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With 2020 (aka the Year From Hell) finally behind us, it’s time to move into 2021 feeling renewed, energized and ready to start a new chapter. And the first place to start is making sure you’re sleeping properly.
Considering how much human beings depend on sleep, and how much time we spend doing it, this behavior is still a relative mystery. While we know sleep is essential to rest, recovery and healing, there’s still so much we don’t know about what happens to the brain when we sleep or why it’s so necessary.
But we digress. What we do know for certain is that getting roughly eight hours of uninterrupted sleep a night is key to feeling good and functioning at peak capacity every day. So if you’re not sleeping so well, we’re here to help you remedy that.
Whether you’re affected by noise, light or a bed that’s well past its prime, we have a rundown of the best sleep aids big and small that could get you on track to more nights of rejuvenating sleep. There’s a huge market for sleep aids that help you get deeper, more restful sleep each night, and these are some of our favorites.
1. LectroFan Evo White Noise Machine
For those who live in dense urban areas, have roommates who stay up late or simply find the sound of silence to be deafening, some gentle background sounds can help to muffle the outside world and relax your brain so that you can fall into a nice deep sleep. And for this, a white noise machine is the perfect remedy. The small, compact LectroFan Pro can generate 10 types of sounds, ranging from white to pink to brown and can connect to headphones or a speaker depending on how you like to fall asleep. This is not a glorified MP3 player, however: The LectroFan Evo generates all the sounds that come from its speakers, so there won’t be a gap in a repeating loop that could potentially wake you up.
2. Bose Sleepbuds II
If you have a partner who doesn’t like the sound of white noise, or simply can’t stand your nightly snoring, the Bose Sleepbuds might be the perfect sleep aids for you. Bose is possibly the single best company around when it comes to noise-cancellation technology, and it put that magic to work in this pair of earbuds. Keep in mind that these wireless earbuds cannot playback music or TV shows, but instead are designed to play sleep sounds while you snooze. In fact, you can choose from a library of 40 different sounds, such as white noise and nature landscapes, and to ensure that you don’t rip these out in your sleep, the physical hardware has been designed to provide maximum comfort over the course of eight hours.
3. Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light
Exposure to the right kind of light throughout the day has been shown to regulate your circadian sleep rhythms in a healthy manner, and for this, the Philips SmartSleep Wake-Up Light will not only soothe you before bed as it bathes you in yellow light but can also give you an energy blast first thing in the morning with a healthy dose of white light. But even better, this sunrise alarm clock has a noise-machine built-in, which can help drown out environmental noise to help you fall asleep, or help you gently wake up in the morning.
4. C by GE Tunable White LED Wi-Fi Bulbs
If you’re feeling a bit more tech-savvy, or simply want to use your existing lighting, you can skip the standalone lamp entirely and opt for the C by GE Tunable White LED bulbs. These Wi-Fi smart bulbs are capable of mimicking the yellow and blue light which contributes to a night of deep, refreshing sleep and an energy-filled rise from bed. And when they’re connected to a device such as your phone, or a smart speaker in your bedroom, you can create routines that can gradually change the hue and intensity of the bulbs as you wind down or wind up to promote healthier circadian rhythms.
5. Fitbit Inspire 2 Fitness Tracker
While a Fitbit will not directly lead to you sleeping better, what it can do is provide insights on your sleeping patterns to help you make adjustments to your lifestyle habits and sleeping schedule. A good fitness tracker like the Fitbit Inspire 2 will track total sleeping time and your sleep schedule, along with the amount of time you spent in the light sleep phase, deep sleep phase and REM phase. It will then give you a sleep score to give you a quantified sense of how well you’re sleeping on a regular basis. So if you notice days in the app where you slept well, you can start to look for a pattern as to what factored into making that happen and continue to build a healthy routine around that. No matter which model you choose, fitness trackers are some of the most effective sleep aids available in 2021.
6. Withings Sleep Tracking Pad
If you can’t be bothered to remember to wear a Fitbit, let alone regularly charge it, a more permanent option may be in order. And for you, the Withings Sleep Tracking Pad may be the best way to track your sleep on a constant basis. Like the Fitbit Charge 4, the Sleep Tracking Pad slips under your mattress, takes your key sleep metrics and compiles them into a Sleep Score, while also tracking your heart rate and snoring over the course of the night. But taking things one step further, this sleep-tracking pad can also monitor your breathing and alert you if it notices any irregularities or suspects that you may be suffering from sleep apnea. Designed in collaboration with Nokia, Withings boasts that this thing has been clinically tested, so you can feel some degree of confidence that you’re not being sold snake oil here.
7. Nicetown Blackout Curtains
Some of the best sleep aids are high-tech; others are decidedly low-tech, like these blackout curtains. This may be obvious, but the presence of light makes it harder to sleep, and if you have curtains that let a bunch of light in, you might just wake up earlier than you intend to. In this case, you should consider getting a good set of blackout curtains that will turn your bedroom into a bonafide cave and ensure that the only thing coming between you and your sleep is your phone alarm. The Nicetown Blackout Curtains, currently available on Amazon, not only block out light but they’ll also reduce noise in the room they’re in. That potent combo makes these a great value considering they’re already affordable as is.
8. Natrol Melatonin Supplement Tablets
When your sleep schedule is erratic, irregular or you are just suffering from bouts of insomnia, it could be time to give a Melatonin supplement a try. This hormone, which is usually produced by the brain to regulate your sleep cycles, is believed to help to improve sleep if taken an hour or two before bed. And while everyone may respond differently to Melatonin, this 200-count bottle of Natrol Melatonin tablets is cheap enough on Amazon that you can try it out for a few months and see how it works for you. For anyone assembling gear to help you sleep better, Melatonin is a must-have sleep aid.
9. Eight Sleep The Pod Pro Smart Mattress
When sleep is an issue, the last thing people want to consider is that the problem could be with their bed situation. Why? Because the mattress is the most expensive variable to address with this problem. But it should come as no surprise, given a mattress is what you spend nearly all your time sleeping on, that people start sleeping better when they finally do knuckle down and upgrade their mattress. And for those who want to go all-in on a mattress that can monitor your sleeping situation on the fly and make a variety of adjustments as you sleep, the Eight Sleep Pod mattress has few equals. That’s why it’s one of the most effective sleep aid products for sale right now.
The most unique feature of the Eight Sleep Pod is that it has a temperature-regulating system built into the bed which can ensure that you’re always sleeping in optimal conditions. The way it does this is by building a series of tubes into the mattress itself, and then heating or cooling water at specific temperatures to achieve the desired effect. But in addition to maintaining the temperature of your bed, this mattress can track all your other sleep metrics, determine your optimal body temperatures during each phase of sleep, and can even connect to your lights or thermostat to establish a sleep routine that will leave you feeling refreshed every day.