WHAT: From a Swedish bed manufacturer, Hastens MindSpa (www.hastens.com) is a digital audio player which employs special effects through sound and light that supposedly manipulate brain waves to achieve better sleep, sharper mental focus or relief from jet lag. The kit comes with sunglass-like eyewear and a sleep mask, both of which have light-producing points that blink. The earphones provide corresponding sounds, using voice, music or other audio impulses.
HOW IT WORKS: Hook up the eyewear and earphones to the MindSpa, about the size of a small digital camera. Push the power button and select a program from the video menu. For example, a better sleep session has blinking lights in various patterns with the hypnotic voice of a doctor. Sessions typically last 20 to 40 minutes.
HIGH POINTS: This thing is a trip. It's pricey but compelling. The sessions I tried seemed to work for more restful sleep and more energy upon waking. Plus, a short session during the day for a mental recharge was a blast. The sessions involving the spoken voice obviously tap into hypnosis. Programs also can be downloaded via the website.
LOW POINTS: It's expensive, and some instructions for the 35 or so programs may seem daunting at first. On the other hand, I was off and sleeping without reading any directions. Another negative: I didn't like one doctor's voice, so that made relaxing more difficult.