Consumer Reports tests best sleep products

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Lots of products promise a better night's sleep but do they work? Consumer Reports has put a few to the test. (WPVI)

Sleep deprivation has become big business. Americans spent more than $ 40 billion dollars last year searching for that elusive good night's sleep. But which products actually work?

The marketplace has exploded with plenty of options to help you get your zzzz's. But are they really great gadgets or just sleep gimmicks? Consumer Reports takes a look under the covers.

Some infomercials can be tempting and if you're desperate for some shut-eye, the $60-dollar My Pillow promises "deeper, longer REM sleep."

But there are no clinical studies to support this.

How about the $150 dollar Sleep Shepherd? It's basically a beanie with built-in speakers. It claims to monitor brain waves and drown out distractions.

"The research that it accurately monitors brain activity is pretty thin, but hearing the rhythmic sounds can be soothing," said Sue Byrne from Consumer Reports.

In fact, according to a Consumer Reports survey, white-noise machines, like the $50 dollar Marpac Dohm DS, help most people who've tried them sleep better.

And apps like White Noise and My Noise let you get soothing sounds on your Smartphone for free.

"You should also think about why you can't sleep. Electronics devices like smartphones and laptops emit blue light, which slows the production of the sleep hormone melatonin and keeps you awake," said Byrne.

Some pricey glasses promise to block blue light - and they do block some. But when Consumer Reports tested glasses in a special light-measuring sphere, they found the glasses that actually blocked out the most blue light are the Uvex Skyper Safety Glasses. They actually have orange lenses and cost just $8 dollars.

What's the best way to beat insomnia? Quit smoking, cut back on caffeine and alcohol and turn off screens long before you head to bed.

Although you might be craving a simple chemical solution to sleeplessness, Consumer Reports Best Buy Drugs' team, which evaluates the safety and effectiveness of medications, reviewed the research on sleep drugs and found them to be limited in their effectiveness.

And they pose some serious risks of side effects, like next-day drowsiness. You can get more information to help you improve your sleep on

For more information to help you improve your sleep, visit:
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