These 7 tech products helped us find inner peace

In a tech-driven world, it can be difficult to focus on our mental and physical well being — and to try to set aside our screens to do so. Though it may seem counterintuitive, technology can actually help improve your overall wellness, if you’re using the proper devices correctly. 

There are more than 2,500 meditation apps on the App Store, a range of wearables like smartwatches and smart rings that track stress levels, and high-quality noise cancelation technology built into headphones to help us get the peace and quiet we need to rest and reset.

Also: The best fitness trackers you can buy

As a wellness enthusiast, I’ve rounded up some of my favorite wellness tech devices on the market today to help your physical and mental health, based on my own experience using these products as well as those of other ZDNET staff who have gone hands-on with them. Here’s to being more mindful about our well-being and how we utilize our technology this year. 

1. A device for meditation

Allison Murray/ZDNET

For those looking to make meditating easier, the Moonbird device is an excellent resource for beginners. It fits in the palm of your hand and mimics your own breathing, allowing you to match the device’s rhythmic changes to your own breath.

Even though I am not new to meditating, I found this device to help me focus on breathing much easier so my mind can clear itself of thoughts and worries. An app connects to the device, allowing you to choose your meditation exercise, like balanced breathing, the box method, and setting your own customized breathing rhythm.

After you complete a session, you can see proof of your stress levels going down thanks to a photoplethysmogram (PPG) sensor that tracks your heart rate, heart rate variability, and level of coherence (the degree of synchronization between your heart rate and your respiratory rate).

I’ve found the Moonbird useful in stressful situations like traveling, especially because it is pocket-sized and portable.

2. A smart ring 

Oura Horizon Ring against skyline

Nina Raemont/ZDNET

I have been wearing the Oura Ring Gen3 Horizon model since November 2022, and it’s changed the wearable game for me forever. As someone who hates wearing watches and loves wearing rings, the Oura Ring was a no-brainer, but its technology and in-depth and accurate data make it even more of a win.

The Oura Ring is known for its quality sleep tracking, and the insights are much better than what you’d get with a Fitbit or other tracker. For example, it shows you your HRV balance, temperature changes in your sleep (which can act as a period predictor), blood oxygen levels, and how long you were in each sleep stage.

Read the review: Oura Ring Gen 3 Horizon: Same features, no more flat spot

The ring’s activity tracking is also quite impressive. It’ll track your steps, calories burned (including active calories), heart rate during a workout, and training volume.

I especially like the readiness score it provides me every morning (based on my sleep score and activity score from the previous day). This way, I know whether I will feel productive and motivated to go about my day or if I’ll need that extra espresso shot in my morning cappuccino.

Some newer features are also wellness-focused, such as daytime stress and resilience, which calculate how well your body can withstand and recover from physiological stress over time. The Oura app also has meditations and breathing exercises you can listen to when your stress level is high.

3. A sunrise alarm clock

A Hatch Restore 2 clock on a nightstand and lit-up bright yellow

Allison Murray/ZDNET

The Hatch Restore 2 is a sound machine, sunrise alarm, smart light, meditation app, and alarm clock, all in one device. I have one on my nightstand, and it’s changed the game for me in my nighttime and morning routines. One of its standout features is its lighting: It provides a reading light, a soft, soothing night light, and a gradual glowing light that allows you to wake up with light rather than an obnoxious sound.

Of course, if you need sound to wake you up, the Hatch Restore 2 has soft chimes, and nature sounds to wake you gently. You can also listen to guided meditations right when you wake up or before bed, as well as sleep stories if you need extra help falling asleep.

Review: I replaced my phone alarm with this smart sunrise clock. The results were night and day

While the Hatch alarm clock is expensive, when you factor in all its features, it might be worth it for some people looking for better wellness.

4. A meditation app

A smartphone with a meditation app open on its screen next to a lit candle and a blue crystal

Allison Murray/ZDNET

I have been an avid user of Insight Timer for a few years now, and it’s my favorite meditation app. You can download the app for free and access more than 130,000 guided meditations surrounding topics such as sleep and well-being, morning energy, gratitude, anxiety, stress, negative thinking, accountability, affirmations, etc.  

