If you are looking for useful products or resources to improve sleep - either for yourself or for your loved ones - here are some ideas. I get a small commission from some of the products you see here at no extra cost to you. Hope you enjoy these products as much as I do:
Neck travel cushion
An excellent choice is the Travelrest Ultimate with memory foam. While most travel cushions have a rounded back that annoyingly pushes your neck away from the headrest, the angled back of the Travelrest Ultimate lies flat on the backrest.
When it comes to neck travel cushions, I would always choose a spongy memory foam pillow over an inflatable one. Although you can't flat pack them, they are so much more comfy and cozy because the entire circumference of your neck gets cushioned, preventing your head from leaning in any direction.
Another USP is the rubber grip dots, which prevent slipping while sleeping. It comes with an adjustable Velcro closure that makes it suitable for most necks. Also, the Travelrest Ultimate weighs less than a pound, and when it's rolled into its Velcro-fastened carrying bag, it compresses to a quarter of its size. For more information click here.
Neck & body travel cushion
If pack size and weight are a priority, the inflatable Travelrest Ultimate neck & body pillow is a great alternative. When inflated, it’s shaped like a long apostrophe that tucks right above your shoulder and across your body, with a strap that can sling around your body like a guitar to keep it stable.
The shape gives you full lateral support for the upper body making it easier to relax and fall asleep. I've been using it on several long haul flights in window and middle seats. Click here for more details.
This one might seem a bit off-topic, but optimal hormone function, in particular, the healthy interplay between serotonin and melatonin are paramount for good sleep. And the trillions of bacteria in your gut play an essential role in your hormone production. That is why we have evolved into a symbiotic relationship with these bacteria. In natural balance, they help regulate your immune system, your digestive system, and your sleep.
To support normal serotonin production, melatonin secretion and overall optimal hormone function, you should avoid as much as possible things that can damage the natural balance of your gut bacteria such as agricultural chemicals (pesticides, fungicides, rodenticides), processed food, diet soda, repeated use of antibiotics, chemical food additives and preservatives - and chlorinated water.
Chlorine is actually an antibiotic. Although it is an excellent cleaner, it can damage your gut bacteria even in small amounts; it's best to get a water filter that removes chlorine in case your community uses it.
A good choice is the stylish Big Berkey Gravity-Fed Water Filter. It is available in different sizes, and with 19.25” tall and 8.5” in diameter, the 2.25 gallons model is actually not that big.
Although the filtration system is a bit slow (it takes one to two hours to finish a batch of 2.25 gallons) the quality is excellent: the Black Berkey filter is able to remove the 20 most important impurities such as chlorine, viruses, harmful pathogenic bacteria, cysts, heavy metals, plastic and microplastic, parasites and hazardous chemical contaminants of up to 99%.
Now regardless of the quality, I like the stainless steel design, which is so much more appealing than the conventional plastic water pitcher systems. Check it out here.
Unfortunately, the air in our homes is often not as clean as we think. In fact, indoor air quality can be polluted five times as much as the outdoor air with pollutants, including dust, smoke, odors, pollen, and pet dander. An air purifier can help to trap and remove a high percentage of these airborne allergens and irritants.
Air purifiers usually consist of one or several filters and a fan that sucks and circulates air. So when choosing a suitable air purifier for your bedroom, one of the essential factors is silence. Also, you don't want an oversized device sitting next to your bed.
Levoit Vista 200 is perfect for your bedroom, both in quietness and size. Even at the highest setting, you hardly hear a sound, and you can easily place this compact air purifier on your bedside table to keep the air zone around your bed clean. Another benefit of the Levoit Vista's 200 is the nightlight function, which makes this compact air purifier a perfect bedside table device.
The Levoit Vista comes with a 3-stage air filter system comprising a pre-filter, a HEPA filter, and an activated carbon filter to eliminate bacteria, dust mites, mold spores, allergens, odors, pet dander, smoke, and VOCs (volatile organic compounds). Click here for more details.
Cooling the brain during sleep can be a simple, natural, and effective treatment for insomnia. The reason for this is that when people fall asleep, they unconsciously experience a metabolic reduction in the frontal cortex of the brain that is associated with restful sleep. Whereas if you have difficulties falling or staying asleep, the metabolism in the same brain region remains increased. One way to reduce cerebral metabolic activity is to use frontal cerebral heat transfer to cool the brain, a process known as "cerebral hypothermia.
