get when you’re awoken abruptly.
“Our goal is to build products that help people lead efficient and productive lives,” co-creator Justin Lee said to TechCrunch. “The mask is battery operated so you don’t need WiFi, Bluetooth, or a smartphone to make it work. This goes back to our philosophy of building products so that they can be used by anyone, anywhere.”
The Napwell isn’t the first gadget to use artificial sunrises to improve sleep — lamps like the Philips Wake-up Light and Pure Twilight have the same idea. Incorporating the technology into a sleep mask that can be easily transported, however, is a whole new spin on the concept.
The Napwell was successfully funded on Kickstarter last week, and preorders are now being taken on the company’s site for $US60.
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