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Sleep is a critical human need — up there with food, water, and air — but a million unfortunate truths of modern life make it downright difficult to get enough sleep.
One positive thing to come out of all this sleeplessness is an explosion in the number of products to help you snooze. We’re living in a time of meditation apps, smart mattresses, and even mini sleep-tracking robots you wear to bed (because nothing is sacred, apparently).
While getting good sleep often requires lifestyle changes — like establishing a relaxing nighttime routine, putting down the caffeine 6 hours before bedtime, and avoiding looking at screens in bed — spending on gear can sometimes fast-track all that.
The best sleep products
- Best bath soak: Dr Teal’s Epsom Salt Soaking Solution
- Best sleepy-time tea: Traditional Medicinals Nighty Night Extra
- Best free meditation app: Slumber
- Best subscription-based meditation app: Calm
- Best melatonin supplement: beam Dream Extra Strength
- Best ear plugs: Flents Quiet Time Ear Plugs
- Best white noise machine: LectroFan Evo Sound Machine
- Best anti-snoring device: Mute Snoring
- Best eye mask: IMAK Compression Pain Relief Mask and Eye Pillow
- Best blackout curtains: Amazon Basics 100% Blackout Basket Weave Window Panel
- Best mattress: The WinkBed
- Best memory foam pillow: EPABO Memory Foam Pillow
- Best down-alternative pillow: Casper Original Pillow
- Best sheets: Bed Threads 100% Flax Linen Fitted Sheets
- Best weighted blanket: Nuzzie Knit Weighted Blanket
- Best sleep tracker: Fitbit Charge 5
To find out which products actually work and are worth your dime, we waded through the research and checked the reviews.
In particular, we chose these products because they fall into one or more of the following categories:
- have been shown in scientific research to help improve sleep duration or quality or to help you fall asleep faster (like supplements or teas)
- help create an environment more conducive to good sleep (think: amazing mattress and blackout curtains)
- are directly touching you while you’re sleeping (like your sheets and pillow — go on and TREAT YO’SELF)
- help you learn more about your sleep habits and track your progress (apps and wearables)
We also gravitated toward products with plenty of excellent reviews, although a few of these products either don’t have reviews or don’t have a TON of them.
- $ = under $15
- $$ = $15–$100
- $$$ = over $100
Best bath soak for sleep
- Price: $
Some research suggests that 10 to 15 minutes in a warm bath, ideally 90 minutes before bed, can help people fall asleep an average of 10 minutes quicker.
Add a soaking solution like this one to get double the sleep-inducing benefits. Studies suggest that aromatherapy can improve sleep quality and reduce stress, pain, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. Lavender essential oil in particular can help relieve anxiety, reduce stress, and promote sleep.
As a bonus, Epsom salts have been shown to reduce redness in skin and improve the skin barrier.
Best tea for sleep
- Price: $
Sipping on some herbal tea may be just what you need to manifest the Zzz’s.
This tea also has some heavenly additions like passionflower, lemon balm, and peppermint, so it’s truly a cup of comfort. Enjoy a mug in the evenings to wind down or right before bed as a super-calming nightcap.
Best free meditation app for sleep
- Price: free
You know that feeling when your head hits the pillow and your brain snaps into action? It can make falling asleep tricky, to say the least.
If developing a meditation routine sounds daunting, we hear you. That’s where meditation apps come in.
Slumber offers a huge collection of sleep meditations and bedtime stories that can help calm your mind, including customizable nature sounds and background effects to create the perfect ambiance for restful sleep. And it’s free!
Best subscription-based meditation app for sleep
- Price: $
If you’ve ever fantasized about Matthew McConaughey reading you a bedtime story, you’ll probably want to download Calm. It has a giant library of sleep stories, lullabies for kids, and even popular pop songs remixed to a slower tempo that’s perfect for nodding off.
Only a few stories are included for free, but a $70 yearly subscription unlocks a huge library of meditations made specifically for sleep.
