Disclaimer: This guide is for informational purposes only and is not meant to diagnose or treat any specific illness or disease. Please contact your medical professional for personalized advice.
The past few years have taken a toll on everyone’s mental health. This year, I checked out a few impressive new products that have helped me in some way, big or small. There is a little of everything on this list, from new pillows to devices that help me focus or sleep. So, let’s dive into the top products that have helped me stay mostly sane these past twelve months.
Purpose: Breathing regulator during stressful times/panic attacks
Price: $179 to $198
Purchase: CalmiGo Website
CalmiGo helps regulate your breathing using touch, smell, and sound. It looks like a discreet inhaler. It’s recommended that you practice with CalmiGo before you have a reason. You start by exhaling normally into the device. Your goal is to activate all three lights and the vibration. Listen to your body; if you can’t exhale enough to achieve the goal, that’s okay. CalmiGo will adjust your exhale length on the next one and help you build up to where you should be.
Once you exhale, naturally, you inhale. This is where the scent pads come into play. You can pick one of three scents: lavender, peppermint, or bergamot. These suckers are strong so choose wisely. Personally, I don’t use any of them because I have chronic migraines and allergies. I first tried the peppermint but had to air out my CalmiGo for a couple of days to get the smell off because it was too strong. I like it better without the scent pads, but I see their appeal for people who are not allergic like me. The plates hold their scent for about four to six weeks, depending on use and how you store them and cost about $14 for two replacement plates.
CalmiGo comes with a soft cloth bag and a silicone cover to keep it clean on the go. I don’t like fiddling with a bag when I need help calming down, so I toss mine in a designated safe spot in my bag with the silicone cover on it.
Something I like is that CalmiGo uses three AAA batteries so there is no charging it. It comes with a screwdriver to open the battery pack, but they tell you on the website that they can assist if you can’t use a screwdriver for whatever reason.
At first, I was skeptical because I’ve done breathing exercises and the paper bag thing in the past. What turned me onto the CalmiGo was that it is discreet (paper bag, not so much) and does help me. The other night while lying in bed, I got hit with a wave of anxiety and asked my husband to get my CalmiGo off the table in the kitchen. After a couple of minutes, I felt better and was able to go back to sleep.
CalmiGo comes in purple and grey. They offer a one-year warranty on manufacturer’s defects and a 30-day money-back guarantee (minus the shipping cost). To learn more about the science behind CalmiGo, check out their website under the Clinical Studies page. They have four completed studies with four more in progress.
Purpose: Sleep aid
Purchase: Pluto Pillow Website
Pluto Pillow lets you customize your pillow to your needs. After answering a few questions about your sleep habits, your current pillow (including how satisfied you are with it), and leaving any notes for the pillow creator, you are on your way to the best customized sleep available. The process takes about two weeks to go from questionnaire to pillow in hand.
My husband ended up stealing my Pluto Pillow for himself and has been sleeping quite well with it. While you should put a pillow case on your Pluto Pillow, the outer cover is so soft and comfortable, it’s tempting to leave it without one.
If you are not 100% satisfied with your new pillow, Pluto lets you ship it back and they will make any modifications you need. You have 110 nights to try out your pillow and if it doesn’t give you the best sleep possible, you can send it back and ask for any modifications to make it fit your needs. You also get a one-year limited warranty on your pillow that covers any manufacturer defects.
Purpose: Sleep aid
Purchase: Pluto Pillow Website
Pluto PUFF is the most comfortable body pillow you could ask for. It measures 21” wide by 54” long and fits a standard body pillowcase. It’s light enough to carry around but hefty enough to be a cuddle buddy. PUFF is made of unique synthetic fiber that emulates 600-fill European down and is hypoallergenic!
I love this for the nights when my husband is working late and I need something to snuggle up with. It also folds in half, so when I don’t need it, I keep it beside my bed, ready to cuddle. I don’t even have to fluff it out before using it. That’s a nice bonus.
Pluto guarantees that it will never go flat and remains cool all night. The outer cover is made with a 51% polyethylene and cotton mix. When you unzip the cover, PUFF’s inner surface is 100% cotton.
The Pluto PUFF has the same guarantee as the regular Pluto pillow, so if you are not 100% satisfied with the sleep you are getting with your PUFF, you can return it, no questions asked.
Purpose: Sleep and focus aid
Purchase: Somnox Website
Somnox 2 is best described as a breathing robot that helps you breathe, relax, and sleep. It has a little weight to it (about three pounds) to aid in reducing anxiety and help you relax when times are tough. Using the app (iOS and Android), you can breathe along to immersive exercises that have been scientifically proven to relax you all over. It’s made of 60% cotton and 40% polyester with memory foam inside.
I’ve taken mine into work and let it sit on my lap while I worked after a night of panic attacks. It’s like a bean shaped robot that breathes. The outer sleeve is washable. I pitched to them the idea of making different patterns for people that want to have some fun with it (animals were my first thought).
The first thing people will notice about this item is that it’s a bit pricey (the most expensive item on this list, actually). I’ve been testing my Somnox 2 out for a few months and trust me when I say that I wouldn’t have it on here list if if it didn’t work. Somnox understands the investment because they offer a 100% risk-free 30-day trial. If you do not have improved sleep habits after three weeks, you can return it for a full refund. You also get a two-year warranty that includes repairs.
Somnox takes the usual assortment of credit cards, but they also have Affirm turned on on their site to allow you to break the cost into easy to manage and interest free payments. In addition to Affirm, they accept PayPal, which offers its own pay-in-four plan.
My only complaint is that you get two hours of use per charge. Charging to about 80% will take four hours. Not a great charging-to-use ratio, in my opinion.
Purpose: Stress and focus aid
Purchase: Apollo Website
Using wearable touch therapy, the Apollo wearable helps to improve your body’s ability to handle stress, allowing you to relax, sleep, focus, and go about your life. The app is relatively easy to use and straightforward to set up. You can wear the Apollo on your wrist, ankle, or use the clip to attach it to your shirt to sit close to your collarbone or chest. It comes in three sizes and size colors. The size matters because it comes with a hook-and-loop fastener strap to wear around your wrist or ankle, so check their sizing information. You can adjust the intensity of the touch stimulation in the app or just start the same session over again by clicking the onboard buttons on the Apollo.
I’ve been using my Apollo for a few weeks and while I’m not 100% sure on the science, I notice a difference when I wear it. It’s recommended that you start off using it at least three hours a day for five days a week, day and night. I’ve only been using it when I need it, which is mostly when I have a hard time focusing. I’ve worn it a few times when sleeping, but I find that the Somnox 2 is better at helping me in that area.
I won’t sit here and tell you it’s the most comfortable thing I’ve used, but it works, so I look beyond the minor discomfort. I’ve had the most success with it on my wrist (on the top or on my pulse depending on the work I’m doing) and clipping it under my shirt on my chest. Don’t be fooled into thinking you get more results out of a higher intensity. I tested that out and I ended up not feeling all that well when it was too high.
Apollo publishes the studies on their technology on their website, so if you want more details on how it works and the science behind it, head on over and give it a read. So far they have six completed studies with nine other ongoing. They offer a 30-day satisfaction guarantee so if it doesn’t work for your needs, you can reach out and get a full refund (minus any import and duties fees for those outside the U.S.).
Disclaimer: GeekDad received review samples of the items on this list.