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These 4 tech gadgets improved my every day life -- and I didn't know I needed them

Practicing self-care? From making sure I start the day off on the right foot to tracking my stress levels, these odds and ends have made a big difference in my life.
Written by Min Shin, Associate Editor

Some of my most frequently-used tech products today are ones that I would have never thought to buy just by looking at them. These include gadgets to track my health, to help me wake up in the morning, and to remind me to unwind at the end of the day. They're great for when I need to practice self care and pay close attention to my health. 

Also: The best smart rings

These are all products that have helped me get through my day, whether it be by maintaining my wellness through a smart ring or helping me work productively with my favorite earbuds

Oura ring
Min Shin/ZDNET

The Oura Ring become one of my favorite tech purchases. I was a little apprehensive because of its hefty price tag but ultimately gave in after doing some research and deciding it would be something that could benefit me every day. The Oura app contains four main sections: Readiness, Sleep, Activity, and Resilience. 

Review: The Oura smart ring's brilliant new features outshine even its titanium finish

Every morning, I check my Readiness Score to see how well I've recovered mentally and physically. I also check my Sleep Score, which measures how well I've slept the previous night. The smart ring also tracks different stages of your sleep throughout the night, including the time you were awake, REM sleep, deep sleep, and light sleep. There is even an option to check breathing regularity during your sleep, as the ring detects variations in your blood oxygen levels. 

I've found that the Readiness and Sleep Scores help me figure out whether I should take it easy or prepare for an action-packed day. For example, after getting off a plane and feeling jetlagged for the following days, I noticed my Readiness and Sleep Scores were in the "Pay attention" range and focused the rest of the week on resting and recharging. Within the next couple of days, I was able to get my scores back to the "Good" and "Optimal" ranges. 

Also: The best fitness rings

Oura now also has a Resilience feature that tracks how well you bounce back from physiological stress. This is calculated by using two weeks' worth of data that are made up of the averages of your Daytime stress load, Daytime recovery, and Nighttime recovery. You can view the status of each individually and track your Resilience on the graph over time. Currently, the Oura Ring is $40 off on Oura's website. 

Hatch Restore 1
Min Shin/ZDNET

I enjoy my sleep, but in the back of my mind, there is always the nagging dread of waking up to the sound of my alarm, which used to be the classic blaring sound on my iPhone. Thanks to the Hatch Restore, I no longer have to rely on my phone to wake me up. Once you download the Hatch Sleep app and connect your alarm, you have the option to set the time that you want to wake up and then the Sunrise Duration -- how long you want the light display to stay on before your alarm goes off. I usually set it for 15 minutes. 

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

For example, if I want to be up by 7:30 a.m., the light display will start at 7:15 a.m. At 7:30 a.m., the alarm sound will turn on. You can pick anything from calming ocean waves to birds chirping. 

The benefit of the Hatch Restore is that I can even wake up before the sound of my alarm to the peaceful glow in my room. The alarm sounds are great, but feeling like you're waking up naturally to a nice sunrise is even better. You can purchase the Restore 2 for $30 off on Hatch's website, but I have found that the original model gets the job done. 

You can choose from a variety of different light displays that offer hues of reds, yellows, pinks, greens, and more. The light is gradual so that it doesn't immediately hurt your eyes. You also have the option to set sleep sounds if you like falling asleep to noises, like ocean waves or nature sounds. I've enjoyed the slow transition of waking up each morning and have found that I feel less tired throughout the day. 

My AirPods have been broken for a while now, and it wasn't until recently that I decided to purchase the Beats Studio Buds Plus. I was mainly looking for wireless earbuds that looked inconspicuous, had ample battery life, were comfortable, and didn't break the bank. The Beats Studio Buds Plus delivered on all of these conditions, and I even got them for $20 off at Target at the time.  

These are earbuds that I see myself sticking with for a while. I like that I can switch from Noise Transparency to Active Noise Cancellation by just pressing down on my earbud once. These options are great for when I'm taking a walk outside and want to be aware of cars and bikes while I listen to music or if I'm working at home and need to drown out the nearby construction. 

Review: Beats just refreshed its most popular headphone line, and I can't recommend them enough

The transparent gray color of my Beats Studio Plus makes my earbuds look subtle. Best of all, I can use these earbuds for up to six hours of playtime after each charge. One of the neat benefits of the Beats Studio Plus is that when I get a notification or reminder, I don't have to pull my phone out of its pocket to check the message. Thanks to Siri, the earbuds will recite the message for me. 

Min Shin/ZDNET

Ever wanted to unwind at the end of the day and fall asleep faster? The Renpho Eye Massager has been something that I've implemented into my bedtime routine. It's a heated eye massager that you pull over your head so that it shields your eyes. 

You can choose from a variety of settings for compression depending on how much pressure you want to feel the eye massager work on your temples and over your eyelids. You can even connect Bluetooth and play your favorite playlist. Currently, you can get it for $60 on Walmart's website. 

Review: This eye massager is a godsend for my migraines

On days when I'm staring at screens or reading a lot, the Renpho offers relief from eye strain and even migraines. I received the Renpho as a gift and would recommend this to parents, siblings, coworkers, and friends. 

What are examples of self care?

Self care is any healthy activity that makes you feel at ease and relaxed. This could be going on a walk, eating well, meditating, or taking a nap. 

How can I use technology for self care?

You might think that technology and self care don't go hand in hand, but there are plenty of tech products that actually provide us with peace of mind. Let's say you want to meditate but feel too distracted by the noises around you. A pair of noise-canceling earbuds can get you to a silent state of mind and aid you in your meditation journey. And if you want to learn more about your health and wellness, a health tracker like a smart ring or watch, could provide you with essential insights into your fitness and sleep. 

Other self-care tech we think you'd love 

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