AH, DAYLIGHT Savings Time. Longer days, warmer weather to look forward to and, unfortunately, sleep problems, too. Yep, that hour change can mess with your inner clock. As if sleep weren’t already elusive for many of us—caused in part by Covid-induced stress—DST exacerbates difficulties. To combat the negative effects of adjusting to time changes, we should spend time outdoors in sunlight and be physically active. And during the hours before bed, lower the lights and turn off cell phones, iPads, computers and TV. In other words, don’t use your bedroom as an office.
But following that advice is not always practical or possible, which may explain why yesterday’s “CBS Sunday Morning” reported that one in three Americans don’t get enough sleep and why the lead story in the March issue of Consumer Reports focused on tools for better zzz’s, including mattresses, sheets and weighted blankets.
Getting good shuteye has fueled our own search for sleep solutions in these overstressed times. One colleague swears by melatonin spray; another, cannabis gummies. A NYC pal uses earplugs and sleep masks. I’m into essential oils, crisp sheets and body pillows. Managing Editor Nancy McKeon has no sleep issues, thank you very much.
Anyway, below is our random selection of products you may find useful for falling and staying asleep.
ABOVE: Crisp, cool bedding is my idea of sleep nirvana. No sateen, flannel or jersey will do. Riley Home’s Percale Sheet Set (from $99 for a twin to $149 for king-size sheets) gets New York Times’s Wirecutter’s top nod for its feel, as well as its comparatively moderate cost. A set comes with one fitted sheet and two pillowcases, with an option to add a flat sheet—from $50 to $80. Choose from a dozen different colors, such as Cloud, pictured.
Clockwise from above left: In the age of Covid, I’ve been in the habit of keeping lavender oil by my bedside to neurotically check that I still have my sense of smell. I’ve also got a bunch of lavender sachets scattered in a linen closet and bathroom. I may just add to my love for the herb with a Lavender Eye Pillow Sleep Mask ($24, Anthropologie) in hopes that the scent and the cool silk will help me relax and lull me into sweet dreams.
Natural Patches of Vermont offers sets of 10 single-use stick-on body patches for just about whatever ails—muscles and joints, coughs and colds, headaches and migraines, stress and sleep. The Sleep Comfort ($22, Anthropologie) batch of patches with a mix of essential oils (lavender, chamomile and jasmine) claim to quiet your thoughts and soothe stress before bedtime. Think of it as portable aromatherapy. pack natural sleep-aid power with premium valerian root and melatonin to help promote deeper, more relaxed snoozes.
Dry air can be sleep-depriving. With its playful cloud design and availability in eight colors, the MistAire Cloud Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier& Mood Light from Pure Enrichment ($49.99, Amazon) is marketed to parents for their children. But its compact size, quiet operation and ability to moisturize the air in a room for up to 24 hours is a selling point for kids of all ages. If you prefer something more adult-looking, opt for the MistAire Silver Ultrasonic Cool Mist Humidifier ($39.99, Amazon).
ABOVE: For about six months of the year, I sleep, snuggled under my down comforter—not only because I’m cold (the thermostat is set to go lower during the night) but also because I like its weight. Come late March, though, my husband insists we toss it off and just use our lighter quilt. Gravity’s Cooling Weighted Blanket ($199) could be the compromise I’m looking for. It comes in single, queen or king and weighs 35 pounds; the cover material is designed to wick moisture and control body temperature; the inner weighted piece contains fine-grade glass beads. Alternatively, ones from YnM start at $50 for a 15-pound blanket. In the March issue of Consumer Reports, Dr. Rafael Pelayo, a sleep specialist and behavioral scientist at Stanford University, says “The idea is that weighted blankets give a sense of comfort and may facilitate the secretion of oxytocin [which counters the effects of stress hormone cortisol].”
Clockwise from above left: Whether you want more energy or calm, or to improve your memory or look of your skin, there’s a tea for that. For improved zzz’s, sip this blend of passion flower, valerian root and catnip in Sakara’s Sleep Superherb Tea (20 teabags, $20). The latter two ingredients have very mild sedative effects for deeper snoozes.
Add one to two teaspoons of Dream Dust‘s ($38, Sephora) to water, tea, milk or a smoothie and you may get a better night’s sleep. In addition to jujube seeds and chamomile flower extract, it contains several hard-to-pronounce, unrecognizable-to-me ingredients like Schisandra Berry Powder, Polygala Root Extract and Ashwagandha Root and Leaf Extract. Nightcap, anyone?
You never know when Flents Super Sleep Comfort Foam Ear Plugs ($6.57 for a pair of 10, Amazon) could come in handy. For sleep, yes, to drown out street noise or for those times in a relationship, as RBG noted, when it’s good to be a little deaf.
When the noise of the world (literally and figuratively) is too much with you. HoMedics Sound Spa Relaxation Machine ($19.99, Bed Bath and Beyond) offers a choice of six different sounds—ocean, summer night, rain, white noise, gentle thunder and babbling brook—to block out traffic noise, TV news, neighbor’s kids’ flute practice, etc.
ABOVE: Try to find a pillow that keeps your neck and spine aligned is advice from sleep experts. This soft but springy 72-inch Down Free Medium-Density Body Pillow ($74, Company Store) looks awfully comfortable.
LEFT: This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray ($29, Anthropologie) is made from a blend of lavender, vetiver and chamomile that’s formulated to relax your body and mind for more peaceful slumber.
RIGHT: The Boyfriend Pillow ($37.15, Amazon) is never too tired to comfort or cuddle you in a hug. You may find yourself smitten with this undemanding guy.
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