The 4 Types of Sleep Essentials You Need, According to a Sleep Doctor


If you’ve had a hard time falling asleep (and staying asleep), you’re not alone. Some of the most popular articles here on Well+Good are about sleep—and specifically how to get the most restful sleep. Whether it’s due to stress, anxiety, insomnia, or a really good show we can’t stop watching, many of us have struggled with getting proper rest. While there are so many factors at play, there are actionable steps you can take, such as creating the best possible environment in order to let your brain finally relax. That’s right: You can purchase a few items that’ll at the very least encourage better sleeping habits.

Sleep physician Alex Dimitriu, MD, double board-certified in Psychiatry and Sleep Medicine (and founder of Menlo Park Psychiatry & Sleep Medicine) has four must-haves for a solid night of sleep that he’s shared with us.

Dimmable Lights

dimmable lights

Philips Hue Dimmable Smart Wireless Lighting Starter Kit — $37.00

Originally $44, now $37

Smart bulbs in the bedroom could do more than create some good mood lighting. “I believe it’s important to reduce overhead light—as well as screen time—to ensure great sleep at night,” says Dr. Dimitriu.“Think about [using] warm-dimming LED lights, to make sure the light is a warm tone as you turn down the brightness. Dimmer lights help the natural melatonin peak that occurs in the evenings after sunset.”

The Right E-Reader (or Paperback Book!)

kindle

Kindle — $90.00

A good book is a great sleep tool for so many reasons. “A book or a Kindle with inverted colors [can help with] getting in bed earlier,” says Dr. Dimitriu, “To read—not scroll,” (very important!). “They can also help tremendously with sleep.” Additionally, he says, “When people can’t fall back asleep, I recommend meditation for about 15 minutes, then to get out of bed and read something relaxing, in a dimly lit room. E-readers are great, as long as you can invert the screen colors to get white text on a black screen. The overall point is to make your reading experience as dark as possible.”

Black Out Shades or Curtains

curtains

NICETOWN Black Blackout Curtain Blinds — $19.00

Speaking of “as dark as possible,” Dr. Dimitriu says that blackout shades really do work, and highly recommends getting some for your bedroom. You might also have some luck with a sleep mask, if you’re not ready to overhaul your design vibe just yet (we’ll get to that in a second).

slip

Slip Silk Sleep Mask — $50.00

The Slip sleep mask is so beloved for how soft it feels (it’s made of pure mulberry silk!) when worn, along with its perfect fit (it’s never too tight or pushy against your eyes). Best of all? It blocks out all light.

Natural Sheets

avocado sheets

Avocado Organic Cotton Sheets — $98.00

Sheets made of natural fiber, like cotton, are ideal. “Avoid artificial materials, especially prints on polyester sheets, as you can easily overheat in these,” says Dr. Dimitriu. “The goal is to stay cool through the night.” We like Avocado’s organic cotton sheets because they’re ridiculously soft (like, never-want-to-get-out-of-bed soft), have a luxurious sateen finish, and are made with 100 percent GOTS organic certified cotton from India. They’re also wrinkle-resistant! (And bonus: They’re currently on sale.)

Take note: your slumber-focused shopping spree is just the tip of this heavy-lidded iceberg. There are some cardinal rules to getting solid Zzzs that take precedence. “The most useful pieces of advice is to get exercise by day, take some time to unwind in the evening, and stick to regular bed and wake times—including weekends!” We know that’s easier said than done (and life certainly has its way of, well, getting in the way), but the more you can incorporate these suggestions, the more likely you are to finally get good quality sleep. (Editor’s note: If you’re struggling with severe sleeping disruptions, it’s suggested that you also discuss this with your health care provider.)

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