Gadgets & Items for Improving Wellbeing

I own lots of weird and wonderful gadgets and items that I use in one way or another to improve my health and wellbeing. I have several ‘Weird Sh!t I Own’ videos already on YouTube, but I wanted to put everything in a list here for you. It has taken me about ten years to collect all the items on here, so don’t get too overwhelmed. Anyway, here goes…


FOR SLEEP

BLUE BLOCKING GLASSES

I own several pairs of blue-light blocking glasses for wearing in the evenings. Usually I wear the darkest ones (pictured at the top here). They really help with allowing the body to continue to produce melatonin in the evening and get me to sleep and feel chilled. You can buy here. The three pairs I bought are:

Viper BluBlockers (hard to come by now)

Duco Gaming Glasses (for wearing out in public. Slight tint.)

Retro Computer Glasses (for wearing out in public. Clear, but least effective.)


BLUE LIGHT FREE LIGHT BULB

This was an expensive purchase for a light bulb but I’ve already noticed the difference when I’m not wearing my blue light blocking glasses in the evening. This light bulb does not emit sleep disrupting blue light. I have it in a lamp in the lounge and use when I have friends over, or in the early evening before I start wearing my blue light blocking glasses. I have to say, it feels so much easier on the eyes. I think worth the investment from Amazon here.


BLACK OUT SHEET FOR WINDOW

I’ve had black out blinds for ages, but they always bled light around the edges. I bought a black out sheet a while back that sticks on with Velcro to the window frame, and allows my room to fall into total darkness. This has really improved my sleep. And they are very affordable. You can purchase here.

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BAMBOO BED SHEETS

I used to use Egyptian Cotton sheets, but have since discovered bamboo. They are hypo-allergenic, thermal regulating (keeps you cool in summer, warm in winter), soft, and more environmentally friendly compared to cotton. Check out some here.

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GROUNDING (EARTHING) SHEET

I talk about grounding/earthing in this blog, but essentially these sheet mimic sleeping on the ground and pulling up beneficial electrons (anti-oxidants) from the earth. I find I sleep better using them, and other reports are deeper sleep, less inflammation, cortisol (stress) reduction and more vivid dreams. Pricey, but have been worth it for me. I also have a grounding strap (which I’ve used in the past to help with specific injury sites on the body, and felt it helps, and a grounding mat under my desk when I’m working). You can buy on Amazon.


WEIGHTED BLANKET

Weighted blankets were originally designed for autistic children to help them sleep, but they work for most people. Mine is actually 9kg! They feel comforting and help to activate your parasympathetic nervous system and get you to relax and feel safe (a must for deep sleep). Again, quite pricey, but sleep is the most important health, productivity and life hack out there, so worth splurging. You can buy a blanket here, and I also cover with a bamboo cover specially designed for the blanket.


MAGNESIUM SPRAY

I talk about magnesium in this long (4000 word) blog post on supplements, but in summary, magnesium is great for muscle relaxation and inducing sleep. A magnesium bath is great, but not practical most nights. A spray is the next best thing for me. You can buy here. (Note Ease is my favourite brand, but it seems to have gone up from £26 a bottle to £65+!! I now buy other brands but find them sometimes tingle and don’t rub in as well. Shop around and try a few brands out, if Ease it outside your budget).


OURA RING

The Oura ring is a sleep tracker. It tracks movement, body temperature, heart rate, heart rate variability (HRV) and a few other metrics to tell you how much deep sleep, REM (dream), light sleep you’ve had, as well as wake ups during the night, and sleep latency (time to fall asleep). It gives you a ‘readiness’ score the following morning based on those readings, as well as previous days activities and your trends. Your readiness score then gives you guidance on whether it’s a good day to push it, or take it a bit easier. So that you don’t overdo it and more likely get ill or injure yourself. It’s pretty accurate (as much as these at-home trackers are), but it’s not cheap! I have had several trackers in the past and this one is the only one that’s lasted more than six months with me. The form factor is a big draw. More info about them here.


