Getting a good night’s sleep has been pretty hard to come by this past year—let’s just say that. From a global pandemic to the storming of the Capitol in D.C., to thousands of folks losing their jobs and falling on hard times, getting some Zzzs has been the least of our concerns, but it really shouldn’t be.
More and more sleep studies are done each day, proving how vital sleep is in all aspects of our lives. A lack of sleep has been linked to a range of disorders including obesity and type-2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and arrhythmias, mood disorders, dementia, impaired immune functioning, and loneliness, to name just a few. Getting enough sleep each night is crucial to our well-being and happiness and is something I’ve struggled with for a long time.
It started when I was a freshman in high school. I would toss and turn in my bed until 2 or 3 am, worrying about whichever test or presentation I had the next day, anxious that I would fail or falter miserably. About 14 years later, and I still have occasional bouts of insomnia every so often—worries about a global pandemic certainly hasn’t helped the issue, either. Through years of dealing with insomnia, I’ve become somewhat sleep-obsessed and have tried every tip, technique, and sleep product out there in an effort to calm my anxiety and sleep soundly throughout the night. Below, you’ll find the products that I literally can’t sleep without, as well as ones I’ve heard great things about and am eager to try.
Leave your smartphone at the door with this nifty alarm clock. Loftie encourages you to use an actual alarm clock as your daily alarm, rather than your smartphone, so that you can avoid any distractions that keep you up until the wee hours of the morning (ahem, TikTok). Loftie features a nightlight, white noise maker, a speaker, ambient sounds, and more to help you break up with your smartphone at night.
I am basically incapable of falling asleep unless I smell lavender before I go to bed. The power of essential oils is real, y’all, and I’ve trained my brain to associate lavender with sleep. I like to roll on a blend of essential oils (with lavender) onto my wrists and sniff the scent as I’m reading my book before bed. Sometimes I like to smell lavender only, so I’ll use the Aura Cacia Essential Oil Blend Soothing Roll-On Lavender ($9.99).
No, these are not just any CBD gummies — this pick from Five CBD not only features a full-spectrum of cannabinoids, including CBD, CBN, and CBC, but they also have a very small about of THC in them, too, which I find helps lull me to sleep faster. I don’t take these every night, but more so when I have a full plate of work the next day and know that I need to get ample amounts of sleep to complete it all.
I’ve been taking this supplement pretty often since the pandemic began because I find that it’s so helpful in calming my body and mind before sleep. Replenishing your magnesium levels helps to put your body at ease, and I like sipping on this about an hour before I hop into bed.
As if my sleep issues couldn’t get worse, my partner also is an incredibly light sleeper, and both of us have trouble falling asleep, even in our king-sized bed. My partner tosses, turns, and sometimes even talks in his sleep throughout the night, and we’ve found that having two separate comforters has helped us immensely, so that we don’t feel each other moving around (and hogging the blanket) when we’re trying to catch some Zzzs. I love our Brooklinen twin comforters because, not only do they feel incredibly comfy and warm, but they have both the down comforter (his pick) and down alternative comforter (my pick), so that we can choose which filling each of us prefers.
Lavender scent plays a big role in my bedtime routine, and when I need an extra boost of the scent in my bedroom, I turn to my Vitruvi diffuser. Not only is this a very chic-looking diffuser, but it also is super quiet, and you can set it and forget it for a full 8 hours while you sleep. The Vitruvi Sleep Blend Essential Oil ($32.00) is a favorite.
I haven’t tried these Glow Lights by Casper just yet, but they are on my list of sleep products to test out soon, especially because I’ve heard such great things about them. In today’s modern world, we are bombarded with too much light at night, confusing our brain into thinking that we should be awake when really, it’s time for bed. These lights help you wind down naturally with their automatic dimming feature while you lay in bed and try to fall asleep. They are great for when you want to read in bed, but don’t want a bright nightstand lamp shining in your face and keeping you awake.
I’ll admit that I’m not a huge silk sheet fan, but have heard many folks rave about sleeping on silk, especially a silk pillowcase. Not only is it great for your skin and hair, but it also feels cool to the touch. So if you’re someone who gets overheated in bed often, consider swapping your cotton pillowcase out for a silk one.
If there’s one item you need to purchase for a sounder night’s sleep, it needs to be this white noise maker. The Dohm by Marpac has been my saving grace during nights when my partner stays up much later than me and crawls into bed while I’m sound asleep — and I never hear him come in, thanks to the Dohm.
Headspace is a great app to learn how to meditate, and I also love to use it for its wide range of ambient “soundscapes,” which include sounds recorded from all over the world. From birds chirping in the forest to ocean waves crashing, to rain hitting a tin roof, Headspace has every soothing sound imaginable to help me relax and prepare for sleep.
I’ve tried a million sleep masks out there, and this one is my favorite by far. It’s made from silk, is washing-machine safe, feels incredibly comfortable on your face, and is large enough to cover your eyes, including those spots where light might creep in on most other masks I’ve used.
Reading a book before bed helps me to temper my anxiety and distract me from my own ruminating thoughts before bed. I love a good fiction book from Book of the Month, and also enjoy the fact that I don’t need to do the research to figure out which books are worth a read and which aren’t — Book of the Month does it for me.
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