If you purchase an independently reviewed product or service through a link on our website, SPY.com may receive an affiliate commission.
Dealing with both chronic and short-term insomnia can be a nightmare. As a chronic insomniac myself, the reasons for sleeplessness run the gamut. I’ve always been jealous of people who can fall asleep anywhere because when I lay down in bed, my mind turns into a playground of anxiety filled with racing thoughts and reminders of everything I’ve been putting off. Even as a child, it wasn’t uncommon for me to toss and turn for a few hours before finally dozing off. The fact that my husband and dog perform a nightly snoring orchestra doesn’t help.
Since I personally prefer to stay away from non-habit-forming aids for sleep, I’m left with only a handful of alternative remedies to help keep me well-rested. While they may work individually, these natural sedatives work best as part of a bedtime routine that allows the brain and body to prepare to relax. They give me peace and sanity, but they’re also part of my own carefully constructed nightly regimen that includes:
- No screens an hour before bedtime
- Working out earlier in the day
- Nixing caffeine after noon
- Going to bed at the same time every night
Insomnia is no joke, and just a night or two without proper sleep can start to seriously impact your body. If you’re like me and deal with these issues nightly, you’re probably always searching for tips to get more rest. Whether you’re experiencing burnout, mental health struggles or are searching for products for new parents. these seven hacks will help you head off to dreamland. From the best sleep tea to the ultimate white noise machines and cooling pillows, here are the best sleep aids to help you fall asleep and stay asleep longer.
1. Earpeace Sleep Buds
As someone who has wasted money on practically every pair of earplugs money can buy, I can safely say that these work like no other. They’re a game-changer if you live with a snorer. If you’re someone with a shorter ear canal like me, you’ll also appreciate that these plugs have a less elongated fit, unlike many foam alternatives. The silky soft texture is also more comfortable and encourages sound sleep. Just under $20, they’re a little more expensive than your average drug store ear plugs, but that’s because these are reusable and easy to clean. These durable plugs never fall out and feature an easy-to-reach pull tab when you are ready to remove them. Every model includes three sets of filters (11, 14 & 19-decibel reduction) so you can get customized serenity whenever you need it.
2. LectroFan Noise & Fan Machine
I’m an insomniacs who prefers their white noise to be more natural. While some people might be able to doze off listening to the sound effects of a waterfall, waves washing ashore or small birds chirping in a forest, I just find those artificial sounds to be even more distracting while I’m trying to fall asleep. That’s why I invested in one of the best sleep aids: the LectroFan Noise & Fan Machine, which only uses natural white noise. Choose between 10 fan sounds and 10 white noise sounds, with a range of volume levels and upward speaking producers that spatially fill the room. An automatic shut-off feature and timer allow you to save power, while the look is subtle enough to fit in with any bedroom.
3. Valerian Root Extract
Since childhood, I’ve been immune to the powers of melatonin. But after some research, my mom picked up some valerian root extract (this brand specifically), which ended up being one of the best sleep aids in my younger years. This relaxation powerhouse affects neurotransmitters in a way that eases anxiety, stress and insomnia, making it a perfect choice for anyone who has trouble winding down at night. Personally, this supplement has helped me fall asleep faster, improved sleep quality and kept me in REM sleep for longer without any grogginess in the morning. I use the liquid extract, but not everyone loves the scent; it’s also available in pill form.
4. MUD\WTR Rest Blend
Described as a “coffee alternative’ MUD\WTR sells both a day and evening powdered drink mix. The daytime mix energizes while the evening mix is a personal favorite for promoting sleepiness. It has a bold flavor, akin to Masala chai, with chocolatey notes: a little sweet, a little savory and extremely comforting. Though you can buy the adaptogen and herb powder on its own, I recommend considering their Evening Ritual Starter Kit, which includes their signature creamer and a milk frother. The frother is useful since the concoction can get a little clumpy if not properly mixed. A powerful blend of calming ingredients like valerian root, passionflower turkey tail and chamomile make this proprietary blend a very effective sleep aid.
5. Cozy Earth Silk Pillow
This Cozy Earth pillow contains hypoallergenic mulberry silk rather than an animal-based filling, so I don’t wake up with the usual congestion, and it provides a density that encourages alignment for side and back sleeping. It feels cooler than cotton and is oversized to provide more surface area. With a medium loft, it’s soft but has a consistent, lump-free feel (there’s even a warranty against shifting) that promotes a more even spine angle. Somehow, it’s malleable like down but has a firmer feel, making it one of the best pillows for neck pain. And while the price is high, you won’t have to replace it every three months like those cheap department store pillows.
6. Foria Wellness CBD & Lavender Bath Salts
The is one of the best sleep aids for those who find comfort in baths. The act of taking a hot bath has always helped me drift off to sleep. But with the addition of these Foria bath salts with CBD and lavender, I face-plant into my sheets and black out for the next eight hours. CBD is an anti-inflammatory component of the cannabis plant that doesn’t get you high. But it does feel like you’ve just gotten a deep tissue massage, reducing inflammation all over. With the addition of lavender and kava, this calming, botanical-rich blend nourishes skin while removing discomfort. While it’s a little pricy, the cozy feel and mind-clearing effects are worth the splurge. Even if you can’t access CBD where you’re located, consider using a generous amount of Epsom salts, which are mineral-rich and contain magnesium, a known sleep aid.
7. Traditional Medicinals Chamomile and Lavender Tea
When all else fails, reach for this organic tea that settles the nervous system. Combining a potent blend of lavender and chamomile, this tea smells decadent and tastes excellent with a dollop of honey — iced or hot. Unlike some herbal teas that are tasty but ineffective, this makes a delicious after-dinner drink that will lull you to sleep. Often, I pre-make a big pitcher of it that I store in the fridge and keep on my night table in a water carafe in case I wake up restless or thirsty. Performance-wise, some people have compared its effectiveness to the best OTC sleep aid brands, and I agree. After a few cups, you might get hooked too.