HOMMNI EYE MASK

I tend to only use eye masks when travelling as my room is totally blacked out. When I do though, I want to be able to have no light bleeding round the edges, and also to be able to open my eyes when wearing the mask, so my long eye lashes don’t touch the material. These do the job. You can get them here.


TOILET BOWL LIGHTS

I originally saw a version of these on Shark Tank (US version of Dragon’s Den) and loved them. You place in the toilet bowl and they are motion sensor activated so when you go to the toilet at night (gents, ahem!) you don’t need the main lights to aim well! You can pick up the ones I’ve got here.


MOUTH GUARD

Many of us grind or clench our teeth over night. Unchecked, this can lead to a wearing down of the teeth. Of course, getting to the root of the clenching/grinding is important (usually unresolved stress), but in the mean time, protecting the teeth is paramount. And I’m speaking from experience. I originally bought some guards online (they sent me a mould) and these were actually very good. Then I bought custom ones from a dentist after I had to have my teeth sorted a little as a result of the clenching.


LAVENDER OIL PILLOW SPRAY

Lavender oil can be a nice relaxing essential oil. I’ve been experimenting recently with a lavender spray on my pillow to help with sleep. I sleep very well already having spent the last 6 years focussing on this part of my wellbeing (you can learn more about how to improve your own sleep here: https://thethoughtgym.com/sleepsoundly .) Anyway, lavender is supposed to help with getting you to sleep quickly (I already do, especially after meditating), but also with increasing your REM (dream) sleep. I can’t say I’ve noticed that just yet, but my sleep/wake times have been a bit erratic since I got it, so time will tell on that one. Anyway, I picked up a bottle here on Amazon.


FOR WAKING UP

LUMIE DAYLIGHT ALARM CLOCK

Getting up in the winter is hard. And waking up to an ‘alarm’ sound – even if a great piece of music, is still hard. These gradually increase the light over a 30 minute period and gradually pull you out of slumber. Much like a natural sunrise would have done years before we became domesticated in homes. I bought the basic Lumie Bodyclock 30, although there are many other types from this brand.


LUMIE BRAZIL S.A.D. LIGHT

In the winter Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) can make people have the ‘winter blues’ and feel de-energised. It’s also important to have light first thing to re-set our Circardian Rhythm (body clock). Not easy in the winter. Indoor lights aren’t that bright. About 400 lux (unit of light intensity). Even a cloudy summer day could be 10,000 lux (and winter is often 2000 lux). By contrast a bright summers day would be over 30,000 lux. This light gives off around 10,000 lux when you’re about 6-12 inches away from it. I use for 15-60 minutes in the mornings to wake me up. A pricey device, but the last 3 winters that I’ve used it have been much easier as a result. You can look into them more here.


WHITE ‘DAYLIGHT’ LIGHT BULB

In office, where I might spend a portion of the day, although I have natural light coming in from big bay windows, in the winter it might not be enough. Using the Brazil SAD light can be too intense (particularly later in the day). I have installed a full spectrum ‘daylight’ white light light bulb instead. It’s pretty good at keeping me energised and alert in the gray winter days. Available on Amazon.


REBOUNDER

I love my rebounder. It’s a mini trampoline. I talk about it in this blog in more detail. Suffice it to say, that it helps me get active (gently) in the morning, and wakes up the body nicely. It’s also a good piece of exercise equipment. Not cheap – at least not my brand – but you get what you pay for. I bought mine in 2011 and have used pretty much every day since then. You can learn more and buy one here.

UK Store

International Store


FOR NUTRITION

VITAMIX

I bought a Vitamix in 2013, after breaking my usual blender trying to do too much with it. Comparing a Vitamix with a blender is like comparing a Space Shuttle with a car. Sure, they are both for transport, but not even in the same league. Another pricey investment, but all the friends I’ve convinced to buy one have always loved them, and never want to go back to regular blending. Seriously, if you want all your nutrition in one go, this is the way. Plus make ice-cream, soups, nut butters and more. Here’s the video showing my morning Super Smoothie to give you an idea as to what I mainly use it for. You can even get them via Amazon.


