6 wellbeing gadgets for your Christmas wish list

It's the season of giving and below are a selection of wellbeing 'gadgets' on my Christmas wish list this year.

These gadgets are not certified medical devices or assistive technologies (in the strictest of senses), and despite some of their marketing claims, there are some dubious scienfic claims. They are also very much in the 'disposable income' category and generally not the sort of thing most of us would think about spending our money on, but they are interesting concepts.

1. Paro Therapeutic Robot SeaParo Therapeutic Robot Seal in Beige l

There is some compelling evidence that interactions with animals can help promote wellbeing, and that there is little difference in how we react between the biological and the robotic. Paro Therapeutic Robot Seal is primarily intended for use in healthcare settings, where the cost of such an expensive device can be spread across a large number of people.

However, if you have a couple of thousand pounds to spare, then this robot baby seal might just be what you're looking for this Christmas.

Luxafor Pomodoro Timer with green led screen2. Luxafor Pomodoro Timer

We often mention the Pomodoro Technique to help with focus and task management. The technique entails a 25-minute focus period during which you work without distraction, followed by a 5-minute break during which you can be as distracted as you like. Finish four focus sessions to earn a longer 15-minute break.

The Luxafor Pomodoro timer features a visual on-screen countdown and coloured screens for each phase of the Pomodoro, which both can be customised on an app. It's pricey at around £40, and there are numerous free apps and online timers available, but it has the advantage of not running on a device that is typically a source of distraction.

The Dodow Sleep Aid Device3. Dodow - Sleep Aid Device

We all know how important sleep is for our health, but yet only a few of us get enough of it. The Dodow works to regulate and slow your breathing, putting you to sleep in a relaxed and comfortable state.

Set the device next to your bed and swipe the top to turn it on; it then projects a calming blue light on the ceiling that pulses, encouraging you to synchronise your breathing with it to relax you to the point of falling asleep.

Dodow acknowledges that the use of blue light has been linked to sleep difficulties (which is why most devices now automatically turn off their blue light after about 10:00pm), but the manufacturers assure that the brightness of the blue is too low to have an impact (around 1 lux).

4. Somnox 2 Breathe & Sleep CompanionA person laying in bed with the Somnox Breathe and Sleep Companion

According to the makers, the Somnox 2 'robot pillow' not only helps you fall asleep but also ensures good quality and deep sleep. When you hug the pillow, it analyses your breathing and calculates the best breathing rate for you, simulating breathing and assisting you in slowing your breathing as you adjust.

The pillow can also play music, meditation tracks, or podcasts - though this feature may not be very useful in some situations!

5. doppel Wearable Devicedoppel Wearable Device in black 

Doppel is a watch-like wearable device that uses a spinning motor to simulate a heartbeat sensation on your wrist. 

A faster sensation when you want to be more focused and a slower sensation when you want to be calmer. The manufacturers use music as an analogy: a fast beat can help you focus and be more productive, while a slower tempo can help you relax.

The scientific claims are supported by some published research, but it's still an intriguing concept, although a little pricey at around £175.

6. Muse 2: Brain Sensing Headband

The Muse 2: Brain Sensing Headband is designed to assist with focus and meditation by providing real-time visualisation of brain activity, heart rate, breathing, and movement.

It's worn like a headband with the band part across your forehead and the arms behind your ears. All of the sensors are contained within the headband, which connects to an app on your phone to display the visualisation.

While again I remain sceptical of the 'science' behind it, anecdotal evidence and customer feedback appear to be positive.

Please note that the images used in this article are from the websites of the companies mentioned.

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