Best melatonin supplement
- Price: $$$
There’s no shortage of relaxing, sleep-friendly supplements on the market. Here’s one science-based option you might want to check out.
This calming supp contains a handful of evidence-based sleep aids to help you get more rest naturally.
Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone in your body that plays a vital role in your sleep-wake cycle. A 2013 analysis of research found that taking 3 to 10 milligrams of melatonin before bedtime can help people get to sleep faster, stay asleep longer, and get better-quality sleep. (One serving of this one contains 6 milligrams.)
Best earplugs for sleeping
- Price: $–$$
Nocturnal noise is a fact of life. One night it’s a pack of brawling raccoons, the next it’s the upstairs neighbors learning to play guitar. And these night sounds can seriously mess with our sleep and, consequently, our mental and emotional health.
Enter: earplugs. Though these tiny lifesavers won’t eliminate every sound (you won’t sleep through your alarm), they can reduce nighttime noise significantly.
These earplugs are made of soft, comfortable foam that tapers into the ear canal for a custom fit. They carry the highest Noise Reduction Rating possible: 33 decibels. They also come in a handy jar to keep by your bed.
Best headphones for sleeping
- Price: $$$
Need a little more ammo against nighttime noises? To beef up your sound barrier, opt for sleep headphones instead.
Most sleep headphones are earmuff-style, which is a no-go for hot sleepers. And lots of them only let you listen to preloaded content.
But these are super-thin, won’t heat you up, and wrap around your ears to stay put. They’re also Bluetooth-enabled, so you can listen to your favorite white noise app, Spotify playlist, or ASMR video without interrupting your partner.
Best white noise machine
- Price: $$
We all have that noise machine friend. You know, the one who brings that little box along on trips? They *might* be onto something. While some research shows that white noise can help mask environmental noises that keep people up at night, a recent review of studies found that it can also negatively impact sleep (and hearing!).
The verdict? You can certainly try a white noise machine to see if it helps mask noises that keep you up at night. But if you notice that you’re groggy and don’t feel well-rested after introducing it, it could be messing with your sleep.
And make sure you’re not cranking the volume up to more than 75 decibels. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the World Health Organization recommend keeping environmental noise below that level over a span of 8 hours if you want to avoid noise-induced hearing loss.
This puppy offers a literal rainbow of fan sounds, including white, pink, and brown noise. (Each color refers to a different variation of pitch and frequency.) Or tune it to an ocean sound of your choice. Other perks: a timer and an audio jack for either headphones or a portable speaker.
Best anti-snoring device
- Price: $$
If snoring is keeping you up at night — whether it’s coming from you or someone you share a bed with — an anti-snoring device could be the ticket to blissfully uninterrupted sleep.
This tiny little device gets inserted directly into your nostrils (or the nostrils of the loud snorer). According to Mute’s website, the device increases airflow to the nose by 38 percent on average, which helps alleviate snoring. That equals more sleep for the snorer and their bedmate, and you can’t go wrong with that! This trial pack features all three sizes so you can find the best fit.
We tried it
My fiancé is a serious snorer. When I first heard about Mute Snoring, I knew we had to try it. Why, you ask? Because there’s a legit clinical trial that found that internal nasal dilators like Mute work better than external ones (like Breathe Right strips) at reducing snoring. (Note: The trial did not include people with sleep apnea.)
I reached out to Mute, and they sent us the trial pack to try. We spent a few minutes fiddling with the different sizes to figure out which one worked best. He said it felt a little weird at first, but he got used to the feeling really quickly. After he felt settled, we hit the hay.
The next morning, I woke up in awe. Wait, I didn’t wake up at all last night from your snoring?! He was quiet AF all night long.
The verdict: These things work and are definitely worth a try if you’ve tried other anti-snoring devices with no luck. Try a trial pack — you won’t regret it.
—Ruby Thompson, Market Editor
Best eye mask for sleeping
- Price: $
Did you know light actually suppresses the release of melatonin in your body (and therefore inhibits your sleep), while darkness promotes it? The more light you can eliminate, the easier it’ll be to convince your body (and brain) it’s time for rest.