NUTRI BULLET

Although I have and love my Vitamix, it isn’t the most travel friendly (although I often travel with it in Europe and if going away for more than 4 days). When travelling to the USA (because of different voltages) I have a NutriBullet that I bought for there. They are about 1/5 the price of a Vitamix, but more than 1/5th as good, so a really viable option for those that don’t want to step up to a Vitamix. Pretty good investment. Not a smooth smoothies as a Vitamix and can’t do everything it can, but worth the £100 or so that they are. Available on Amazon.


BREVILLE BLENDER

This I only use around Europe when I’m travelling super light (usually just hand luggage) and I tend to skip most of the heavy vegetables using it (it won’t handle them). But it’s a good option for me to put some nut butter, fruit, super green powders and avocado in, to make a healthy breakfast at hotels. It’s super light, not very powerful unfortunately, but dead cheap. This was a present, and I still use it a few times a year when low on space in the travel bag, or only going away for a couple of nights. Available on Amazon.


WATER IONISER

I bought a water alkaliser/ioniser back in 2013. The idea is that you can make acidic and alkaline water. The science is a bit dubious on all this, and it tends to make up only 30% of my water intake (the alkaline water that is. Acidic water you don’t want to drink, but can be useful as a cleaning water), and I soak my vegetables in alkaline water. I can’t say 100% I would recommend, and not sure I would buy another one if this one breaks, but including it here as a gadget I use, as some people will want to investigate more on alkaline water. I see you can buy on Amazon, although I bought through a different site back in 2013, although I can’t remember which one.


WATER DISTILLER

Distilled water is pure H2O. No minerals in it whatsoever. You might remember using it at school chemistry lessons. It’s hungry water. In that it wants to bind to things. Water is a universal solvent. The theory is that it can help with joint pain as it ‘collects’ calcification from around the joints. Some people say it will strip other minerals from you, others say it won’t. I don’t know for sure. It does taste funny and I don’t drink it exclusively. Just around the house from a glass bottle (I wouldn’t put in plastic in case it absorbs some of the plastic). I reckon I have about 10-20% of my water as distilled water. You can purchase much cheaper than an ioniser here. You can also add minerals back into the water too, so that you end up with clean mineralised water (although I don’t currently do this). My normal tap water – even without the ioniser or distiller goes through three filters before it gets to me, so I have very clean water anyway. And the rest of my water is this. About 50%.


C3 WATER FILTERS (UNDER SINK)

Drinking good clean water is essential to health. Sadly, most tap water leaves a lot to be desired. Full of over 330 man made chemical you wouldn’t expect in there. From fluoride (an antibiotic, and possible neurotoxin) to ‘the pill’, mercury, chlorine and more. Of course, we can’t be too neurotic about all this. However, I always say, that in your own kingdom (your home), you do have some level of control. Even if it’s a rental property, I think some kind of filter, for at least your drinking water, is a good addition. If I only had one water device, it would be this (rather than the ioniser or distiller). A triple filter system that goes under my sink so the water coming out the drinking tap is as clean as I can get it. I bought mine as part of the Water Ioniser, and it’s been difficult for me to buy replacement filters (you must replace every 12 months) in the UK, so I normally get them sent to a US address and brought back by someone for me. Anyway, here’s a link to Amazon that appear to sell them.

1st Stage – Ultra Filter removes bacteria, virus and particles down to 0.01 micron
2nd Stage – Catalytic Carbon removes chloramines, chlorine and dissolved chemicals
3rd Stage – Activated Carbon removes chemical residue, pesticides, odor and bad taste


COLD PRESS JUICER

I’ve owned two juicers. A fast centrifugal juicer (from Philips) and a Slow Cold-Pressed Juicer from Kuvings. The cold pressed one creates a far superior tasting juice (even if both are using organic vegetables). As well as more yield and longer lasting before spoiling. More expensive, yes, but worth the extra money if you plan on juicing regularly – like I do. I’ve juiced pretty much every day since 2012. The first three years with a centrifugal one, and then since 2015 with a cold press juicer. I recommend really getting a cold press one. However, it’s really important to get the juicer that you think you will not mind cleaning! That’s the most important factor. Here’s a Kuvings one from Amazon.