Using a simple cooling cap is a safe, non-pharmaceutical method helping you to achieve just that. The one I like is the Headache and Migraine Relief Cap by Magic Gel because it can help you to stay quiet, dark, and cool, which is great also for other conditions like migraines. You can wear it like a cap or as an ice mask covering your entire face. Click here for more details.
CBD hemp oil with melatonin
If this is going to be a gift, you may want to make sure that the person on your gift list is open to CBD products, or at least give some additional information on what CBD is and the non-psychoactive anti-anxiety, mood-balancing properties it can have (read Can CBD Hemp Oil Really Improve Your Sleep).
CBD products are everywhere these days, and I have tried several CBD oils. I found that the sleep-enhancing effects are strongly dependent on its concentration. Also, I found the combination with melatonin very helpful. There are not so many companies that produce high-quality CBD hemp oil with melatonin. That's why I recommend the CBD Softgels with Melatonin from Joy Organics.
The soft gels are easy to swallow gel capsules that work quickly, and their effect and quality are definitely worth it. All Joy Organics products are organic and locally grown, contain no THC, and are available with free shipping to all 50 countries with a 30-day money-back guarantee. You can visit their website here. Click here for more information. Use coupons code goodsleepanywhere for your purchase and you're getting 15% off.
Are you still keeping your cell phone near the bedside as an alarm? Did you know that cell phone radiation actually depresses your brain wave patterns called delta waves which are the most reliable marker for deep sleep? So in case your bedroom is not a phone-free zone yet, take action and get an actual alarm clock.
But here is the thing: you don't want that angry alarm clock staring at you or an annoying ticking sound keeping you awake all night. OK, covering the alarm clock up is one tactic. Another option is to find a digital alarm clock where the dial lights up only when pressing a button like the Travelwey Digital Travel Alarm Clock.
However, my favorite is the Peakeep Ultra Small. This tiny cute battery travel alarm clock is SILENT. Plus, the alarm on/off switch as well as the snooze light bar, are easily accessible. You can use it at home or while on the road staying because it fits in every suitcase, travel bag or backpack.
Sunrise alarm clock
Waking up to a sunrise simulation can make early mornings feel much more tolerable than being jostled from slumber by a torturous alarm sound. The reason for this is that a gentle illumination of the bedroom helps to increase cortisol levels in the morning, a natural reaction that prepares your brain and body for the stressors of the day.
However, many sunrise alarms use only irritating bright white light to wake you up. The HeimVision A80S alarm clock takes a more natural approach and starts with a soothing red-tinted light that gradually turns into yellow and then white light. This can help you feel less grumpy when you wake up. And as there are 20 adjustable brightness levels, you can use it also a bedside lamp or night light.
And if you want to add some bright sound to your wake up routine, you can choose between birdsong, ocean waves, wind bells, piano tunes, various ringtones, or set your favorite radio station. I find myself much more positive when hearing the sounds from the Amazon rainforest or some smooth jazz tunes in the morning - it just sets the tone for the entire day. You can find more details here.
Sleep and fitness tracker
There are so many different sleep trackers on the market now, and so far, none of them is 100% accurate when it comes to measuring your sleep pattern. Plus, many sleep trackers are just too uncomfortable to wear them at night while asleep.
A good stylish alternative is the Motiv Ring fitness and sleep tracker. Because it fits perfectly around the finger (you get a sizing set first to find your size), it's generally considered comfortable enough to wear it while asleep and to ensure more consistent and accurate sleep tracking than with, for example, a wristwatch.
Also, the motif sleep tracker only starts to work when you actually sleep and not when you lie down. Another benefit is that it is not overly complex or equipped with excessive features. Instead, it is built to monitor your overall health and to answer your most basic questions about how well you sleep. The information is displayed through the Motif app, which allows you to set daily sleep and fitness goals. The app automatically adjusts your goals as you achieve them over time, so you can seamlessly improve your fitness goals and avoid a plateau.
The motif ring has a titanium outer layer and a scratch-resistant coating that allows it to withstand normal wear and tear. The ring is resistant to water damage and works in water to a depth of 165 feet so that you can wear it in the shower, swimming pool, or dishwashing.
Earthing or grounding mat or sheet
I admit I didn't know anything about earthing or grounding mats until I read about them last year in Shawn Stevenson's Sleep Smarter book. If earthing and grounding are new to you, here is a short overview.
The damaging effect free radicals can have on our body are well known and all the rage in health and nutrition today has been centered on antioxidants. The truth is that consuming dietary antioxidants won't do the trick because they usually don't withstand the food processing or our digestive process.
