If you’re lucky, getting a good night’s rest doesn’t take much, and you can fall asleep (and stay asleep) easily. For the rest of us, these tools can provide a little extra help.
If you struggle to stay asleep as soon as the sun goes down, blackout curtains might be a worthy investment. They’ll keep your room dark for as long as you need, so you can wake up when you want to. There are other options for blocking sunlight to consider and research, including eye masks.
1. Blue light glasses or circadian-friendly lighting
Blue light signals to the brain that it’s daytime, and with the abundance of screens in our lives, it’s important to nix the blue light as bedtime approaches. You can try blue-light-blocking glasses, or consider changing your light bulbs for warmer, more circadian-friendly varieties.
2. White noise machines
Have trouble sleeping in total silence? Enter: the white noise machine. Not only are these little machines typically reasonably priced, they carry a variety of noises that can soothe your senses. Whether you like the sound of crashing waves, rainfall, or just a low background hum, there’s something for everyone.
3. An essential oil diffuser
Certain essential oils can work wonders for calming you down, like lavender and jasmine. In fact, one study found that smelling lavender oil before bed increased peoples time in deep sleep. And with an essential oil diffuser in your bedroom, you can fall asleep to the soothing scent of your choice.
There’s nothing like the ambience of a couple of lit candles in a dark room—and the effect is actually perfect for bedtime. Not only does the dim lighting signal that it’s time to wind down, but you can incorporate candles into the rest of your nighttime routine (whether it’s meditating, moving through a slow yoga flow, or reading a good book). Just remember to blow them out before you fall asleep!
Journaling is a great way to get your thoughts down on paper, reflect on your day, and simply relax. For extra sleep-supporting power, consider writing your to-do list for the next few days – before you go to bed.
It might sound counter-intuitive to think about the things you need to do, but writing them down before bed has been shown in research to help people fall asleep faster.
8. Weighted blankets
If you’ve never buried yourself beneath a weighted blanket, it’s quite the experience. Research has even found they can help some people fall asleep faster. There’s something super comforting about feeling swaddled underneath your favourite blanket.
9. Sleep trackers
And last but not least, one of the best ways you can know how well you’re sleeping is with a sleep tracker. If your tracker lets you know you’ve been spending too much time in light sleep, for example, you can make the necessary adjustments to reach those deeper stages (i.e. eating dinner earlier, skipping the nighttime glass of wine etc.).
Keep in mind…
Whilst these products can be very helpful, none of them can make up for lifestyle factors that aren’t conducive to sleep. Excessive alcohol or food consumption before bed spells disaster for a good night’s sleep, as does caffeine, lack of exercise, a hot bedroom, and stress. But once you’ve got your sleep routine in a good place, these options can only help.