(Note: My juicers are now a few years old so the one’s linked above are similar versions but not the exact ones I have.)


CAMELBAK DRINKS BOTTLE (& OTHERS)

I have tons of different types of water bottles for all eventuality, so I’m not going to list them all here, but just the ones I find most useful. First up is my 1.2l Camelbak one. I use it for my smoothies, as it keeps things cold for 24 hours (and hot for 6 hours). Useful when I travel for the odd day overnight, but day-to-day useful to keep the smoothie cool when I’m out delivering talks and training. And it means I’m less likely to eat bad food out and about, as I have that to hand. The next one, the Mira, I use mainly for drinking hot water (50/50 hot to cold is the best ratio I find), or herbal teas throughout the day. I also use a 1.5l water bottle for day-to-day travel and the gym, or sometimes my 1l one instead if I’m not going to be out for long, or don’t want as much weight. If I’m going for a long session in the gym, and sauna etc, I might even take this 2.2l one with me instead.

Note: I think they’ve stopped selling the exact Camelbak I have, but the one listed is as close a version as I have.


LUCKY FISH

This ‘Lucky Fish‘ is made from iron. You put it in soups, curries etc when you are cooking them and it seeps out iron into the dish. Useful if you think you might lack iron. Or course, it’s not measurable how much you are getting, so you might need to supplement if that’s important to you, but it doesn’t hurt to use it too. I often forget to use it if I’m honest, but it’s a cheap little solution, so might be worth getting. Available on Amazon.


BAMBOO & METAL STRAWS

Plastic straws suck. We shouldn’t use them. At home, to protect my teeth, I like to use a straw to drink my vegetable juices and smoothies. I use the bamboo ones for the juice, and then I bought wider metal ones for the smoothies. Although you can buy wider bamboo ones too, which I should have probably got in the first place. Anyway, here are the ones I bought.

Bamboo Straws

Metal Straws


FOR STRESS MANAGEMENT

HEART MATH MONITOR

I talk about Heart Math and heart rate variability (HRV) in this post. This monitor links up to the Inner Balance app from the Hearth Math institute to help guide you to a relaxed coherent heart/mind state. Basically calm and sanguine. It’s an expensive bit of kit for what it is, but unfortunately if you want to use the Inner Balance app, it’s the only thing that will link up with it. I use it most mornings when meditating and notice when I’m distracted it really affects my scores. You can buy one here.


SHIATSU MASSAGER

I love this thing. I use it when watching TV mainly. You can put it round your neck, on your legs, calves etc and it massages the tension away. Sure, not a good as a regular person, but you can buy one and use every day for about the quarter of the price of one single human massage (still do that when you can though). I bought several of these for gifts and most people that try it at my house end up buying one too. You can find many on Amazon.


NECK HAMMOCK

I only bought this in 2019, and was a bit dubious about it. You hang it on a door, and it effectively creates traction along the neck relieving neck tension. I find it does work. I use it for 15 minutes several times a week. The traction allows the neck to lengthen slightly and more blood to flow (and healing). Again, really cheap to buy and been a worthwhile investment for me. You can buy on Amazon here.


ACUPUNCTURE MAT

This mat is full of sharp plastic ‘nails’. Don’t worry, they don’t penetrate the skin. You lie down on it, and it’s like lying on plastic nails. I usually wear a t-shirt (a jumper is too thick to feel anything, and bare skin can be a bit too intense). It can help relax the back muscles, and chill you out a little. It can also be nice to step on to it barefoot too (or with socks). Pretty cheap, and I usually use in conjunction with the neck hammock. You can buy on Amazon here.

