There are so many sleep products on the market, it can be tough to tell which ones are real and which are B.S. Will that tea really help you doze off earlier? What about the eye mask that promises to help you stay asleep all night? To separate the gems from the gimmicks, we turned to the pros: sleep specialists. Here are eight natural sleep aids that are actually legit (read: scientifically-backed).
1. Quility Premium Adult Weighted Blanket
It’s no coincidence that you pass out on the couch every time you cozy up with your weighted blanket. According to The National Sleep Foundation, that’s because they decrease anxiety, increase serotonin levels and reduce restlessness for some people. “I’ve had a number of patients report benefit from these,” confirms Alex Dimitriu, M.D., double board-certified in Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine and the founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine. This particular blanket has racked up almost 10,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, many of which claim that it has solved their sleep woes.
2. This Works Deep Sleep Pillow Spray
Lavender, vetivert, and chamomile oil join forces to take you to dreamland in this calming pillow spray. The brand claims that the fragrance will help you enjoy a deeper, more restful sleep and wake up feeling refreshed. While he doesn’t outright confirm that this product will promote slumber, Dimitriu suggests that it could help you relax before bed. “There is some evidence that lavender has a calming effect, with some potential to lower heart rate and induce relaxation,” he says.
3. Somnox Sleep Robot
The idea is that cuddling this bean-shaped bot will help you fall asleep by simulating a calm breathing pattern you can sync your breath to. “This would be especially helpful for someone who benefits from a sensory approach—so kids or someone who likes a lot of pillows,” explains Joshua Tal, PhD, a New York City-based psychologist specializing in insomnia. Deep breathing, which he refers to as diaphragmatic breathing, can help you fall asleep by activating the body’s relaxation response.
4. Olly Sleep Melatonin Gummy
Wary of supplements? Us too. But Dimitriu says that melatonin is worth trying because it can help some people fall asleep faster. But whether you try a gummy, a patch or a spray, the form hasn’t been proven to make a difference yet, he emphasizes. To help your body product its own melatonin, you should dim the lights before bed, avoid screens and set a regular bedtime.
5. Manta Sleep Mask
Move over, silk eye mask. The Manta Sleep Mask is basically a blackout shade for your eyeballs. The unique eye cups are designed to mold to your face and block out 100 percent of light. And both the cups and band are fully adjustable, because what good is an uncomfortable eye mask that keeps you up at night? “This one looks like it’s well designed,” says Tal. He explains that blocking out light helps you sleep by keeping your circadian rhythm, the internal process that regulates your body’s sleep-wake cycle, in check.
6. Dodow Sleep Aid Device
If the idea of guided breathing sounds helpful, but you aren’t too keen on the idea of snuggling up with a robot, try the Dodow. It projects a circle of light on the ceiling—inhale when the circle expands, then exhale as the circle retracts. It slows your breathing down to about six breaths per minute, which signals to your body that it’s time to rest. This exercise is especially helpful for people who find their minds racing at night because it gives you something to focus on, Tal says.
7. SNOOZ White Noise Sound Machine
Some white noise machines are better than others, and this one is rumored to be the best of the best. That’s because it has a fan inside it, so it offers a peaceful, real sound rather than a looping track. Tal notes that while he’d have to hear it for himself before fully endorsing it, the SNOOZ sounds pretty promising. “Buy it now and sleep forever!” writes one enthusiastic Amazon reviewer. We’re sold.
8. Ayo Premium Light Therapy Glasses
Tal says he’s recently been recommending these light therapy glasses to his patients. “They’re really good for resetting your circadian rhythm, dealing with jetlag and fighting Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD),” he raves. The glasses work like a portable light box, increasing your energy levels and alertness during the day and adjusting your body’s rhythm so you’ll sleep better at night.
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