This weighted eye mask, made with tiny compression balls, conforms to your face so that pretty much no light gets in. You can also pop it in the freezer to soothe tired, puffy eyes.
Best blackout curtains for sleeping
- Price: $$
These inexpensive blackout panels pull double duty — reducing noise and blocking out annoying bright light. If you’re living the city life or if you’re the victim of a poorly placed streetlight or outdoor security light, pair them with a set of room-darkening window blinds.
These curtains also come in six colors, so there should be at least one that will match your bedroom vibes.
- Price: $$$
Surprise, surprise: There isn’t an endless supply of research on mattresses out there. This is basically because so many factors go into why someone finds a mattress comfy — like sleeping position, body type, aches and pains, and firmness preferences. But based on the studies that do exist, we know that most people find medium-firm mattresses the most ideal for sleep comfort, quality, and spinal alignment.
Temperature plays an important role too. A 2012 review found that if a room is too warm, your sleep is more likely to be disturbed. A cooling mattress can help prevent you from overheating while you sleep.
This innovative hybrid mattress from WinkBed is available in “luxury firm” (aka medium-firm) and is designed to keep you cool with moisture-wicking materials, gel-infused memory foam, and a layer of spring coils that promotes airflow *and* supports heavier parts of your body. The mattress comes with a 120-night risk-free trial and a full-replacement lifetime warranty.
Best memory foam pillow
- Price: $$
Life is too short to sleep on a bad pillow or uncomfortable sheets, people! Pillows are often an afterthought, but research has found that a whole lot of us are probably sleeping on the wrong pillow. Don’t let that be you.
An orthopedic pillow might be just what your spine needs. Research suggests that using an orthopedic pillow helps you sleep better by ensuring an optimal curve in your spine.
Best down-alternative pillow
- Price: $$
If you were to ask 7,495 people what their perfect pillow is, you’d probably get 7,495 different answers. Regardless, the Casper Original Pillow seems to be a universal crowd-pleaser, providing just the right amount of support for side, back, and tummy sleepers. If you’re a side sleeper, go with the mid loft option to provide extra support for your neck.
- Price: $$–$$$
We’re big fans of linen sheets. The slightly crinkled look is effortlessly chic, adding a little cottagecore touch to every bed they rest upon. In addition, linen is durable, breathable, and sooo comfy-cozy. These sheets from Bed Threads come in 24 beautifully muted color options, and — as a matter of *flax* — people LOVE them.
Best weighted blanket
- Price: $$$
It’s also GORGEOUS and definitely stands out from most other weighted blankets thanks to its sweater-weave look. But don’t let the look fool you — it’s warm and comfy but still allows for air circulation, so you won’t get sweaty.
Best sleep tracker
- Price: $$$
Wearable tech is so much more than step counting these days. In fact, many wearables now not only track sleep but also use your sleep, exercise, and heart rate data to create a more holistic, complete picture of your overall health and wellness.
The new Charge 5 is a whole-health wearable, including some really advanced sleep tracking options. When you wear it to bed, it will be able to calculate a Sleep Score for you based on how deeply you slept, how long you slept, and what your sleep goals are.
In addition, you can track your food, exercise, menstrual cycle, stress, breathing rate, heart rate, skin temperature, and oxygen saturation. Soon, Fitbit will be rolling out its Daily Readiness Score, which will let you know each morning (based on ALL these factors) if you should take it easy or push yourself harder.
Note: You’ll need a Fitbit Premium subscription for a lot of this functionality. The Charge 5 offers 6 months for free, but after that it’s $9.99/month or $79.99/year.
Is wondering what’s keeping you up at night keeping you up at night? Here are a few things that may be zapping your Zzz’s.
When you’re stressed, your lizard brain legit thinks you’re getting chased by a saber-toothed tiger (or that some other urgent and life threatening emergency has befallen you). And who’s gonna sleep under those conditions?
