Are sleepless nights leaving you utterly exhausted come morning? Do you spend more time after midnight staring at the ceiling or watching the time on the clock click by slowly instead of getting some much-needed shut-eye? If you spend what should be your sleeping hours wide awake pleading with your body to shut down and go to sleep and your mind to stop racing, we have everything to do when you can’t fall asleep. Trust us, sleepless nights are soon to be a distant memory of the past.
Upgrade your mattress
If the mattress you’re sleeping on is old, worn-out, and unsupportive, it may be time for an upgrade, especially since our bodies and their needs change with age. Dr. Peter Polos, a sleep medicine specialist and sleep expert for Sleep Number, says beds are an underappreciated aspect of a proper sleeping environment, and they go a long way toward promoting a good night’s rest. “Think about it; sleeping on a worn-out bed can leave tossing and turning more throughout the night,” he shares. “And we all know that a restless night often feeds into our everyday lives, meaning that if our sleep schedule is off, we feel off.” Likewise, sleepless nights lead to sluggish days with an inability to focus properly. “So, it’s important to invest in a supportive bed that keeps you comfortable and can adjust to your individual needs throughout the night,” Dr. Polos adds.
For an organic, luxury option, consider the Essentia Dromeuse Organic Mattress, a deeply contoured mattress that promotes restful, therapeutic sleep — it’s a favorite amongst athletes for that very reason. There are also adjustable mattresses, like Sleep Number’s Classic Series, for amendable comfort on each side of the mattress so everyone is happy. “Adjustable mattresses are beneficial for those that experience aches and pains or prefer something firmer,” says Dr. Polos.
Aside from the mattress, it’s important to consider the sheets, too. Dr. Polos says that cooling fabrics can help promote sleep. “One of the triggers for sleep is a cool environment, and there are certain bedding materials that pull heat and moisture away from the bed to keep the surface cooler and the sleeper more comfortable throughout the night,” he shares. So for a cool sleep and consistent body temperature throughout the night, make up the bed in Molecule’s Percale Sheets, which are light to the touch and feature a sustainably sourced fiber for its comfort factor.
Take a plant-based sleep supplement
Long ago, many sleepers who tossed and turned relied on the power of plants to induce a state of sleepiness. Fast forward to 2022, and it’s all about plant-based everything for a more holistic and natural way of life, sleepless nights included. Plants have the innate ability to quiet the mind and body and reduce restlessness and anxiety, so you can fall asleep faster and stay asleep throughout the night.
Several nighttime supplements employ potent botanicals, plants, and even herbs as a more natural way to induce sleepiness. One to try is RealSleep, a customized sleep formula that is anything but a traditional sleep aid. Counting CBD and CBN as key ingredients to promote a normal yet natural sleep cycle, there’s no groggy feeling come morning with these. There’s also R3SET UNWIND, which harnesses adaptogens (beneficial herbs), like ashwagandha, to make falling asleep easier. According to Spate, searches for “ashwagandha gummies” have increased by 5500% over the past two years. Some sleep supplements contain L-theanine as a key ingredient, like Zuma Nutrition, which lowers stress to improve healthy sleep patterns.
Go crazy with the lavender
The lavender plant, either as a whole plant or in essential oil form, displays soothing and trance-like (safe, of course) characteristics to help ease restless nights and encourage healthy sleep hygiene. It’s accessible, smells good, and not that expensive. From all-inclusive lavender-rich kits, like Lovery French Lavender Relaxation Spa Bath and Body Gift Basket that comes with every essential to create a nighttime ritual, and lavender sprays to spritz on your sheets, like this one from Sunday Riley Slumber Party Restful Sleep Pillow Spray — the options are endless.
One of the more innovative ways to incorporate lavender into a nighttime wind-down routine is shower steaming. To do it, turn up the shower, so it’s pretty hot and generates a nice amount of steam. Then, add a lavender shower steamer from Anihana. The steam from the shower causes the steamer, which resembles a bath bomb, to become effervescent and release lavender essential oils to help quiet your mind, body, and soul.
Layer on a weighted blanket
When a regular blanket won’t do, consider a weighted blanket. These heavier blankets are cozy and warm and create a bit of light pressure — nothing uncomfortable. The thought behind the weightiness in these blankets is that it encourages the release of serotonin, the feel-good chemical that puts us into a state of relaxation. When the body is more relaxed and comforted, it’s easier to fall asleep and make the most of that sleep period.
“Weighted blankets, like Sleep Number’s True Temp™ weighted blanket, can help reduce stress and promote relaxation,” says Dr. Polos. “Weighted blankets use deep pressure stimulation and temperature balancing technology that continuously adapts and removes heat and humidity away to help people sleep comfortably and at just the right temperature.”
Pop a melatonin pill
Melatonin is a naturally-produced hormone that promotes sleep and maintains a healthy sleep-wake cycle. As Dr. Polos explains, the body naturally produces melatonin at night, and its production is tied to our circadian rhythm. “When it’s released, it signals the body that it’s time for bed.”
When taken as a supplement (it’s available in a wide variety of formulations, including powders, drinks, oral tablets and pills, and gummies), it can help travelers better and easily adjust to jet lag and delayed sleep-wake cycles. “For example, for people dealing with insomnia, melatonin is often prescribed 30 minutes before bedtime, and those with jet lag should take melatonin before the intended bedtime before leaving for a trip and a few days after returning,” says Dr. Polos. “Finally, shift workers are advised to use melatonin at the end of the shift at their intended bedtime, and those with delayed sleep-phases are advised to take a dose before their normal sleep time.”
If drinking your way to dreamland is more your thing, consider B Great Relax Shots, melatonin- and CBD-rich liquid drink that helps put the body at ease and into a more relaxed state. There’s also Mixhers Hernightly, which features a sleepy-time mix of melatonin, collagen, biotin, ashwagandha, and chamomile flower so that you can enjoy a deeper, more restful sleep. Just mix the chocolate-flavored powder with your favorite milk for a delectable pre-bedtime treat. Melatonin gummies, like Olly Sleep and No.8 Sleep, are also popular.
Practice a regular nighttime ritual
Many experts — Dr. Polos included — recommend following a checklist of sorts for falling and staying asleep. While everyone is different, what works for one person may not be suitable for someone else. Below is Dr. Polos’s suggestions for a healthy sleep routine:
- Establish a regular sleep routine with a set wake up and fall asleep times daily (including weekends!)
- Track your sleep data to optimize it over time
- Allow for seven to eight hours of sleep nightly
- Shut down all electronics 60 minutes before bed to avoid blue light exposure
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol within four hours of bedtime
- Make sure your room is dark, quiet, and cool
- If you exercise, do so at least one hour before bedtime
- If necessary, relax or unwind with tapes, music, reading, or meditation before bed
- Reserve the bed for sleep and sex. Do not eat, work or watch TV in bed.
If you’re feeling stressed out, you may have difficulties getting some decent shut-eye. That’s because stress releases a hormone known as cortisol, which can easily affect the circadian rhythm and sleep patterns. The options for controlling stress are limitless. Some more effective solutions include meditation, quiet yoga before bed, journaling, and indulging in regular massage using a sleep balm, like this one from Badger.
One of the newer ways to hinder unwanted stress and allow for peaceful sleep is with adaptogens, specifically stress-tailored products, like myAir bars. The brand’s research-based adaptogens formulations help reduce stress and instill a sense of calmness after just the first few days.
And, of course, there’s the time-tested trick of sipping on a cup of soothing tea — Sakara Life Sleep Tea is a favorite. Teas often contain plant-based sleep inducers and are the perfect calming way to end the night before hitting the sack.
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