What’s keeping you up at night?
Is it tomorrow’s big meeting? Or, possibly, that one time you called your teacher “mom” in third grade? Maybe it’s the devastating breakup of your favorite boy band or the fact that the bees are dying at an alarming rate. Perhaps the problem lies within your sleep environment. Maybe your room is a bit too balmy, the street lights have found a way through a gap in your blinds, or your upstairs neighbor has taken up the pastime of vacuuming at 1am.
We all have our own unique sleep struggles, but I think most of us would agree that a good night’s rest is the key to a better tomorrow. We’ve learned from our mistakes of staying up to watch that extra episode of Gilmore Girls and finding ourselves on our ex-boyfriend’s new girlfriend’s best friend’s corgi’s IG account far too late into the evening to know that insufficient sleep can have a detrimental effect on our next day. Besides the immediate effects of daytime sleepiness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, and emotional stress, a pattern of long-term sleep disturbance can lead to more chronic problems in the form of high blood pressure, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, reflux, and certain types of cancers.
When it comes to your health, sleep is as important as nutrition and exercise. I’ve always been a huge proponent of investing in your wellness (a more widely-accepted version of “treat yo’ self”) and, in my opinion, funding your health is always worth it. Here are some of my favorite sleep products that you can shop on Amazon, right from the comfort of your own room.
1. Bamboo sheets
AKA the linen you didn’t know you needed in your life. Bamboo sheets are durable, antimicrobial, hypoallergenic, and eco-friendly. Last year, I switched over to bamboo sheets during an eczema flare-up and it truly changed the sleep game for me. They’re lightweight, moisture-wicking, and provide good airflow, which means that you can say “see ya” to waking up dazed, confused, uncomfortable, and sweat-soaked at 4am. You’re welcome.
2. Lavender oil
Lavender oil is the poster child for sleep products and is a widely-recognized sleep aid across the globe. Whether you drip drop that bad boy into an oil diffuser or apply it directly to the soles of your feet, wrists, or palms, lavender oil is said to induce a calming effect and promote relaxation. It’s affordable, portable, and simply smells like heaven.
3. Sleep masks
I always feel so extra when I’m wearing my sleep mask of choice, but as a night-shifter, it has been my savior when it comes to sleeping at odd hours. I’ve found that even in the dark of nighttime, I’m exposed to external light sources like the faint glimmer of the power button on my TV, the glow of the moonlight over the top of my curtains, and the glare of the digital clock on my microwave (yes, I live in an overpriced studio apartment in Chicago and I can, in fact, see all of these things from the comfort of my bed). When we are exposed to both natural and artificial light sources, it leads our brains to believe that it’s time to wake up, as per the National Sleep Foundation. Light detected by our retinas sends a message to our hypothalamus to decrease melatonin levels, increase cortisol, and increase body temperature to prepare our minds and bodies for waking. This physiological pathway is helpful if you’re actually ready to wake up, but it can be detrimental if you get a glimpse of light in the nighttime hours.
4. White noise machine
Growing up, I was an incredibly light sleeper and wouldn’t be caught dead attempting to snooze without the help of a fan to drown out the noises of my creaking, childhood home. It sounds counterintuitive to need noise to fall asleep, but as Popular Science noted, fans and white noise machines are helpful in drowning out other “noise inconsistencies” of our sleep spaces. In my older age (combined with my apartment’s lack of square footage), I ditched my clunky, aesthetically-unpleasing box fan (RIP, you did good, buddy) and replaced it with a sleek, functional, and portable white noise machine. Bring the noise and get your hands on one of these. You won’t regret it.
A “sleep products I love” list wouldn’t be complete without an honorable mention of melatonin. According to Healthline, melatonin is a natural sleep hormone that works hand in hand with the body’s circadian rhythm. When melatonin is excreted from the pineal gland, it tells our mind and body that it’s time to clock out. Melatonin levels can be affected by stress, light, and caffeine. If you’re lacking in the melatonin department, you may have trouble falling asleep. Adding melatonin supplements to your nighttime routine can help to combat lower levels of the hormone. If you’re a melatonin newb, it’s best to talk to your doctor to explore what dosage is right for you.
6. Bedtime tea
After a long day, there’s no better day to relax and unwind than cozying up in your favorite pair of PJs while sippin’ on some sleep-supporting tea. Teas that use chamomile, valerian root, and lavender may be your best bet when you’re looking for a nightcap to warm your belly and help you relax. And that’s the tea, sis.