There is a much more accessible source of free electrons: the earth itself. I know it sounds crazy, but a simple thing like touching the earth can be the key to eliminating many of our biggest health problems like chronic inflammation and stress, both being also primary causes of bad sleep.
Since we spend most of our time either indoors or wearing rubber-soled shoes outdoors, we spend very little time in physical contact with the Earth. The idea behind earthing or grounding mats or mattress sheets is to create an electrical connection between your body and the earth. This replicates the physical connectivity you would generate by walking barefoot on the ground. This connection allows electrons to flow from the Earth into your body to create a neutral electrical charge.
The mats are usually connected via a cable to a ground wire outside your home or simply to the ground plug that you will find in most sockets.
The mats can lie on the floor, under a desk, or on a bed - like the Armshield earthing and grounding sheet made from natural organic and conductive pure silver thread - so that you can place your bare feet, hands or bodies on the mat and conduct the energy of the earth directly to you. Click here for more details.
Blue light glasses
Many of us spend at least eight hours a day staring at a computer screen. Plus in our spare time before, between, and after work, we often stare at another, smaller screen: the rectangle of our smartphone, which keeps shining more and more blue light on our face.
Blue light itself is not a bad thing. It's a natural part of daylight. And we desperately need to get our daily dose of daylight blue wavelengths to produce enough healthy vitamin D and increase our mood. The problem is that we're now constantly bathing in mostly blue, artificial light, which often leads to digital eye strain. And too much blue light at night suppresses the secretion of the sleep-regulating hormone melatonin.
The safest way to escape the sleep-disturbing effects of blue light is to reduce the use of phones, laptops, and tablets in the evening and keep them out of the bedroom. But what to do during the day when you're sitting in front of your computer screen?
That's when wearing blue light blocking glasses come in handy. And, no, blue light glasses don't have to be ugly as the TIJN Blue Light Blocking Glasses prove. There are now many stylish models that filter out the upper end of the blue light spectrum so that the lens does not appear yellow or orange.
White noise machine
White noise machines are really useful if you have noise from outside your bedroom that is disturbing your sleep or your work or study. The way a white noise machine works is that it helps to replace the disturbing noise with a constant, repetitive, and relaxing sound.
There are so many different white noise machines available today, and it's a question of understanding the features and sounds to pick the right one.
- Sound quality and type - whether there is a good selection of sounds, and whether it's either just white noise and fan sounds or also includes nature sounds.
- Quality of the speakers - some of the cheaper white noise machines often sound really awful when you start to increase the volume.
- Automatic shutdown timers - that's useful if you don't want to hear white noise all night, or when you play it to a child, and you only want to leave it switched on for a short period.
- Other features like the headphone jack, which is crucial if you want to listen privately and don't disturb anyone. And whether it has an internal rechargeable battery that you can use anywhere in the world.
The machine which includes most of these functions is the one from Sound+Sleep SE. True, the Sound+Sleep white noise machines are more expensive than most other devices, but they have a lot of useful functions.
On the central control button, you have 16 main categories. And by pressing the select button, each of these 16 categories has four subcategories. So you have a total of 64 different sounds, including everything from white, pink, and brown noise and a wide range of natural and ambient sounds. Click here to discover more functions.
Sleep headphones eye mask
A fabric sleep headphones eye mask solves two problems: Not only does it play music, but it also blocks 100% of the light. It's big enough to cover all your eyes, and the built-in Bluetooth headphones are easy to adjust. You can even answer your phone!
The sleep headphones mask can be used in bed, for napping in the office, while traveling, or during meditation. The breathable material is soft and very comfortable with a nice padded inside and a pillow on the nose, so you may even be able to sleep on your side. You can also take the Bluetooth module and wires out and handwash it with warm water.
Fabric headphones are great because they're comfortable (even for side sleepers) and cheap, but they might not be able to block out all external sound sufficiently. If you want to go one step further and even escape the loud snoring of your bed partner or the steady noise of jet engines, then high-tech noise-canceling headphones such as Sony's Noise Cancelling Headphones WH1000XM3 can help you.
These high-quality headphones will not only protect you from almost all unwanted outside noise but also provide excellent sound quality. Even if the external noise is loud, if you then add your own music in addition to active noise cancellation, you can create a complete barrier to what kept you awake before.