If you’re leading a high stress, high pressure, nonstop life, you may need to hit the release valve through self-care, mindfulness meditation, yoga, exercise, fulfilling hobbies, friend and fam support, downsizing your obligations, learning to say “no,” or even therapy.
Working irregular shifts (especially nights or split shifts) can have a serious impact on your sleep. If you’re living it, you probably already know. It’s difficult to have a consistent routine, and you have to force yourself to stay awake when your body is hormonally and biochemically priming you to sleep, and vice versa.
If you work nights, don’t skimp on blackout curtains, earplugs, and other things to give you a dark and quiet environment. Consider them basic necessities — on the same level as toothpaste and deodorant.
Poor sleep environment
Dark. Cool. Quiet (but not too quiet). Firm in all the right places. (Mind out of the gutter — we’re talking about your bedroom, not who’s sharing it with you. 😉 )
For the best sleep, your bedroom, bedding, curtains, mattress, and sleep accessories should all help foster this type of “sleep haven” environment. Loud noises, bright lights, and discomfort are the enemies of sleeping well.
Some prescription medications may make you sleepy when you need to be alert. OTOH, other medications may leave you wide awake (even when you don’t want to be). Talk with the healthcare professional who prescribed them to you, or your pharmacist, about the best timing for these medications.
Medical conditions like sleep apnea and autoimmune diseases can profoundly impact the quality of your sleep and how rested you feel. The only way to get to the bottom of these is to seek medical care from a trusted healthcare pro, who can point you in the right direction for testing and (if needed) treating and managing these conditions.
Sleep-promoting products are great and all, but there’s definitely a point at which you need to seek professional help for sleep problems.
According to the National Institutes of Health, trouble sleeping crosses the line into insomnia if you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep a minimum of three nights a week.
Not getting enough sleep can really mess with your health. You prob already know that it can make you feel tired during the day, irritable, and sad. It can also make it harder to concentrate, think clearly, or remember things. And it increases your risk of falling and getting into an accident while driving or at work (which could be anything from slightly inconvenient to catastrophic).
If chronic insomnia goes untreated, it can raise your risk of some serious health problems, including:
- Mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and thoughts of suicide
- Heart problems, including heart disease and high blood pressure
- Problems with metabolism, including weight gain, obesity, and diabetes
- Pregnancy complications, including preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, preterm birth, and low birth weight
If your lack of sleep is affecting your day-to-day life, even after you’ve tried all the tricks in the book to sleep better, it’s time to start that convo — especially if you’re finding yourself dozing off at work or in the car or if you’re too exhausted to do everyday activities like brushing your teeth or going grocery shopping.
Don’t let it fester — you don’t need to live like this!
Do I need ALL of these to help me sleep?
Definitely not. That would be a whole lotta cash to drop at once, and it goes against that common adage, “Less is more.”
If you’re in a noisy walk-up with a streetlight right outside your window, maybe start with blackout curtains and earplugs and see if those help. If stress keeps your mind racing at night, try a meditation app.
Start slow and target the biggest issue first. (And if you’re sleep-deprived because of a newborn, well… *makes sign of the mockingjay*.)
What if I buy a bunch of these items and I still can’t sleep?
It’s time to call in the pros. The best place to start would be with a regular doctor, and they can order the tests you need or make the right referrals to get you to the specialists who can help most.
How much sleep should I aim for each night?
Generally, adults need 7 to 9 hours per night. Some people can get away with less than that, but trust and believe that your body is keeping track of your “sleep debt” and eventually it will want a payment (with interest). Prevent the crash and burn from happening by aiming for a healthy amount of sleep habitually.
How do I know if I’m well rested?
“Well rested” is a myth. JK — it just feels pretty mythical.
Don’t assume that you should never ever feel tired, though. Feeling tired at the end of the day is totally normal, and hormones, exercise, stress, diet, medications, and loads of other factors may also play a role.