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Even in a normal year, the holidays can be a terrifying hellish landscape. In 2020, however, it is – frankly – difficult to say what kind of climatic finale this historically troubled year could have. In honor of one of the most epic years ever on record, we've compiled a list of gifts that can help people get across the finish line in triumph.
I admit it's a bit mixed up. Everyone relieves stress differently – some like to play video games, come to the kitchen, some run, others meditate. This is an attempt to round up some devices and software that can help improve sleep, lower blood pressure, and generally help survive the remains of 2020 intact.
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I used Muse's newest headband quite a few times during CES when this show still felt like it was going to be the height of the stress for my year. The device offers a clever kind of gamified meditation approach – something I have come to appreciate as one of the worst meditators of all time. I recognize that words like "Gamify" sound counterproductive when it comes to meditation, but Muse does a surprisingly good job of getting you into the right headspace.
The company also recently added sleep tracking to the wearable. I'll say the Muse S is reasonably comfortable when it comes to tech headbands (an admittedly low bar), but even so, it still takes some getting used to sleeping with one.
Price: $ 350 from Amazon
Bose Sleep Buds II
We can recommend a number of general purpose noise canceling headphones to help you relax. The Bose Sleepbuds II aren't. These little bluetooth buds serve only one purpose: to sleep. They're comfortable, have good battery life, and stay in place while you sleep. They're designed for noisy environments – whether you're trying to take an afternoon nap or sleeping next to a snorer.
They're a bit expensive and not very versatile just to play Bose's pre-installed sleep sounds. If someone in your life is having trouble falling or falling asleep, this is a solid investment.
Price: $ 250 from Amazon
There's no shortage of meditation apps these days, but tranquility has long been my go-to place. The app has been hugely successful in recent years, even landing a star-studded show on HBO Max. With over 50 million downloads, Calm offers some of the most extensive and best-guided meditation courses and tracks to help listeners fall asleep.
Price: $ 13 / month from Calm
I really dug this thing up before my rabbit chewed on the string and made the thing practically unusable. I'll put myself to the test and assume this isn't a problem that most users will encounter. Withings Sleep is practically a cushion that sits under the mattress to track your sleep progress throughout the night. These results are then collected and displayed in the Withings Health App. I've tested many portable sleep trackers over the year. However, if you are really invested in sleep tracking, this is a great way to go. Among other things, you don't have to wear a band to sleep.
Withings Sleep goes deep into the tracking, including heart rate tracking and even snoring detection. It is also one of the first devices in its class to offer sleep apnea detection.
Price: $ 74 from Amazon
Dream light zen
Back when we were making travel gift guides, I included one of the Dreamlight long flight masks. In fact, while we're all grounded, I've gotten a lot of benefit from this, and I've dealt with some health issues this year. Dreamlight Zen is a further development of this model and has integrated sleep and meditation aids that can run for up to 10 hours on one charge.
Price: $ 200 from Dreamlight