As the headphones can be used wirelessly with Bluetooth, you don't have to worry about a cable in bed. A single battery charge provides up to 30 hrs of playtime, and the ambient sound adjusts to your activity to give you the best noise cancellation. If you're a fan of smart home systems, you'll appreciate that these headphones are Alexa-capable.
I love the Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones WH1000XM3 in sliver, but they're also available in black. Click here for more information.
Deep pressure therapy in the form of a weighted blanket is a super soft and cozy way to feel calm, relaxed, and very, very sleepy. These comfortable therapeutic blankets create an even pressure on your body that helps create a hug-like sensation that stimulates the production of serotonin and dopamine, the neurotransmitters that make our body feel calm, relaxed, and happy. And your body needs these chemicals to produce the sleep hormone melatonin. For more details about how deep pressure therapy and weighted blankets can improve your sleep read this blog post.
What began as a Kickstarter campaign has quickly become one of the most popular weighted blankets. TIME Magazine even chose the Gravity blanket as one of the best inventions of 2018. It is a high-quality therapeutic blanket available in three different weights from 15 to 25 pounds and measuring 72 x 48 inches.
The blanket has a gridded stitching, which ensures that the filling beads are evenly distributed. The blanket also comes with a super-soft, removable microfibre duvet cover, which is machine washable. But it's no big deal if the person you're giving the blanket to doesn't like it - Gravity offers a 30-day return policy. Click here for further details.
If you (and your bed partner) want to place more value on natural and organic materials in your bedroom from 2020, then investing in an Avocado mattress is a fantastic choice.
The Avocado Green mattress is known for its natural and organic materials and the company's environmentally friendly manufacturing process. The company currently sells two models: the flagship mattress Avocado Green and the similar Avocado Vegan. All Avocado mattresses are handmade at the company's Los Angeles factory using 100% organic latex, organic wool, and organic cotton that does not contain chemical adhesives.
That is also good news for allergy sufferer: Latex, when natural and not synthetic, is an antimicrobial material that prevents dust mites from moving into your mattress.
The Avocado mattress is a hybrid mattress, meaning its construction contains both foam and coils. The coils give the mattress some of the traditional springy feel, while the foam adds a thin layer of softness that can be complemented with an optional pillow top. With the topper, you get an extra 2″ layer of latex foam that helps soften the bed.
However, both with and without the optional pillow top, the Avocado mattress is excellent in terms of responsiveness as it bounces back quickly after a depression. So unless you prefer a full (memory) foam mattress, the Avocado mattress is a great choice. It is a high-quality and eco-friendly durable mattress that comes with some extensive delivery and return policies - Avocado offers free shipment, a one-year sleep trial, free returns, and a 25-year warranty. Click here for more information.
The SNOO smart sleeper baby bassinet
Invented by Dr. Harvey Karp, a pediatrician and author of The Happiest Baby on the Block, the SNOO is designed to mimic his famous sleep strategy of "The 5 S's" - which means swaddling, side/stomach positioning in the parents' arms, shushing, swinging, and sucking.
While the SNOO looks like an ordinary baby bassinet, it is equipped with sound sensors, WLAN, speakers that deliver different types of white noise, and a robotic motor that rocks your baby at different levels of intensity in response to any noise (from the baby) that the sensors detect.
Here is how it works: you swaddle your baby with a SNOO bag (included in the SNOO). The SNOO Sack has wing-clips that attach your baby to the sides of the SNOO sleeper to prevent him from tipping over (almost all experts advise that babies should sleep on their backs to reduce the risk of SIDS and SUID).
Once your baby is strapped in, the SNOO gently rocks your baby and plays white noise over the built-in speakers. This gentle movement and white noise will last all night unless your baby gets upset. In this case, SNOO detects it with its sensors and tries to calm your baby with levels of higher intensity - both white noise and rocking. Ideally, your baby will be soothed and falls asleep without you having to get out of bed.
Being a parent is a very personal thing, and the SNOO might not be for every family. After all, human contact is the key when raising a child, and the SNOO is not designed as a replacement parent doing the talking, singing, and reading to the baby for you. Also, spending around $1000 on something your child will use only for six months might be a bit over the top (although there is now also a rental option available - check it out here). However, if your baby is a very light sleeper and you are longing for a much-needed break, you may want to consider getting the SNOO.
Create your own guided sleep meditation
Your loved ones mean the world to you. Sometimes you want to give them something special, and what is more than a self-created gift from the heart? So why not record your own guided sleep meditation. You can find a free script of a relaxing body scan meditation here.
This youtube video gives some helpful tips on how to record and deliver your guided meditations.
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