Sleep Products Are Trending: Here Are 5 You Actually Need

Decluttering is rarely the wrong way to go. However, a few well-chosen, well-made, well-intentioned *things* can be quite helpful to have on hand – especially when it comes to your quality of sleep.

An industry report recently found that the market for "soft" sleep solutions is growing faster than the market for "hard" sleep solutions. Translation: there are more people looking to technology (e.g. sleep apps, snoring prevention devices, wave therapy, smart beds) and accessories (masks, mattresses, pillows) than there are people reaching for prescription medications and other consumables in the effort to improve their quality of sleep.

Medication is of course sometimes entirely necessary. But if there were a viable solution to a problem that doesn't involve ingesting chemicals, why not try that first?

There are many factors that can affect the quality of sleep we each experience, including diet, caffeine, and alcohol. There are also many affordable products that can help. Next time you wake up tired, consider the following.

Incense

It's definitely not recommended that you let incense burn while you are actually asleep. However, burning a stick before you get under the covers or while you're reading can help you settle into sleep mode more easily. Unlike candles, incense "turns off" by itself and is therefore a perfect way to time your pre-sleep ritual. Just light a stick of sleep-friendly Ayu Patchouli Incense or Ayu Clary Sage Incense, commence your bedtime routine, and once it's finished burning you'll know it's time for lights out. I think this is what they call the "reverse alarm clock".

Phone app

Don't underestimate the power of a good sleep app. While Headspace is known as a meditation app, it's also really popular for sleep. The free version of Headspace includes "sleepcasts" – like bedtime stories to help you calm down and convince your brain it's time for shut-eye. The paid version is pricey at $95USD per year, but if you're recently unemployed and in the US or UK you can get a year for free.

If you're more interested in tracking your body's activity during sleep and gently waking up to the sound of a special crescendo alarm, Sleep Cycle is the app for you. And it's totally free. Of course it's ideal to be completely screen-free in your bedroom, but you'll need a wireless speaker and your phone nearby for this particular sleep solution. To give yourself a fighting chance, hide all of your social media and email in a secret folder on the final screen of your phone so you aren't tempted to check them for the 93rd time that day. And switch to Do Not Disturb so that you're not interrupted by too-late texts.

New linen

I'd say this was bias speaking, considering the website on which you're currently reading this, but it's actually just a true fact: 100% French flax linen bedding makes the experience of going to sleep infinitely better. By making your bed look appealing and feel comforting, you'll actually look forward to being in bed. Wash your linen regularly and make your bed every day, even if it's right before you get into it at night. Your sleep health will thank you later.

Eye mask

A classic. Simple yet effective, an eye mask makes bedtime feel dramatic and luxurious. Choose one made from soft silk or linen and it'll feel like a warm hug on your face and block out any residual light in your bedroom. You can also go fully theatrical with a Holly Golightly tribute mask courtesy of the wonder that is Etsy.

Or, for something less fabulous but more high-tech, a quick google confirms that there are options aplenty in this arena, including an aromatherapy mask that emits a calming scent gradually throughout the night, a mask that blocks absolutely every morsel of light out but keeps you connected to your devices via bluetooth, and a mask with built in headphones so you can listen to a Headspace sleepcast or perhaps sleep-inducing playlist – there's even a version for side sleepers, in case you're worried about chunky headphones being counterproductive in the path to good sleep. Whatever you choose, make sure it's breathable, comfortable and at least somewhat cleanable.

A smarter bed

There are numerous affordable, quality mattresses available nowadays: some are constructed to regulate temperature, some are tailored to your sleep style in terms of firmness, some are two-side adjustable to cater to couples.

Then there are actual "smart beds", some of which would be best described as "extra as hell". With built-in technology,  they're becoming more popular (although not actually popularised just yet). These smart beds come with bells and whistles such as: movement sensors that automatically adjust to keep you comfortable, daily reports sent to your phone on the quality of your sleep and suggestions on how to sleep better, and connectivity to your smart home so that as soon as you wake up the lights come on or the coffee machine starts making a fresh pot. There's also a sleep pod that includes a 4K projector with HDMI ports, dimmable reading lights, a sound system, ambient lights, and privacy blinds, which is less of a bed and more of a full blown home renovation. There's even a smart bed that makes itself every morning! What a world.

Want more? Sleep better this winter with 5 essential tips.

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