The 3 Products A Sleep Specialist Uses To Snooze Through The Entire Night
Everyone has a trusty nighttime tool of their own—including doctors and sleep experts. Shoshana Ungerleider, M.D., a board-certified internal medicine physician at Crossover Health, is one who recently let mbg in on her must-haves.
"Since medical school, I have slept with earplugs and blackout curtains, and I make sure my room is 68 degrees Fahrenheit or cooler," the host of TED Health explained. By keeping her bedroom cool, dark, and quiet, Ungerleider says that these tools go a long way in promoting high-quality, deep sleep.
Here's your cheat sheet on the importance of each one and how to incorporate them into a snooze routine that's fit for an expert.
Earplugs are a game-changing product for tuning out noises that disrupt your slumber, and they top mbg's vice president of scientific affairs Ashley Jordan Ferira, Ph.D., RDN's sleep list too. Seeing as the majority of repair and restoration happens during the later stages of sleep (stages 3 and 4), it's important to minimize your exposure to anything that can jolt you out of stages—including street traffic or a loud AC.
These foam earplugs from veteran brand Mack's are designed to stay in your ears all night, but if you can't quite get the hang of using them, a sound machine that masks distracting noises would also work. (Just be sure to put it on a pink noise setting, as experts agree that white noise actually isn't the best sound range for sleep.)
Mack's Safe Sound Ultra-Soft Foam Earplugs ($8.54)
2. Blackout curtains
Just like sound can jolt you awake, light can also disrupt your slumber. Sleeping in a dark bedroom is super important for regulating the circadian rhythm—the internal clock that dictates our sleep-wake cycle and works best when exposed to bright light during the day and pitch-black at night (hence why many people find it easy to sleep when camping under the stars). Light exposure can still throw off sleep even when our lids are closed1, making blackout curtains another smart choice for the restful bedroom.
Unlike many of the bestselling picks on Amazon, these West Elm ones are made in a Crafted Fair Trade Certified facility that meets safe working standards. They're also on major sale right now, but if you don't feel like shelling out, here are a few other low-cost ways to make your bedroom darker.
West Elm Blackout Curtain ($70/2)
3. A fan or cooling device.
The final requirement on Ungerleider's list is a bedroom cooling device. As she mentions, you'll want to aim to keep your sleep environment at a frosty 68 degrees Fahrenheit or less, as this facilitates a drop in core temperature that helps prepare the body for bed.
Not only will this Dyson fan get the temperature just right; its built-in air purifier will ensure that your bedroom air is free of potential irritants. Pro tip: As your room is cooling down, take a hot shower. It'll get your blood flowing away from your body's core, leading to that temperature dip that'll help you fall asleep fast.
Dyson Air Bladeless Tower Fan ($299.99)
When you're looking to create a bedroom environment that's ideal for sleep, cool, dark, and quiet are the words you'll want to remember. Consider taking a cue from a specialist and snagging earplugs, blackout curtains, and a fan or two to set yourself up for deep and uninterrupted rest.
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.
Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.