The Travel Sleep Sound Therapy System is a travel alarm clock that not only wakes you up, it puts you to sleep, too.
How it works
A couple of nights before a trip overseas, I set the clock to the time zone at my destination. The digital screen displays both home and away, so you don't have to do the math. Once you've seen the time difference, it's easy to mentally prepare for the next time zone and you can switch between the two with the push of a button. If it's past midnight in London and you're still not out, tune into one of 18 nature sounds that are designed to lull you to sleep. After 30, 60 or 90 minutes, it automatically shuts off (30 minutes was enough to get me dozing). Wake up to the same sound or to an electronic beep. If you're travelling solo and miss your kids, get them to record a personal message and use it as your alarm.
Pros and cons
The sound selection spans from rhythmic ocean surf and chirping crickets to a chugging night train. They don't all induce sleep – the howling "wind," for instance, sounds like a spine-chilling special effect in horror films. I start off with the jet-lag reduction setting in hopes that my transatlantic exhaustion will disappear instantly. It didn't work miracles, but the tinkling medley is one of the more soothing sounds on the system. A universal travel adapter and back-up battery mean you can connect anywhere .
Thankfully, a headphone jack lets you use the clock to drown out background noise on planes and trains, too – but it's not a guaranteed cure for jet lag. Plus, if you're a light sleeper, some of the clock's sounds may actually keep you up. $89.99 (U.S.); sound-oasis.com