Sometimes every person has a hard time going to sleep. The cause varies from person to person, but everyone wants to solve the problem.
Of course, there are some basic habits that most of us have that affect sleep quality. That Starbucks drink at 4 pm is likely to keep you up until after midnight, and stress and anxiety are notorious troublemakers of healthy sleep patterns. Another culprit is your favorite device: the blue light from your TV, computer, or smartphone actually disrupts your circadian rhythm.
Insomnia is no joke. An estimated 70% of Americans have some type of sleep disorder, and 10% of those cases are chronic. Adults typically need 7-9 hours of sleep, while teens need 8-10 and children need about 10-12 hours. 34% of Americans report falling asleep unintentionally during the day- which means that the quality of sleep for these people is not great.
What is Circadian Rhythm?
Let’s dissect this quickly: Circadian rhythm is the pattern of the brain, which is basically timed to release certain hormones at certain times of the day. The rhythm is actually a collaboration between your external environment and your internal neurological cycles. The result is a pattern of mood, behavior, and rest that repeats itself every 24 hours. When this rhythm is healthy, we get tired at the same times every night, stay awake throughout the day, and are generally mood stable. However, if we spend too much time on our phones, the blue light illuminating the phone screen can trick the brain into thinking it’s still early in the day. Sunlight gets warmer over time, and many phones and TVs offer the ability to change the light temperature for this reason.
What factors can affect sleep quality?
But even people who don’t spend an inordinate amount of time in front of a screen can suffer from sleep problems. Whether it’s due to anxiety or a sleep disorder like sleep apnea or general insomnia- or maybe you just don’t feel safe enough to sleep, for whatever reason. There’s also a chance that the reason you can’t sleep is literally just because your neighbors or roommates or dog or cat are too loud or too annoying or too clingy (your dog or cat, that is)- or that the streetlight is literally right outside your window, or you live above a bodega where mariachi is played 24/7 (I’ve been there!). So I’ve put together a list of some tried and true products that will help you sleep better, no matter what the cause!
How can you treat sleep apnea?
First, I want to address the type of sleep disorder that is not easily treated- sleep apnea. For this, you need a proper diagnosis and a proper sleep device that actually regulates your breathing. People with apnea can actually stop breathing during sleep, or they don’t sleep deeply enough, and sleep equipment helps you regulate these automatic functions that are out of sync.
What sleep equipment can help me fall asleep?
CPAP machines are only for people with diagnosed sleep apnea- so what sleep equipment can you use if you don’t have one but need something additional? Fortunately, there are many, many (and I mean MANY) sleep items that will help you get a better night’s sleep. There are white noise devices that can play everything from jungle sounds to static to ocean waves, and many people swear by them. They’re great for people who live in a noisy part of town – or even for people who live in a place that’s *too* quiet. Some of these devices even provide the background noise of city traffic, for the person who grew up in the city and never quite got used to the quiet of the suburbs.
Can white noise machines help me sleep?
This white noise machine also has an ambient light night light feature and offers 30 different sounds, including white noise, fan, nature sounds, and even lullabies, making it suitable for children and babies. Other items for better sleep include sleep products that regulate the temperature of the mattress, not to mention actual mattresses with built-in temperature sensors. Then some mattresses allow you to adjust the firmness and softness, as well as increases… the list goes on. Depending on how serious you are about customizing your sleep experience (and how much you’re willing to spend), you can find a mattress that does everything you can imagine.
Can pajamas help you sleep better?
If anxiety is the cause of your insomnia, many items can help you sleep. Sensory sleep products can be a lifesaver. Soft pajamas, silky pajamas, weighted blankets… anything that will put you in a cocoon state. A good pair of breathable, soft pajamas will make a huge difference in the quality of your sleep. You won’t toss and turn, sweat, have nightmares, or be unable to relax because you’re so darn cold!
To help your little one snuggle in and sleep blissfully, this 3-piece set is a solid choice. With over 19,000 five-star reviews, you can shop with confidence. You can also choose from an array of cute styles!