Note: The one linked is not the exact one I bought, and I didn’t buy one with a neck pillow. I use nothing or my neck hammock, or a normal pillow.


BUTTAFLY MEDITATION BLOCK

I often use a mediation block to practice my morning meditations (normally my evening ones are done on my bed, but I don’t want the association of sleepiness for my morning one). This Buttafly cushion/block allows my hips to be higher than my knees making it more comfortable to sit, but it also tilts the pelvis into a more comfortable position for the spine too. I bought this at a yoga show a few years ago now, but you can purchase the same one on Amazon.


DIFFUSER

In my office, I use a diffuser. I add some water, some essential oils and over the next few hours this diffuses a nice smell and sensation in to the air. Different essential oils are used for different things, so you’ll need to investigate. However, having a diffuser is a nice addition to keep me focus, relaxed and in a great mood while work. You can check out a few online, or this is the one I bought from Amazon.


FOR PHYSICAL BODY

ERGOTRON STANDING DESK

I bought a standing desk a couple of years ago to vary up my posture in the day. It sits on top of a normal desk and you can vary the height throughout the day. I usually have it high in the morning, then sit for a bit, then stand again as and when I feel like it. Of course, standing for 8 hours a day isn’t the solution to sitting for 8 hours a day, but at least it’s using slightly different muscles. The best is to vary movement as often as possible – even if standing. So every 30-45 minutes walking a bit, squatting, jumping on a rebounder etc. Just not sedentary for long periods (and that can be standing as well as sitting). Still, this is an expensive, but worthwhile investment, if you work at a desk all day. I might splurge one day and buy a walking treadmill to go under the desk too. For now, you can buy the Ergotron I bought here, although I think they have updated versions that sit more flush with the desk.


FOAM ROLLERS AND MASSAGE BALLS

I’ve used a few different foam rollers in the past. They can be useful for releasing tension along the legs (quads, hamstrings, calves, IT band) and back and chest. Some can be pretty tough and not actually relax you, but are useful for breaking down scar tissue or deep tissue work. Others are more relaxing and allow for the muscle to relax and not be on high alert. I also use a massage ball, and lacrosse ball for some parts of the leg, under the foot and shoulders.

Softer Foam Roller

Massage Ball

Lacrosse Ball

Hard Foam Roller

VIBRATING FOAM ROLLERS AND MASSAGE BALLS

I recently got into vibrating foam rollers and massage balls following learning about them in NFL Quarterback legend, Tom Brady’s book. These are rechargeable (and more expensive) versions from the ones above. I’ve only had them a week (as of 21 Feb 2020) but feel a difference. I especially like the massage ball. The foam roller is a little tough, but feel the vibration is loosening up the stiffness. Click on the pictures below to see the ones I bought (there are other brand versions of both I think).

Vibrating massage ball
Vibrating foam roller

FLEX BAR

I bought this when I had a bit of a case of tennis (or perhaps it was golfers) elbow. There are plenty of instructional videos on how to use these on YouTube to help alleviate tennis/golfers elbow. I found it quite useful and a useful addition for the rehabilitation stash of equipment. Available on Amazon.


RECOVERY WEAR – UNDER ARMOUR

UNDER ARMOUR RECOVERY WEAR
Under Armour Recovery Wear

I recently read the book by Tom Brady where he talked about recovery wear. What’s this. Smartly designed clothing enabling your body heat to be reflected back to you with infrared heat. Thus increasing blood flow and aiding in recovery. Some great online review got me curious enough to buy the sleep wear (they have daytime stuff too). I bought the trousers and the top. However, I don’t like to sleep in clothes so ended up wearing them in the day mainly. Brady teamed up with Under Armour to create them, but shop around as my friend got these for 1/3 the price that I did when he shopped from TK Maxx.


