Having Trouble Falling Asleep? 9 Science-Backed Products That May Help
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. There are plenty of lifestyle tweaks that can help you settle in at bedtime, but if you want to go the extra mile, the following nine products might just do the trick:
A sleep supplement
From magnesium to melatonin, there are a variety of sleep supplements on the market today that can help with specific sleep needs.* For a supplement that combines the benefits of magnesium, PharmaGABA®, and jujube, consider mbg's sleep support+.* The science-backed formula is designed to help you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and wake up feeling rested—and it has hundreds of five-star reviews to its name.*
If you struggle to stay asleep as soon as the sun peeks over the horizon, blackout curtains might be a worthy investment. They'll keep your room dark as long as you need, so you can wake up when you want to. (And of course, there are other options for blocking sunlight too, like an eye mask or a large plant in front of your window.)
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 swapping out your light bulbs for warmer, more circadian-friendly varieties, like the dimmable Wind-Down light bulbs by Brilli or GE's Relax HD bulb.
A white noise machine
Have trouble sleeping in total silence? Enter: the white noise machine. Not only are these little machines typically priced pretty fairly, but 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. We're big fans of the SNOOZ White Noise Sound Machine, as it's energy-efficient and has an accompanying app that lets you control the volume and schedule. The Douni Sleep Sound Machine and Zenergy Portable Machine are also great picks.
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 subjects' time in deep sleep1. And with an essential oil diffuser in your bedroom, you can fall asleep to the soothing scent of your choice. (Check out our full guide on the types of diffusers available today, plus tips for diffusing to keep in mind.)
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 be sure to opt for nontoxic options like the Pure Calm Wellness Candle by Uma or any of Keap's nature-inspired scents, to keep the air quality in your room up to snuff. And of course—remember to blow them out before you fall asleep.
Journaling is a great way to get your thoughts out on paper, reflect on your day, and simply relax. For extra sleep-supporting power, consider writing out your to-do list for the next few days before bed. It might sound counterintuitive 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 faster2. And it doesn't hurt that there are tons of cute journals available today, like The Five Minute Journal by Intelligent Change, or the classic Passion Planner.
A weighted blanket
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 by your blanket, and with cooling options available, like the True Temp™ and Casper weighted blankets, you can stay comfy and cool.
A sleep tracker
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.). Consider trying out the Oura Ring, Whoop, Fitbit, or any of the other sleep trackers on the market today.
Keep in mind...
While 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.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Writer, as well as a registered yoga instructor. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from SUNY Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.