With a new year comes the all too familiar New Year’s resolutions.
Most tend to include things like eating healthier, going to the gym, traveling more and saving money.
But what is my number 1 New Year’s resolution you ask?….. To get better sleep!
And while it may not be quite as popular as the ones mentioned above, it just may be the most important of them all.
That’s because getting better sleep can help you improve almost all of the other areas in your life as well.
As you might recall from my post Sleep Your Way Fit, skimping on sleep can lead to increased hunger, alterations in your metabolism and increased fat storage.
So improving your sleep could help you accomplish those weight-loss resolutions.
Better sleep also leads to improved cognition, mood and increased productivity. So you’re more likely to reach your goals both at home and in the workplace if you’re getting adequate sleep. (Don’t believe me? check out my post Sleep: the Ultimate Performance Enhancer to learn more)
Now, I’m aware that good sleep doesn’t come so easily for everyone. Some of us, like myself, suffer from the more than occasional bad night’s sleep.
While others suffer from full-blown insomnia and some just want to improve the sleep they’re already getting to get the most out of sleep’s restorative benefits.
Lucky for us, technology has made it easier for us to work smarter and not harder when it comes to getting good sleep.
And there have been products created to help even the worst sleeper win the nightly sleep battle.
Now, gadgets and technology are no replacements for good sleep hygiene. If you’re really struggling with insomnia, I recommend reviewing my Top 7 Tips for beating insomnia.
In the meantime, I have compiled a list of my top sleep products to help you get the sleep of your dreams in 2020.
Ready to start 2020 off with deep, peaceful and reinvigorating sleep? Keep reading to learn about the products that will help you do just that!
1) Weighted Blanket
Some of you may have heard of all the hype surrounding weighted blankets.
But just why have they become so popular you ask? Well, let’s start by describing exactly what a weighted blanket is.
The name pretty much speaks for itself. It’s a blanket that is filled with materials that give it more weight.
The weight usually ranges from 10 to 35lbs and the blankets are made of a variety of materials.
Now, why does a heavy blanket improve sleep?
That’s the same question I had, but after doing more research the reasoning became quite clear.
Weighted blankets work under the principle of deep pressure stimulation therapy.
This type of therapy works by applying even pressure to the body helping it become more aware of its position in space, thus calming the nervous system and working to relieve stress and anxiety.
Deep pressure stimulation also helps to decrease the release of the stress hormone cortisol and allows for more release of the sleep-inducing hormone melatonin.
It’s so effective that deep pressure stimulation therapy is actually used to treat patients with ADHD, PTSD, anxiety and even autism.
Price points range from about $30 to upwards of $200 but the security and comfort they provide along with the sleep benefits definitely seem worth it!
2) Sleep Mask
One of the keys to setting up a sleep-inducing environment is blocking out any excess light that might be interfering with sleep.
As I mentioned above, melatonin is the sleep-promoting hormone that signals to your body that it’s time to go to sleep.
The release of melatonin is inhibited by light. So any excess light in your environment may prevent you from feeling as sleepy as you should when it’s time to go to bed.
Using a sleep mask at night, specifically a black-out sleep mask such as this one, can help block out that excess light and allow your mind drift more easily into sleep mode.
3) Sleep Headphones
Probably my favorite gift I received this holiday season was a pair of sleep headphones.
Many people like to doze off while listening to an audiobook, music or guided meditation.
The problem with conventional headphones is that they are usually not comfortable to sleep in. They tend to stick out of your ears so sleeping on the side of your face can be problematic.
Sleep headphones are headphones that are designed with flatter and more discrete speakers that won’t be uncomfortable to sleep in. They are also generally cordless with longer battery life, allowing them to last throughout the night.
And if you happen to sleep with a partner that snores or makes other sounds that are disturbing to your sleep, these are the perfect way to drown it all out!
They’re a great way to block out additional noise while not interfering with your partner’s sleep.
And just as an additional bonus, many of the headphones like the ones I have pictured below, come as a sleep mask combo which allows you to block out light and create that perfect dark sleep environment.
4) Sunrise Alarm Clock
Most of us use an alarm clock to wake us up in the mornings, so you may be familiar with the blast of sound that jerks you out of your sleep when it’s time to wake up.
They certainly get the job done. But what if I told you there was a gentler, more biological way to be awakened in the morning?
Well, that’s exactly what sunrise alarm clocks were created to do.
A sunrise alarm clock is an alarm that emits light in steadily increasing intensity in a way that mimics the natural sunrise to gently wake you up out of your sleep.
Our natural circadian rhythms operate based on light and dark patterns. Light suppresses the release of melatonin and triggers the circadian alerting system.
The gradual nature of waking with a sunrise alarm helps to prevent that disoriented feeling you get when startled awake by a traditional alarm.
Many consider this to be a more natural and pleasant way of waking up making for a more enjoyable overall sleep experience.
In Natural Sleep Remedies I discussed all of the benefits of different essential oils when it comes to sleep.
Essential oils like vanilla, jasmine, and lavender have natural sleep-promoting properties and have been shown to promote calmness, relaxation, decrease anxiety, relax muscles and stabilize heart rate.
An oil diffuser is a perfect way to take advantage of those benefits while you sleep.
You can also combine any of the oils with distilled water to create a spray that can be applied to your pillows and help you fall asleep faster and sleep more deeply during the night.
6) Sleep Apps
There are apps for just about anything you can think of these days, and sleep is no exception.
If used in conjunction with a proper sleep routine, apps can be really useful and beneficial.
Here are some of the most popular sleep apps:
Sleep Cycle Alarm Clock:
This app senses your sleep movements and tracks your sleep cycles in order to wake you up in a lighter stage of sleep.
Similar to the sunrise alarm clock, being awakened in a lighter stage of sleep is supposed to be a gentler and more pleasant way of waking.
It also tracks your sleep habits and sleep quality to allow you to assess how well you sleep and make the necessary adjustments.
This app is a sleep sound app that is perfect for those who want to take more of an active role in creating the perfect sleep sound.
It allows you to choose between and combine different sounds to create the sound that works best for you.
It also allows you to overlay mindfulness meditations on top of your unique sound creation.
You can take it a step further by integrating some of your favorite calming songs from your own music library.
And if your lacking inspiration, you can even access unique sound combinations created by other users.
Who said bedtime stories were just for kids?
Calm is an app that includes sleep stories for both kids and adults that help lull you into a peaceful slumber.
It also includes mediations and even ASMR. Not familiar with ASMR? Check out my post Why ASMR is the Answer to Better Sleep to learn what all the hype is about.
I hope these suggestions help to make 2020 your best year of sleep! And if you have any other tried and true products that have improved your sleep, please feel free to leave them in the comments.
Until next time, happy sleeping!