Even the best sleepers are struggling right now, and it’s not surprising. There’s a lot of unrest and stress in the world, including a global pandemic. In these times, it’s so easy to turn to a glass of wine to unwind, but does it help or make things worse?
“I think in general, a lot of people are in this state of fight or flight,” New York City-based Joshua Tal, a sleep and health psychologist, tells us. “There’s a sense of hopelessness, feeling jaded, I think. In general, there’s a lot of restlessness.”
Clearly, if you’re having trouble getting to sleep, you’re not alone. Tal offers his advice, along with a few products that can help you deal with any sort of restlessness.
If you’re struggling to fall asleep, an assessment of your sleeping hygiene is a good start, Tal says.
“A good assessment to understand what your issues are can go such a long way for the treatment,” he says. “Take a minute to really think about what’s going on and think, for example, about the different areas of sleep hygiene. Like, ‘Am I really that comfortable in my bed?’”
Wayfair Sleep 8-Inch Medium Memory Foam Mattress (starting at $159.99, originally $269.99; wayfair.com)
This top-rated mattress on Wayfair has a patented pressure relief system that has multiple layers of foam for your most restful sleep. It has more than 15,000 5-star reviews alone, making it one of the best-reviewed mattresses we’ve found.
Cool Gel 12-Inch Medium Gel Memory Foam Mattress (starting at $294.99; wayfair.com)
This well-priced memory foam mattress has more than 12,000 5-star reviews, with thousands of reviewers noting its comfort. With an added gel, reviewers note how cool it is to sleep on as well.
Tuft & Needle Mattress Topper (starting at $108; tuftandneedle.com)
Not quite ready to invest in a new mattress? Try this high-rated knit cover that plops right onto your old mattress to give you extra cushion. The open-cell foam also makes sure you don’t get too hot while you sleep.
Zen Bamboo Luxury 1500 Series Bedsheets (starting at $26.99; amazon.com)
Parachute Linen Sheet Set (starting at $149; parachutehome.com)
Wanna infuse a bit of luxury into your bedroom? These linen sheets from Parachute were named the best linen sheets of 2021 for good reason. They seriously get softer with each wash and make you feel like you’re always sleeping in a luxe hotel.
AmazonBasics Lightweight Super-Soft Microfiber Bedsheet Set ($19.99; amazon.com)
Customers agree that these sheets with more than 149,000 5-star reviews (yes, you read that right) are “super soft” and “so comfy,” and considering the price point, they’re definitely worth a try.
Find ways to wind down
“It’s good to develop a bedtime routine with some relaxing things,” says Tal. “Bath, a shower, meditation, reading fiction, music, nice candles melting… Anything. Anything that would signal to your body, time to relax, time to wind down.”
One thing to avoid? “Wine,” says Tal. “Alcohol can be a big problem for people with sleep apnea. A lot of people have apnea and don’t know that they have it, and when you add drinking to the mix, it makes it much worse.”
There’s also something to be said about white noise machines as well as other soothing sounds.
Therapeutic Bath Seltzer ($24; uncommongoods.com)
Wind down with these all-natural therapeutic blends that you can pour right into the bath to help with everything from relaxing before bed to muscle aches. There have been lots of studies on how aromatherapy and nice-smelling products can help you ease into sleep much easier, especially with smells like lavender.
WoodWick Fireside Ellipse Candle ($29.99; bedbathandbeyond.com)
Amber, vetiver and musk fragrances blend perfectly to capture the essence of a cozy evening fire, which probably account for the dozens of 5-star ratings on this elegant candle.
InnoGear Essential Oil Diffuser ($13.59, originally $15.99; amazon.com)
Filling your bedroom or bath with natural scents and diffused light, this top-rated diffuser and humidifier can make any room in the house feel (and smell) like a restful space.
Lavender & Chamomile Sleep Sachet Set ($28; uncommongoods.com)
Give yourself the gift of relaxation and a good night’s sleep with the natural herbs in these reviewer-loved sachets you place under your pillow.
SoundBot Waterproof Bluetooth 3.0 Speaker ($14.99; amazon.com)
“If you have a lot of background noise where you live, if you live in the city and there’s a lot of traffic noises outside that are sporadic, it’s great to use white noise or an ambient nature sound to block out the other outside noise,” Tal says.
This waterproof speaker is available in five colors and also works with your phone, so you can turn bath time into catch-up time with an old friend.
Bluetooth Sleeping Eye Mask With Headphones ($21.99; amazon.com)
Tune out the world by blocking out light and tuning into relaxing music with this Bluetooth sleep mask.
One reviewer writes, “Every other eye mask I’ve used has often found itself flung across the room by the time I’ve woken up, but after using this for a week I haven’t had a single problem with it staying on. In addition, the sound is clear and is loud enough for it’s intended use while being sleek enough that it is difficult to even feel the bump of the headphone speakers or Bluetooth adapter making it very comfortable to sleep on the back or side.”
HoMedics SoundSpa Sound Machine (starting at $20.07, originally $24.99; amazon.com)
With this top-rated white noise machine that’s got more than 20,000 5-star reviews, you can choose from six natural sounds — ocean, summer night, rain, white noise, thunder and a trickling brook — and have the option to set a timer to turn the machine off just as you’re drifting to sleep.
Need further convincing? Check out this review: “I suffer from insomnia and this has made an incredible difference in the amount of time it takes me to fall asleep (it was about an hour and after a week of use I’m down to about 20 minutes). I also don’t wake up as many times during the night. I love how the volume is adjustable and how the machine offers more than just white noise.”
Moonlight Pajamas ($65; nordstrom.com)
Getting comfy not only means making sure your mattress and sheets are up to par, but your pajamas as well. While we’re often in loungewear these days, a great way to tell your body it’s time for sleep is to slip into some ultra-comfy PJs, like this editor-favorite set we’ve worn and loved.
Washable Silk Tee Set ($198; lunya.co)
It’s hard to argue with an Underscored-favorite silk PJ set that will not only make you feel like a celebrity, but will having you sleeping soundly.