The science of sleep has long fascinated scientists and researchers in the field. While it is yet to be fully understood, it is known that sleep plays an integral role in one’s health. In fact, inadequate sleep and poor sleeping patterns have been associated with a myriad of health challenges. This has created interest in the field simply because close to half of the nation’s population struggles with getting a good night’s sleep.
Shouldn’t it be easy to sleep? Simply close your eyes and drift to the beautiful world of sleep – just that this is not the reality for many who struggle with sleeping well. As a matter of fact, most people who suffer from insomnia, the medical term for the inability to fall asleep, would gladly trade a paycheck for just a few hours of sleep. This has led to the manufacture of products designed to help you sleep well.
Granted, there are a few products that are simply a sham. But it is important to note that there are products and tips that have an incredible effect on helping people sleep better. These are not substitutes for great sleep hygiene, but come in handy in the quest for some Zzzz. Below are the top 5 products to help you get the best sleep possible every night.
1. Noise Cancelling Earplugs:
One of the most popular sleep aid products is a pair of noise cancelling earplugs. Just as the name suggests, these earplugs work by cancelling background noise. This is a big deal for people who are extremely sensitive to noises in the background.
Whether it is a snoring room mate, racing cars on the street or the rumbling of aeroplanes during landing and take off, these earplugs are specially designed to ensure you fall asleep with greater ease. Depending on the brand you go for, always make sure that the plugs have a fitting contour shape to compliment entry into the ear canal.
Earplugs that lack a contour tend to fall out mid-sleep, so it is best to avoid this. The material used to manufacture these earplugs ought to be non-itchy and non-painful, otherwise it beats the logic of getting a pair. Many brands are made from memory foam which fits snugly in the ear canal and expand accordingly.
This allows them to stay in place even as you shift and turn in your sleep. Noise cancelling earplugs are specially designed for those who require total silence to sleep well through the night. Best of all, you can get these beautiful pair for less than $10.
2. Adjustable Beds, Comfortable Mattresses and a Foam Mattress Topper:
Perhaps you have seen those commercials for adjustable beds and wondered whether there’s any point of spending some extra bucks to enjoy a restful night. The good news is that adjustable beds actually have benefits for people who struggle with pain in the hips and knee.
The ability to recline the bed at an angle helps reduce the pain and discomfort in the joints, which in turn makes it easy to sleep well. In addition to adjustable beds, wedge pillows are also an excellent option for people who suffer from acid reflux. This is a condition in which the acidic contents of the stomach are pushed up the food pipe, leading to a burning sensation.
By setting the adjustable bed at a proper angle, coupled with a wedge pillow, there is a significant reduction in the number of times a person wakes up as a result of acid reflux. The same can be said of comfortable mattresses. A third option under this category is the use of a foam mattress topper.
In the absence of an adjustable bed, this topper is the next best thing. Simply unwrap it and place it on the mattress and you are good to go. The topper can also be used on inflatable mattresses, making it a versatile product.
3. Sleep Mask and/or Blackout Curtains:
The human body is designed to fall asleep in the dark, a phenomenon that has been tied attributed to the circadian rhythm. When exposed to constant light, it becomes hard to sleep well. This is where the use of a sleep mask and blackout curtains come in handy.
A sleep mask, just as the name implies, is a mask that covers the face and allows you to fall asleep. Now, it is important to note that this mask is not designed for use in the dark. It is, however, quite beneficial for those who have night shifts at work and therefore have to sleep during the day.
Another alternative that is closely tied to the use of sleep masks is blackout curtains. For light sleepers, there is nothing as annoying as waking up when the sun’s first rays hit your window particularly if the bedroom gets bathed in the glow of the morning light.
These blackout curtains are typically made of very heavy fabric, but one that’s soft and high quality. Bonus points for the diversity of colors used by many brands in manufacturing the curtains. So, no matter how sunny it is, you can always be sure to catch some sleep.
Tip: When shopping for sleep masks or blackout curtains, consider going for darker-colored options for maximum coverage if that’s what you would like.
Essential oils have long been used to enhance sleep by encouraging and promoting your psychological and physical well-being, hence the inclusion of aromatherapy as one of the ways to get sleep. There are many oils available in the market, and the golden rule to making these products work for you is to choose oils that are helpful in your relaxation. At the core of aromatherapy is the need to balance the body, mind and soul.
Essential oils used for this purpose are typically diluted before application. This is an important step because it prevents skin irritation at the site of application. The other option available involved diffusing the oils into the air. However you opt to use these oils, you can be sure to tap into their benefits for better sleep.
Below are some essential oils that you can use to improve your sleep.
- Lavender essential oil is one of the most effective forms of aromatherapy. Its benefits have been well studied as far as its relaxation properties are concerned. Lavender oil is effective in managing insomnia as well as reducing anxiety and depression.
- Jasmine essential oil has a delightful and relaxing aroma whose calming properties can be used to improve sleep.
- Ylang Ylang essential oil has a delightful floral aroma that is known to calm the nervous system while allowing the body to relax.
- Other oils include bergamot and clary sage.
The type of bedding that you use may seem insignificant, but it is slowly emerging that this does have a profound effect on the quality of your sleep. The texture of your duvet, the quality of your bed sheets and even the type of pillow you use will affect how you sleep.
Considering that you will spend more than a third of your lifetime asleep, you may as well splurge on quality bedding. Look out for linen duvets designed to make the bedroom a welcome sanctuary after a long day’s work. The use of linen creates a snuggle and cozy environment to help you sleep.
When it comes to bed sheets, there has been furore over the use of organic (preferably cotton) bed sheets. Additionally, the process of laundry also has an impact on the quality of the bed sheets. If you are sensitive to certain scents, it is important to avoid using detergents and fabric softeners that are too scented.
As far as pillows are concerned, the emergence of herbal pillows has been shown to enhance sleep in people who struggle to get a good night’s rest. While these herb-infused pillows are not a form of treatment in themselves, they go a long way in helping one get ample rest. Anything that adds to your comfort is a great way to improve your sleep.
In addition to these products, there are habits that you can incorporate into your routine to improve your sleep. Create a sleep routine that helps signal to the mind and body that it is time to sleep. Include relaxing actions such as a hot bubble bath, reading a book, meditation and even journaling. What you want to avoid is a workout just before bedtime as this stimulates the body’s systems. Put off your gadgets – that means stop scrolling to see just one more photo.
Research shows that the light emitted by gadgets at night inhibits the production of melatonin, a hormone associated with sleep. This is also important because it helps you to clear your head. The idea is to have a clear mind before you slump into bed. Ultimately, you want to make it easy for your body to sleep well, with remarkable ease. Be sure to consult your doctor if you notice you are still struggling to fall asleep as this could be indicative of an underlying condition.