These sleep gadgets are way weirder than counting sheep

Cuddle a headless cat pillow and crawl into a pod as we explore some of the strangest inventions designed to lull you to sleep.

Amanda Kooser
Freelance writer Amanda C. Kooser covers gadgets and tech news with a twist for CNET. When not wallowing in weird gear and iPad apps for cats, she can be found tinkering with her 1956 DeSoto.
Amanda Kooser
Ostrich Pillow in use
1 of 16 Ostrich Pillow

Put your head in an Ostrich Pillow

Getting your ZZZs isn't always easy, so it's no wonder we turn to head-engulfing pillows, robotic cuddle buddies and fancy face masks in an effort to get to sleep.

Sometimes hiding out from the world doesn't sound like a bad idea. The Ostrich Pillow lets you do it in a comfortable though bizarre-looking manner. This unusual pillow has an opening for your head as well as smaller openings to tuck your hands inside. 

You can take a power nap almost anywhere and pretend nothing else exists outside of the dark confines of your head pillow world.

2 of 16 Ostrich Pillow

Ostrich Pillow Light

The original Ostrich Pillow was a big hit, but it was also a bit bulky for people who prefer to travel light. That's where the Ostrich Pillow Light comes in. This less-weird-looking take on the pillow concept just covers up your eyes and ears. 

You can wear the Ostrich Pillow Light like a fashion-forward scarf around your neck when you're not actively sleeping in it. So stylish.

3 of 16 Somnox

Cuddle with Somnox

The Somnox pillow may look like a giant plush jelly bean, but it actually contains a robot equipped with an audio sensor and a carbon dioxide sensor. The pillow "breathes" as you hold it close, a sensation that's supposed to relax you and help you sleep. If you're into cuddling with robots, this is the gadget for you.

4 of 16 Chris Monroe/CNET

Nokia Sleep

This low-profile gray pad is Nokia Sleep, a Wi-Fi-enabled gadget introduced in 2018 that goes under your mattress and tracks everything from how long you sleep to whether you snore. Nokia Sleep is designed to work with smart home gear so it can adjust lights and thermostat settings to help you snooze better. 

5 of 16 Tim Stevens/CNET

Robo cat pillow

This is a pillow. It's also a fake cat without a head. It's called Qoobo, and it emerged in 2017 from Yukai Engineering. When you pet it, the tail moves. That's pretty much all it does. Yukai is planning to release the cat pillow in late 2018. 

How does this play into getting better sleep? Qoobo is more polite than a real cat. It won't walk over your face in the morning or sit on your chest and meow at you in the middle of the night. 

6 of 16 Snoo

Let baby snooze in a Snoo

The Snoo Smart Sleeper from 2017 is a bassinet with brains. MIT Media Lab engineers helped develop the crib, which is equipped with microphones, a speaker and a two motors. It uses a rocking motion and white noise to encourage your little one to fall asleep so the adults can enjoy some quiet time. 

7 of 16 JetComfy


JetComfy was a 2015 Kickstarter project that gave us some interesting photos to contemplate during its crowdfunding run. The concept was to take a face pillow and add an extendable arm that attaches to the seat arm on an airplane. Then you just set your face onto it and presumably dream your way through the flight. 

JetComfy eventually reached the market as a real product. It shows just how desperate people are to make their plane trips more comfortable.

8 of 16 Dreamcase

Snooze in your Tesla

You're probably squinting at this picture, trying to figure out what's going on here. This artsy shot shows a Tesla with the rear open and a Dreamcase mattress inside. It's pretty much an entire fold-out bed designed to tuck inside your Tesla. Sweet electric dreams, my friend.

9 of 16 Dreamlight


Would you like to feel like you're in a sci-fi movie? Then you may want to wear a Dreamlight, a high-tech sleep mask that uses light and sound to lure you into a slumber. Dreamlight has been raising funds on Indiegogo since earlier in 2018.

10 of 16 Pause Pod

Pause Pod

The Pause Pod pop-up privacy tent was essentially a blanket fort for adults. It was meant to block out the world and allow for naps or other relaxation exercises in just about any space, including at home and at work. It was also designed to hold a tablet or phone to provide in-pod entertainment.

Pause Pod ran a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in 2017, but left behind some unhappy backers who say they didn't receive all of their promised products. 

11 of 16 ThinkGeek

Tauntaun sleeping bag

A sleeping bag isn't exactly high tech, but ThinkGeek's tauntaun sleeping bag, originally introduced as an April Fools prank in 2009, is worth a shout-out thanks to achieving an epic level of Star Wars geekiness. The best part is you don't have to gut the tauntaun yourself.

The sleeping bag became a real product, but it's regrettably no longer sold by ThinkGeek.

12 of 16 Firebox

Podtime Sleeping Pod

This one isn't for people who suffer from claustrophobia. The Podtime Sleeping Pod was available in 2012 from Firebox, a UK seller of weird stuff. It's exactly what it looks like: a luxurious, mattress-equipped tube you can sleep inside. It's kind of like having your very own capsule hotel room.

Max Motor Dreams
13 of 16 Ford

Ford dreams

A lot of parents love to take their babies for a drive because the car's motion helps lull the little ones to sleep. Ford decided to mimic that with a 2017 concept crib called Max Motor Dreams

The cot uses a speaker to sound out soothing engine noises. Gentle LED lighting adds ambiance and the crib moves to simulate a car trip. They should make one of these big enough for adults.

DreamPad pillow in use
14 of 16 Amanda Kooser/CNET

DreamPad pillow

The DreamPad pillow from 2014 represents an unusual use of bone-conduction technology. It came about as a solution for people who don't want to wear earphones to bed, but also don't want to bother their partners. It can play either soothing bedtime sounds or any podcast or music you want from a connected device. 

15 of 16 Sleep Shepherd

Sleep with a hat on

The Sleep Shepherd promises to track your sleep using brainwave sensors combined with motion detection. It plays tones through built-in speakers over your ears that are meant to soothe you and help you snooze. 

A CNET writer tried the hat version of the Sleep Shepherd in 2015, but didn't get many restful nights out of it.

16 of 16 Forrest Jessee

Sleep Suit

This unusual design caught the internet's attention in 2010. It's the Sleep Suit, a concept created by architect and artist Forrest Jessee. The accordion-like folds cushion you body, allowing you to dig in for a nap just about anywhere. It also looks like it could star in an avant-garde runway fashion show.

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