AWESOME TOES – TOE SPACERS

Most people tend to wear shoes/trainers that crush the feet. The widest part of the foot should actually be the toes. Having crushed up feet can severally affect balance/stability, gait, and subsequently knees, hips and more. These spacers allow you to spread the toes again. And what’s more, you can wear them and move at the same time. Most toe spacers don’t allow you to do that. I wear these most mornings (when I remember) before I head out for the day. You can even practice yoga in them. You can buy them here.


NETI POT

A neti pot is a nasal bath. You fill it with warm salty water, and then pour it in one nostril, while the water comes out the other nostril. You have to tilt your head to do this – and do over a wash basin too. It can help clear sinuses (when you have a cold, or eaten something that blocks you up, or after a day in polluted air). I really like this when I use it. Once you run the water through just blow your nose, but keeping both nostrils open, otherwise you can damage your ear drums. I’ve had mine for several years as I always had poor sinuses, but then I gave up dairy and gluten, and for the most part that’s cleared up my sinuses, so I rarely have to use it these days. Available on Amazon.


PIN HOLE GLASSES

I found out about pin hole glasses back in 2018, when someone told me they used them to help improve their vision. These are blocked up glasses with small pin holes that help focus the light into the eye. They definitely help a short sighted person see words clearer when wearing them, but the idea is they strengthen the muscles of the eye to help vision when not wearing them. I use for about 15 minutes most mornings, and while I can read clearer with them on, I haven’t noticed a difference in my unaided vision. Still, I’m hopeful! You can buy on Amazon here.


RED LIGHT / NEAR INFRARED LIGHT THERAPY BOX

I talk about light therapy as part of my Leadership BEAT Model under the ELEMENTS section – FIRE. This mainly refers to daylight, sunlight and being outdoors, but there is increasing evidence that things like red light, and near infrared light therapy can help with healing including tissue regeneration, scar tissue removal, collagen production and more. It’s worth reading more about, but I originally bought a red light box (with red light and near infrared light LED’s) to help with an injury. Worth looking into more but I think the use of light therapy will become more mainstream by 2030 as people understand its benefits more. I bought my device from here, but they are also some on Amazon from the same distributor. I bought a 500W version, half body one. This is a good (long ~15,000 words) blog post by a health professional called Alex Fergus that goes into a lot of detail on red light therapy.


GUA SHA JADE STONE TOOLS

I recently came across a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practice called Gua Sha. I don’t know too much about it, but it did intrigue me enough to start doing it. Essentially, a jade stone tool is use and rubbed on the body to draw blood flow, and thus, healing to the body. I use this tool for the face, and with the hope it delays the wrinkles a few more years! And then this one – more like a comb – on the body when I’m in the shower. With the one on the face, first put some cream/lotion on – I like using this one – so that it moves freely. I’ve made a video of my routine here. You can buy on Amazon, and learn more from this book too.


BODY FAT SCALES

While weighing and tracking body fat doesn’t work for everyone, there is a phrase by late great management guru, Peter Drucker, that says “you can’t manage what you don’t measure.” I don’t check my body fat or weight every week, but I do track it regularly, and have done for years. It allows me to see a picture of what’s going on particularly after changing eating habits, or exercise habits, or after injury etc. The scales aren’t accurate really, they usually say I’ve got more body fat than I actually have. For instance, via the callipers I use, I might be 14% and then on the scales it might say 24%. However, they are consistently inaccurate. And that’s important. As long as you measure at the same time of day, day of the week, and with the same level of food in you (I normally measure first thing in the morning, after morning (ahem) movements), you should be okay. It’s really the direction and change that you are looking for. Here are the ones I use, but there are probably better ones available now.


SHOWER HEAD SOFTENERS

In London we have hard water. Several years ago I bought some (very cheap) shower head replacements, with alkalising beads in them. Apparently they soften the water up. What I did notice is that my bathroom screen wasn’t as bad with scale any more, and my hair and skin felt softer as a result of using them. Worth looking into in any case. You can get some here.


What do you think?