Things That Help You to Sleep—and Keep You Asleep
Written by: Gerda Endemann, PhD
Updated: December 23, 2021
In partnership with our friends at Avocado Green Mattress
When you want a little help drifting off into a perfect night’s sleep, do you tend to go for mind-calming meditation or for a chemical assist? Does it intrigue you that wearing warm socks may help you fall asleep quicker? Or maybe clothing is not part of the equation, but silky sheets are. Giving up reading murder mysteries in bed may not be negotiable, but perhaps the type of lighting you use is. (Look for the characters Jimmy Perez and Ruth Galloway for two charming and not very violent series.) There are many ways to promote restful sleep, and you get to choose.
The right mattress is the most basic of sleep assists. We love the organic mattresses from Avocado Green Mattress, especially this luxury plush version made with organic latex, wool, mohair, silk, hemp, and cotton. In case you haven’t been counting coils lately, 3,000 coils in five zones is premium: You won’t feel individual coils, and when you move it’s less likely to send shock waves throughout the bed (motion isolation). With its Climate Neutral certifications and an accommodating return policy, Avocado treats its customers and the earth with respect.
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We’re excited to share a gorgeous new circadian-cycle-supporting lamp from BIOS. With winter daylight hours at their shortest, now is a good time to benefit from indoor lighting engineered to promote daytime focus and productivity, a healthy circadian cycle, and restful nighttime sleep. The BIOS SkyView Wellness Table Lamp cycles through sunrise, sky blue daylight, and violet-blue sunset and is customizable with an app. Wavelengths of light are based on research, with daytime wavelengths optimized for mood and alertness. This healthy daytime stimulation—together with tailored evening wavelengths—promotes a restful sleep cycle. With a large, beautiful globe made of handblown glass and a solid aluminum base, the design alone brings joy.
It’s likely that much of the light you’re exposed to in the evening comes from computer screens and is not wavelength-optimized for sleep. So you might also want to check out the cute selection of blue-light-filtering glasses from Felix Gray.
Dream is the name of a chamomile-based tea blended with cherry, rose, lemon balm, lemongrass, lavender, valerian, reishi, and ashwagandha—ideal for winding down for the day. Along with Dream, The Hippie Bundle also contains thoughtful green tea and black tea blends for waking up and for midday. Electric kettles are wonderful for tea, especially if you tend to forget that you’ve left the stove burner on, but the Stagg kettle brilliantly one-ups with its fixed heating range of 135 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. And if herbal tea is not your thing, you may be interested in Ghia’s Non-Alcoholic Apéritif. It’s a slightly bitter sipping-alternative without the nighttime-waking effects of alcohol.
Supplements for Sleep
Occasionally, even your well-worked-out, calm, comfortable body may wish for a little extra sleep promotion. We have three supplements to choose from, and they work in different ways. Knock Me Out is a chocolate mint chew with melatonin to complement the body’s own production of this hormone. Melatonin really works—you may wish to start with a half a chew. Remrise’s Sleep Vitamins contain ingredients to support the body’s own production of melatonin, plus herbs traditionally used for promoting relaxation and sleep. For the gentlest nudge, Well Told Health’s Sleep Natural Sleep Aid is formulated with organic lemon balm, valued traditionally for its calming properties.*
Taking time for self-care makes a nice transition between screens and sleep. A warm bath is soporific, especially with the gorgeous essential oils and salts in the Anchor Bath Soak. Or turn the temperature up on the portable Infrared PEMF Go Mat, lie down, and treat your stiff muscles to a layer of warm amethyst and tourmaline crystals. Alpyn Beauty’s Calming Midnight Mask contains melatonin, valerian, bakuchiol, and wild-crafted dandelion. (Read about the brand’s philosophy and its other heavenly products here.) Kora Organic’s Turmeric Glow Holiday Kit pairs a golden mask (made with turmeric, rose hip seed granules, and papaya enzymes) with an ultrarich moisturizer (made with rose hip and maracuja oils).
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De-stressing in Bed
Five minutes of writing in a journal can be nicely soothing. Perhaps there are unsettling thoughts swirling in your head that you can contain on paper. If an apology is called for, planning one feels good. If that sounds too ambitious, warm lube is ready on the nightstand and your favorite vibrator in the top drawer.
In Bed Sleeping
If you find it deeply comforting to have a partner’s heavy leg stretched across your body, there’s a hack for that: a weighted blanket. Those who sleep hot may appreciate Gravity’s Cooling Weighted Blanket.
Sleep temperature is complicated. There’s core temperature, skin temperature, and room temperature to consider. Sleep scientist Matthew Walker recommends keeping the room cool, and the body’s core temperature goes down when we sleep. But warming the skin seems to be part of a natural process for inducing sleep. One study reported that a temperature in bed that feels slightly too warm can promote deep sleep and help prevent waking up at night. And another study found that when it’s cool in the room, wearing warm socks to bed helped people fall asleep faster, sleep longer, and wake up less during the night. We suspect that preferences are highly individual—maybe you’d like the idea of warm socks and a cool room.
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This article is for informational purposes only. It is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment and should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. To the extent that this article features the advice of physicians or medical practitioners, the views expressed are the views of the cited expert and do not necessarily represent the views of goop.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.