Over the past two years, I’ve been learning how to meditate in an attempt to find balance, quiet my mind and, well, “zone out” on command, which is a nifty skill to have when traveling—especially on long flights. So when I heard about a new literally mind-altering product from Swedish sleep experts and luxury bed makers Hästens called “MindSpa,” I was intrigued.
The device, which was developed by some pretty great minds at Stanford University, uses flashing lights and rhythmic sounds, voice and music, or to use the technical term, "audio visual stimulation" (AVS), to relax the user, igniting Beta (alert), Alpha (calm), Delta (deeply meditative) and Theta (deep sleep) brain states to encourage sleep and refresh circadian rhythms (i.e. it’s great for jet lag).
Wanting to experience this tranquil bliss for myself, I decided to put MindSpa to the test, and had the perfect opportunity when a recent flight of mine was delayed at LaGuardia Airport.
I strapped on my fully wired eye pillow (there are sunglasses if you prefer), put in the ear buds, turned on the iPod-like device, selected my program, and voilà—Zzzzville. (Before I drifted off, I heard the little boy across from me ask his mom, “What does she have on her head? Is she going to fly our plane?”) You may look weird, but it works. And if you don’t fall asleep immediately, you’re guaranteed to at least experience a tingly sense of calm. The challenging part is the price—a hefty $995.
Which brings me to today’s news: I’m pleased to report that a free iPhone app version—which was created with the world’s premier behavioral expert Dr. Richard Bandler and also promises to put travelers into deep relaxation within minutes—is now available from the Apple Store/iTunes. I downloaded the app this morning, and have already taken two power naps. Don’t tell.
Adrien Glover is the online deputy editor at Travel + Leisure.