You won’t have to pay for meditations or for events that you can attend within the app. Choose from daily events like special full moon meditations, healing circles, book clubs, sound baths, and more. A great feature of this app is that you can filter by location to find meditation teachers, groups, and events right within your area.

Also: The best meditation apps

While meditations are free, more in-depth workshops that will deepen your practice will cost you, starting at $20 per session.

5. A smartwatch

Apple Watch Series 9

Jason Hiner/ZDNET

We all know the Apple Watch Series 9 is great at tracking health data like heart rate, ECG, and fall detection, but a recent feature debuted in watchOS 10 is more wellness-centered. Through a feature called State of Mind, you can log your momentary emotions and daily mood from the mindfulness app. The digital crown lets you scroll through emotions to choose how you’re feeling, and you can even identify triggers that have been making you feel this way.

This feature works in tandem with the rest of the watch’s health metrics, such as sleep, exercise minutes, and even time in daylight — the latter of which Apple is measuring more of with WatchOS 10 to reduce the likelihood of developing myopia or nearsightedness.

Also: My favorite WatchOS 10 feature is overlooked, underrated, and life-changing

“Every day at 3 p.m., the Apple Watch gives me a gentle nudge to journal my thoughts, and it’s now become one of the finer things that I look forward to during the second half of my workdays,” ZDNET reviews editor Kerry Wan wrote about the feature.

6. Sleep headphones 

sleep a10 buds on woven pillow

Christina Darby/ZDNET

Not only are the Anker Sleep A10 Earbuds some of the tiniest ZDNET former associate editor Christina Darby had tried, but they also track your sleep while you wear them. Darby said she was especially impressed by the comfortability and light weight of the earbuds, as well as their sleep tracking tech.

“The Soundcore app tracks your quality of sleep and shows when you were in deep or light sleep and the times that you were awake,” she wrote in her review. “Other than one or two false positives showing I was in “light sleep” for a few minutes longer than what my Apple Watch tracked, I’d say the earbuds’ tracking stacked up well.”

Review: Do sleeping earbuds actually work? I tested the latest pair on the market

While these earbuds don’t have noise-cancelation technology, they use noise masking, which broadcasts a low-volume layer of audio to cover up ambient and environmental sounds. Soundcore’s app lets you choose between 31 different pre-set sounds to listen to as you drift to sleep, including audio that mimics your brain wave frequencies during periods of rest. Plus, the earbuds can wake you up in the morning with the in-ear alarm function, so roommates or sleeping partners aren’t disturbed by your wake-up call.

7. A massage device

Renpho Eye Massager in white.

Christina Darby/ZDNET

I am someone who gets headaches — a lot. And sometimes, no matter what over-the-counter medication I take or herbal remedies I try out, it just won’t go away. The Renpho Eye Massager is a must-have in my wellness toolbox: it uses compression, heat, and vibration to massage your eyes and temples, effectively giving your head and eyes a break. Especially if you’re like me and stare at a screen all day, using this eye massager at the end of a workday is a game changer.

Also: The best massage guns you can buy

It also has soothing, relaxing music while massaging and heating your eyes (so soothing I’ve fallen asleep while wearing it more than a few times). However, you can connect the mask via Bluetooth to play your own music or sounds (such as white noise, which can actually help relieve migraine symptoms).

I have been a wellness enthusiast for several years, and I have personally used many of these products on this list. Other ZDNET staff also has had hands-on experience with these tech devices for their health. However, we can only speak to our personal use-cases of these products and how they have benefited us in terms of overall health and well-being. Please be sure to always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

There are so many different benefits to meditating that will significantly impact your life, even after just one meditation session. Among these benefits are managing stress better, reducing negativity, increasing patience, lowering resting heart rate and blood pressure, improving sleep, helping with anxiety or depression, and so much more. 

The National Sleep Foundation recommends improving your sleep by practicing certain habits throughout the day and before bed. One of these is following a consistent bed routine where you go to bed and wake up at the same times every day. 

In addition, dimming the lights a few hours before bed, limiting screen time (including TVs), and creating a cozy, dark, and cold bedroom environment are all ways to improve your overall sleep. Health professionals say that regular exercise and limiting alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine consumption can also help your sleep health. 

Here are a few other options you might want to consider that can benefit your overall wellness:

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