Speaking of very popular, this comfy AND cute silk set for women is also a mega-bestseller. It’s available in pretty much any color you could want, so the selection is wide and the risk is low. Silk pjs are extremely comfortable, and the shorts and cami combo are perfect for summer nights- or just for those of you who like the security of sleeping under blankets.
And for guys, these versatile lounge pants are not only great for sleeping comfortably, but also for staying relaxed when you’re working from home or doing literally anything that lowers your stress level. Comfortable clothing provides a sense of security and well-being, and these lounge pants definitely deliver.
Are sleep masks good for sleep?
Light can definitely be a hindrance to falling asleep, and the right mask makes a big difference. If a mask doesn’t fit properly, light can seep in at the sides, and an uncomfortable sleep mask will only make it harder to fall asleep. Not only is this mask molded with memory foam for maximum comfort, but it also makes it impossible for light to get through any cracks or gaps between your nose and the mask. And with thousands of positive reviews, you can be confident in its effectiveness.
Can I use Earplugs to sleep better?
Earplugs are also essential for the noise-sensitive among us, whether it’s a natural predisposition or your neighbors are arguing or there’s a car alarm going off constantly out on the street. Combine the earplugs with the sleep mask for a disturbance-free sleep experience. This set comes with five reusable pairs of earplugs that can be conveniently stored in their plastic case, so you don’t have to keep buying new AND and will never lose them.
How can you use headphones to sleep better?
Many people use music to fall asleep, either to calm anxious thoughts or because their parents have put on music for them since childhood or, if your life is particularly busy or hectic, simply to relax in those precious quiet moments before bed. The right headphones will improve the sound quality and put you in a dreamy place where sleep will find you all the easier. Here are some options for outer and inner ear headphones, depending on what you prefer. Also check out these noise-canceling headphones, which are great for those who have roommates, live in a dorm, or just live somewhere where there’s a lot of outside noise. They are wireless Bluetooth headphones with deep bass and hi-fi, so even though these are worlds cheaper than standard noise-canceling headphones, you won’t have to sacrifice sound quality. They’re also a #1 bestseller!
You can also try guided meditations, binaural beats, hertz frequency music, white noise, nature sounds, ASMR, or even a podcast or audiobook. Whatever you find most relaxing! I have a friend who put his kid to sleep with books about technology because he thought the kid would be bored out of his mind, and all he got out of it was a kid who now has an obsession with bridge suspension math. So choose wisely.
Can you take melatonin when you have sleep problems?
If you go to a doctor for your sleep problems and you don’t have sleep apnea, the first thing he’ll probably tell you is to take melatonin. You don’t need a prescription for melatonin because it’s a mild hormone that’s actually a natural part of your circadian rhythm. In fact, you can buy it pretty much anywhere, including here.
How do Weighted blankets affect my sleep?
If you’re anything like me, the option of sleeping without a blanket is simply out of the question. I don’t care how hot it is. I’d rather run the fan and have my feet outside the blanket and keep that weighted security than sleep with nothing but a sheet. Weighted blankets are perfect if you have this problem too, because not only do they give you that huggy feeling and extra pressure for security, but they are also super breathable. Weighted blankets don’t retain body heat, so you stay cool without sacrificing comfort!
There are TONS of weighted blankets to choose from, so I’ve just gone ahead and linked the top choices in terms of quality/reliability from reviews, affordability, and cuteness (also an important factor, right?). I gave this one (link) to a friend and she absolutely loved it. This one has a textured duvet cover, perfect for those who need sensory options to relax (and also PS, people on the autism spectrum also have a lot of success with weighted blankets that help with overstimulation or sensory overload- and that can also affect sleep quality). There are also some great options for kids.
So there you have it! Hopefully, among the myriad options here, you’ve found something to help you on your journey to better sleep. From melatonin to Whitenoise devices and headphones to earbuds and loungewear, I wish you the best of luck sleeping like a baby- and not one who wakes up every three hours to eat.